Phnom Penh (PP), The capital city, is located approx. 3 hours drive from Siem Reap but it will take you about 6 hours to reach it. You can opt for either a day taxi/van ride, or a night bus. If you choose the night bus be aware you'll reach PP early morning and have to wait few hours for the check in.
How much time to spend here? Up to 3 nights. If your trip is short (Less than 10 days) you can skip visiting the city.
Precaution: Avoid walking into alleys! Walk on open main streets only. It is the most violent city in the kingdom with robberies ended with fatalities & rich drunk drivers running their SUVs at night into by-passers. If someone is calling you keep walking and don't stop. If you're getting robbed with a hot weapon don't play deadpool with them, else you'll end dead in a pool, of your own blood. I had the pleasure of making the mistake on my first day there when walking to a side alley being followed by some weird looking drug addict who got slapped in the face so hard by some Khmer guy just as he clung to me. Thank you my Khmer anonymous savior 😇
Where to stay?
As a solo traveler, I preferred staying in Flamingos hotel on 51 street, whose location is perfect for nightlife partying, yet it is a disaster for having some rooms view blocked by a wall 30 cm away. Since I spent my days there with a local lady I fell for, I couldn't care less. You could have easily locked me up in a cell with her and all I would have seen in it is a garden of roses.
You're welcome to click here to check a variety of best accommodation options PP has to offer: [bdotcom_bm bannerid="208"]
Where to visit?
Almost every Tuk Tuk driver will present you a menu of places to visit. Here are the ones to choose:
A must: The Royal palace, home to Cambodia's kings from the 19th century, including his royalty Norodom Sihamoni. A beautiful well preserved compound presenting antiques from the glorious Khmer empire, at its peak spanned over what is nowadays Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and South Vietnam. Proper dress-code is mandatory (No shoulders or kneecaps to be exposed), so you can skip these tourist singlets.
A must: The Russian market, named after the numerable tourists & investors from Russia in the 80s, before the Chinese took over. You will find a wide variety of everything.
A must: Central Market, the biggest indoor market in Asia, built almost 100 years ago by the French.
In both markets you should bargain and stay away from local or Asian people who will flatter you to catch your attention and then invite you to join them for a local meal with their friends or family. It can end seriously bad with you playing a friendly card game just to find out you actually lost Thousands of dollars. In general, I warmly recommend, anywhere in the world, not to join any invitation of a local guy to join them to something somewhere. It is you only who should initiate the friendship with whoever you feel like and take it on from there.
A must: Independence monument to mark Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. It is built at the end of a long lane where you can walk to burn all the delicious street food you had in the central & Russian market.
A total must: PP night life with dozens of fun bars & clubs with the most gorgeous Asian ladies out there. I totally fell in love with a beautiful fun lady named Srey Anne and traveled every weekend round trips from SR to PP just to be with her, until she dumped me. I was so depressed I made a YB clip hoping she will be emotional all about it. Well, she wasn't. She was just afraid her French boyfriend will realize she was partying on someone else's croissant while he was in France and urged me to delete it. Sweet spicy memories.
51 being my favorite. You can start your evening at Sorya mall with some sweet candies inviting you to play pool with them and head to Pontoon club & Heart of Darkness for some fun partying. The most beautiful ladies party at the Pontoon. Be careful and don't flow with every lady who is calling you. There are plenty of lady Barracudas and lady boys there tied to some local gangsters who will professionally empty your wallet. If you take a girl to your room better keep all your valuables in the safe without her seeing the code. There have been too many cases, Thailand style, in which men passed out just to wake up in the morning to realize their wallets have been vacuumed cleaned. There are other cases of long term relationships in which foreign men were murdered. Keep your senses sharp; Don't answer to any invitation given to you; Don't drink anything which was out of your sight as someone could have slipped a sleeping drug into it; Always be the one to initiate where to go and what to do and not the one being initiated. Most important advice…. Don't fall in love with any local girl!!!!
If you fancy gambling, do visit Naga World, The most glorious casino in Cambodia. What started as a small casino boat in the 1990s became a top class casino with hundreds of rooms, exquisite buffets, beautiful hostesses and fancy games to play in.
On the Mekong riverside you can enjoy a walk with the nice view and search after your country's flag as they are presented one by one along the way.
Optional: Tuol Sleng genocide museum commemorating the thousands of victims murdered there by the Khmer Rouge murderous regime, led by Pol Pot, in 1975-1979. The building used to serve as a school before being turned into a notorious prison in which approx. 30,000 Khmer people were interrogated, tortured and murdered, including two foreign tourists suspected to be CIA agents.
Optional: Phnom Tamao wildlife rescue center. I haven't visited the place, but heard it's a must for animal lovers. It's an impressive wildlife center helping wild animals, such as monkeys & elephants, after being rescued from captivity. Better use a guide not to get lost there.
Optional: Wildlife alliance. A voluntary organization rehabilitating wild animals before releasing them back into nature. I haven't visited it but heard it's fantastic. Quite expensive though.
Have fun! Keep on smiling, respect the local tradition, respect the local tradition, respect the local tradition and respect the local tradition. Avoid hard drugs and use condoms.
Welcome to the kingdom of smiles 💕😊
Where to head to next? To the beach in Sihanoukville province