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Cambodia

3-Day Phnom Penh Itinerary

Cambodia is an incredible country to visit. Without a doubt, visiting Angkor Wat is one of the best things to do in Siem Reap. Whereas Siem Reap is known for its temples, and Sihanoukville is known for its beaches, Phnom Penh is often seen as a transport hub to Cambodia. However, there is much more to Phnom Penh than meets the eye. Phnom Penh holds attractions to reveal the country’s culture and history, giving insight to the bitter past.

This itinerary is perfect for travellers in Phnom Penh for three days. Follow this guide for a 3-day Phnom Penh Itinerary.

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Getting to Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is home to a major international airport, so most tourists coming into the country will arrive through Phnom Penh. The easiest way to get from the airport to your accommodation is by taxi or tuk-tuk which you can book through Grab or at the airport itself.

You could also take the train to the city centre, take the KKStar Shuttle Bus, or take a bus – either the #3 bus or the city bus from outside the airport. All of the above can be booked at the airport directly.

You can also get to Phnom Penh by bus from major towns like Siem Reap, and even Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. I’d highly recommend using the Giant Ibis as your bus company. Those who have travelled to Southeast Asia before will know transport rarely runs on time, but Giant Ibis is extremely prompt and their service is amazing.

Night Market

Getting Around Phnom Penh

For me, a walkable city is definitely a plus. I prefer to be able to browse the streets without a particular destination in mind, and at my own pace. The city centre of Phnom Penh is walkable, and for the places that aren’t so close, for example, the Killing Fields, a Grab tuk-tuk is super cheap and convenient to hire.

Phnom Penh Day 1

Pay a Visit to The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

Despite its dark past, the Killing Fields are one of the most popular things to do in Phnom Penh. Cambodia was involved in a nation-wide genocide of around two million men, women, and children. The dictator involved in this sinister feat is Pol Pot, who led the country in the 1970s.

The Killing Fields of Cheoung Ek is one of the many scattered around the country, and has now been converted to an attraction to teach visitors of the grim past. The killing fields are where prisoners of war were killed and now lay in these mass graves.

Killing Fields

Shop at the Russian Market

The Russian Market is located close to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which is next on the itinerary. Stopping off at the Russian Market will give you a chance to break up the heavy day of visiting Phnom Penh’s main attractions, and give you a chance to shop for souvenirs and try some local snacks. 

Sample Khmer coffee, Yakitori chicken, fried noodles, baguettes and much more! My favourite Khmer snack is chet chien, deep-fried bananas. Not the healthiest treat, but incredibly tasty!

Souvenirs

Visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21 Prison)

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is also known as S21 Prison, the location in which many innocent prisoners were tortured until they confessed of crimes they did not commit, only to be killed shortly afterwards.

Listen to the audiobook, as you can also do at the killing fields. The narration is very informative and leads you through the museum.

Visiting this museum and the killing fields are an absolute must-see in Phnom Penh. It’s not exactly a pleasant experience – it will be a heavy day. Regardless, it is important to learn about the history of the countries you are visiting, and fascinating to hear about the stories of the survivors.

Climb Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom is another top attraction in the capital city. Walk up the steps guarded by multiple-headed serpents to view the intricate wat atop the hill.

Time your visit at golden hour. Being at the top of the hill is a great place to watch the sunset in Phnom Penh. This is quite a busy time to visit, so if the crowds bother you, visit in the morning and switch up this itinerary a little. 

Wear temple-appropriate clothing at Wat Phnom. Cover your shoulders and knees. If it is easier for you, just bring along a sarong or elephant pants in your bag with you to cover up.

Wat Phnom

Eat at the Phnom Penh Night Market

The night market is a great place to eat where the locals do for dinner. Choose from a couple of varieties of noodles at each stall, and its accompaniments. Everything will be displayed at the front of their stalls. Pair your noodles with meats, vegetables and shrimp.

Then, head to the designated mat depending on which stall you bought your food from. This is where you’ll sit for your meal, picnic-style. If you’re after a refreshing drink, grab a large sugarcane juice from one of the stalls. You’ll see it being enjoyed by many there. It is light green in colour. For dessert, ice cream in exceptional flavours is available for purchase.

