Perhaps you haven’t considered Phnom Penh as a suitable destination for a long weekend? Siem Reap (the one with the temples) gets all the accolades but there’s so much to do in Phnom Penh too!
- I don’t normally book private tours but have actually realised that this is an easy way to see a city when you’re traveling with young kids. Yes it will cost extra than doing it yourself but you receive the added benefit of a Guide with local tales and knowledge and also ease of your own private car. I booked a ‘Good Day Cambodia Tour‘ through Mango Cambodia. We started our day with a trip to a local market and temple. Our guide was very informative and patient with my girls. They loved listening to his tales of Buddha. For my husband and I, we listened to his stories of life under Khmer Rouge and so thankful he shared this personal tales with us. After the temple, we heeded to the Silk Factory for a demonstration on the life cycle of the silk worm. We then watched the amazing weavers and bought some trinkets. The highlight of the tour for the girls was a horse & cart ride through the village and paddy fields. We then ate lunch at a local village house and had the chance to dole out sweets to local kids. I would definitely recommend doing this tour. It’s not cheap (we paid approx. $89 per adult, although kids under the age of 9 go free). However, you can move at your own pace and it’s a comfortable way of seeing another side to Phnom Penh.
- The Royal Palace is where the Royal family currently reside. Although you don’t get the chance to see them, you can stroll through the colourful pagodas, temples and coronation halls. Be sure to dress modestly (you can purchase cover-ups if you don’t have on you).
- Opposite the Royal Palace is a small park and playground with a kiosk selling ice cream. Useful for Royal Palace visiting bribery!
- The Night Market is lots of fun. Super touristy but there are great food stands at the back and this is a good place to buy your souvenirs and cheap clothes.
- You can’t visit Phnom Penh and not take a boat trip.The Tonle Sap and Mekong River winds through the city. We chose a Sunset River Cruise and booked through the Kabiki on their boat, Le Tonle. We were incredibly lucky to be the only guests booked on to the beautiful teak junk that night. Drinking beers whilst we meandered along the Mekong will be one of my favourite memories from the trip.
- Our prime reason for visiting Phnom Penh was to see Vichera, the girl we have been sponsoring through the Cambodian Children’s Fund for the past 3 years. The Cambodian Children’s Fund is an incredibile charity set up by a Hollywood Executive,was founded in 2004 by Scott Neeson to aid the most impoverished of Cambodia’s children. As sponsors, we contribute towards Vichera’s English education, nutrition, medical and social welfare. There are strict guidelines as to how much time you can spend with your sponsored child. We were allowed 3-4 hours, with a translator, Vichera and her friend. Our first stop was the market to treat Vichera to some new clothes. We then headed to Kids City, an absolute must if you are visiting PP! This is a house of fun for kids with bumper cars, climbing walls, soft play, laser quest and more.
The girls had great fun and it was beautiful to watch them hold hands and giggle together. We finished off our visit with Vichera with a trip to Lucky Burger, the Cambodian Mcdonalds!
- We also got the chance to tour the Cambodian Children’s Fund. They have 5 sites in Phnom Penh and we visited CCF 5 their biggest property. Not only do they provide education but also medical/nutrition support for the local community. If you are interested in learning more about the work of the Cambodian Children’s Fund, please do click here!
Where did we eat in Phnom Penh?
- The Kabiki provides a good continental breakfast included in the room rate. We also had lunch one afternoon at their restaurant next to the pool which was very nice.
- Khmer Surin is an atmospheric restaurant in a traditional Khmer building. We enjoyed dinner sitting on low cushions listening to Khmer music. The food is good (some thai dishes mixed in with Khmer food).
- Our standout meal was at Malis. We ate in the courtyard which was beautiful and the food was outstanding, especially the ‘fish amok’.