Once the so-called “Pearl of the East,” the Cambodian capital is busy, congested and steamy. It is also the place where the country’s more contemporary history comes into focus. The effects of the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-late 1970s can still be seen here, but the city also pulses with new energy. For travelers interested in history and Cambodian culture, this city should not just be a fly-over en route to and from the temples.
Perfect forFamilies | Romantics | Intellectuals | Soul Searchers
When to goDecember-February | March-May
Ideal length of stay3-5 Nights
Designing Your Journey
Work with Indagare to design the perfect itinerary for an immersive journey. Our travel experts know the destination inside and out, and they can make recommendations based on your travel needs and preferences.
3 Days: Essential Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is a diverse and dynamic city where past, present, and future collide in fascinating ways. Indagare can arrange a customized itinerary with guided touring, cooking classes and special access. Here’s just one example of what our destination experts can create for you.
Day 1: History Tour
With an expert guide, visit Phnom Penh’s most important historic and cultural sites, such as the Royal Palace, National Museum and Wat Phnom. The Royal Palace is now home to the current King and Queen of Cambodia and includes several glorious Khmer-style golden-roofed buildings and a tranquil garden. Next to the Royal Palace, the National Museum displays a treasure trove of Khmer art dating from prehistoric times to the present. Further afield, Wat Phnom is an active pagoda that marks the legendary founding place of Phnom Penh.
Day 2: Art Scene
Those interested in Cambodia’s contemporary art scene can check out the current exhibitions at this commercial art gallery, which is dedicated to supporting local emerging and mid-career artists. History buffs should not miss the Tuong Sleng Genocide Museum, which was used as a grisly Khmer Rouge prison known as S-21 in the mid-1970s. The museum, where visitors can enter the classrooms-turned-cells (some of which still contain the iron shackles used to contain prisoners), is a difficult but important part of any trip to Phnom Penh.
Day 3: Markets
Spend the morning shopping at sprawling traditional markets or the unique boutiques on Street 240, such as Eric Raisina’s couture shop. At night, see a performance of Cambodia Living Arts, which trains local artists in music, dance and theater. Indagare can arrange tickets and behind-the-scenes access to the shows, which are often held at the National Museum.
Where To Stay
We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities, including upgrades, early check-in, breakfast, spa credits and more. Look for the Indagare Plus logo in the reviews.
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Raffles Hotel Le Royal
Known simply as Le Royal when it opened in 1929 with just 40 rooms, this historic hotel has hosted such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, Charles de Gaulle, and Jacqueline Kennedy. President Obama, a recent VIP guest, stayed at the hotel...
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This cheery and modern 70-room hotel surrounded by plenty of tropical greenery is walking distance from historic tourist sites (the National Museum, the Royal Palace, and the Silver Pagoda) as well as from Street 240, which is where many of...
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