Don’t forget to check out the clothing and accessory stalls either before or after your dinner, just around the corner from the food section of the night market.

Night Market

Phnom Penh Day 2

Visit the National Museum

The grand museum is a great place to start your second day in Phnom Penh. The National Museum displays incredible pieces, such as an art gallery, and historical ornaments. 

Inside the museum, there’s a statue of the Hindu god, Shiva, and bronze artefacts from pre-Angkor periods. 

Tour the Royal Palace

Just around the corner from the National Museum lies the Royal Palace. Head straight here to see the residence of the current King of Cambodia.

Outside the palace, you’ll see locals picnicking, feeding the birds, and soaking up the sun. When we visited, some of the local children were having a water fight!

The architecture inside the gates is stunning – the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda both. Look out for the golden and mosaic buddhas inside the Silver Pagoda.

 Royal Palace

Browse the Daughters of Cambodia Visitors Centre

Don’t miss out on visiting the Daughters of Cambodia Visitors Centre when you’re in Phnom Penh. This organisation supports the victims of sex trafficking and help them get back on their feet.

It is located in the middle of Phnom Penh City, near the Royal Palace. Grab lunch or a coffee here. They make great burgers! Then, stopover at their gift store for souvenirs to bring friends and family back home.

Take a Mekong River Cruise

Preah Sisowath Quay Waterfront becomes a lively place at sundown. Take a walk down the waterfront in the late afternoon, while admiring the tranquillity over the Mekong River and the hustle and bustle of the streets.

You can take Mekong River Cruises at great prices at sunset. Dinner will likely be included, depending on the company you book with, which serves a traditional Khmer dinner. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to taste the delicious fish amok curry or beef lok lak.

Mekong

Drinks at a Rooftop Bar

Phnom Penh has quite a few rooftop bars with amazing happy hour deals. Grab cocktails for as little as $3 USD, and a beer for as little as $2 USD. Watch the sun go down or head there after dark – whatever suits!

For a sophisticated bar with the best gin cocktails, check out Juniper Gin Bar. For cosy vibes paired with potted plants, checkout Sundown Social Club. For a great party and nightlife, visit Eclipse Sky Bar.

Phnom Penh Day 3

Visit Wat Ounalom Monastery

Being both the oldest and largest monastery in Phnom Penh, Wat Ounalom Monastery is worth a visit. It was founded in the 15th Century.

The temple grounds are large and inside lie many smaller temples. There are ornate stupas and magnificent Buddha statues within the grounds.

Visit in the morning, before the tour buses arrive for a peaceful experience.

Take a Half-Day Tour to Silk Island

Silk Island is a great place to visit for a half-day trip. The peaceful nature of the island contrasts greatly with the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh City. It’s a great escape away.

Silk Island is the name given to a place where silk is produced and weaved. Visit the silkworm farms, the weaving quarters and the main village.

If you’re taking a tour, most leave at midday which will include lunch. Head back to your accommodation after visiting the Wat Ounalom Monastery in the morning for pickup.

You can also DIY your own tour. Just get yourself to the ferry terminal and take a ferry across the river. Once on the island, you’ll need to rent a bike as it will be a little too far to walk around the island.

Silk

Enjoy the Nightlife

If you’re enjoying hanging out at rooftop bars, you could spend your last night in Phnom Penh checking them out again. Otherwise, there are plenty of great ways to have a great night in Phnom Penh.

Go to a night club and dance the night away. Visitors recommend checking out Club Love.

Have a drink at a bar. There are many bars to choose from. Cadillac Bar & Manhattan Lounge is a laidback place to chill out, or there’s also PitStop Bar which is great for beer and pool.

Sample the street food around the waterfront. Find the Pork and Rice Man, the Chet Chien Stall for fried bananas, and stalls selling skewers of various meats.

Author Bio

Delilah Hart loves all things travel, food, and photography. Follow her adventures on her travel blog.

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!