"Despite the history a wonderful place to see" Phnom Penh by pmarshuk

Phnom Penh Travel Guide: 1,573 reviews and 4,177 photos

Back in Phnom Penh again in November 2003 - even better than I remembered it.

I stayed in Phnom Penh for just a few days after a visit to Angkor. Probably because of the lack of mass tourism, I found this to be a truely authentic city almost totally lacking in Airs and Graces. Of course they want to attract tourists and there are quite a lot of places which cater to the tourist trade. I visited in the hight of the hot season, so there were less tourists around anyway, added to this it was at the height of the SARs scare which gave even fewer visitors to SE Asia.

In Phnom Penh it is impossible to ignore the recent history of Cambodia and the effect that the Khmer Rouge regime had on the country. This is reflected in the number of beggars on the streets who are amputees from being wounded by landmines. Also the average age of the population is very young (42% of the population were under 14 years old in 2000). One big reason for this is that the Pol Pot regime wiped out about 25% of the population in the 1970's.
It may not sound like a holiday thing to do, but I think every visitor to Phnom Penh should visit Tuol Sleng (The Museum of Genocode) and Cheung Ek (The Killing Fields) to appreciate the scale and horror of this period. See my travelogue for more on these sites.

Despite their tragic recent history the Khmer people are wonderful, very frIendly to tourists, of course they want you to visit and spend money but the friendliness goes beyond that. Maybe its because of the lack of tourists that they haven't been too "corrupted" yet. I use the word corrupted carefully and it do not include the current government in the description. However their recent election has been was monitored by outside observers without too many issues.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:So peaceful after Saigon and Bangkok. Wonderful people
  • Last visit to Phnom Penh: Apr 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (30)

Comments (9)

  • lmc2626's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2005 at 12:14 AM

    hi, do you know where to get CHEAP plane ticket from manila to phnom pehn? pls advice thanks

  • trisanna's Profile Photo
    Jul 29, 2005 at 2:53 AM

    Glad you liked the Siem Reap pics. I hope to get to Phnom Pehn someday soon. How many days did you spend there?

  • Apr 27, 2005 at 10:15 AM

    Very good page. Comprehensive, intelligent tips!

  • bkoon's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2003 at 5:12 AM

    Phil, thanks for the information. I thought Phnom Penh has nothing much to see. Maybe I should add another day for Phnom Penh. :-)

  • Mez77's Profile Photo
    Sep 22, 2003 at 7:24 PM

    Great page! Despite not being much of a tourist destination, it certainly sounds interesting. The Museum of Genocide I guess would be a must see, if only to remind us of the terrible things that people do to each other.

  • PA68's Profile Photo
    Jul 15, 2003 at 1:35 AM

    Another great page with some useful info. Makes me wIsh I was sitting looking out over the river from the FCC with a cold Angkor beer now......

  • May 5, 2003 at 7:04 AM

    excellant page////wealth of information and nice tips...supplemented by beautiful phtographs///really useful

  • jmmorgan's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2003 at 6:54 AM

    An interesting page.

  • CliffClaven's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2003 at 12:10 AM

    Interesting info and practical tips


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