A day in Phnom Penh


I originally had planned 2 full days in Phnom Penh, but due to a missed connection, I only had 1 day, which turned out to be fine.  I didn’t book any tours before my trip.  I wanted to get to my local hotel and then book the trip then.  We wound up booking a driver for an 8 hour tour for $60 through our hotel.  We then paid an extra $40 for an English guide.  The tour consisted of:

  • Royal Palace
  • S21 Genocide Museum
  • Wat Phnom
  • Killing Fields
  • Central Market

We said we wanted to start the tour at 7am due to our jet lag, but it turned out the Royal Palace doesn’t open until 8AM, so we could have started at 8AM or 7:45AM or so (the Royal Palace wasn’t that far away.)

Royal Palace

Probably the biggest tourist destination in Phnom Penh.  It’s a huge compound with multiple buildings.  You can really only go into the one building, but can look into the others.  We spent about an hour or so here.


Central Market

This is the largest market in Phnom Penh.  If you’ve been to Ben Thanh market in Saigon, then this is basically the same thing.  Buy souvenirs, fruit, seafood, clothes, etc.  We spent about an hour here, mostly because we had some dessert and bought a souvenir.


Wat Phnom

We spent about 15-30 minutes here.  Not much to see here except going up the hill and walking around the inside of a temple.


S21 Genocide Museum

A very somber place.  It’s where the Khmer Rogue regime kept the prisoners in a jail before moving them to the Killing Fields.


Killing Fields

About a 30 minute drive outside of the city.  You can still see the burial mounds where the people were killed.



We got back to the hotel at around 4pm or so.  We then Googled places to go and it turns out the FCC is sorta the place to be.  So we took a tuk-tuk over there ($2 ride,) had some buy1get1 happy hour prices (drinks were delicious,) and then walked back at around 6pm or so.  We had some appetizers at the FCC, but I stopped in to a random shop to get some more seafood noodles (wasn’t as good as my hotel’s soup.)  Still jet lagged, we passed out when we got back to the hotel.



Looking back, I found out I could have rented a full day driver for $25-$30.  We also really didn’t need a guide because the Royal Palace, museum, and Killing Fields all had audio guides, which we didn’t use, but wish we had because our guide wasn’t great.

  • Sang Kancil Guru

    “A very somber place. It’s where the Khmer regime kept the prisoners in a jail before moving them to the Killing Fields.”

    Correction — it should be “Khmer Rouge regime”, not “Khmer regime” as the term Khmer stands generally for the ethnic group most Cambodian people belong to.

    • Miles per Day

      Corrected. Thanks for letting me know.