So, you’re traveling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia? Here are five things I wish I knew before heading there myself.
- Most visitors to the Cambodian capital visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields (both of which are worthwhile, in my opinion). However, there are tons of other things to do in Phnom Penh! If art is your thing head to Street 93 and check out some street art. If you’re a foodie then wander around the local markets and sample the local cuisine – or better yet take a food tour! If you’re an adventure junkie cruise around the surrounding countryside on a quad tour.
- Phnom Penh has a seriously impressive food scene and there are a ridiculous amount of international restaurants. It’s possible to sample cuisines from around the world – from Indian curries to Lebanese wraps to Spanish tapas. To get a better idea of what’s on offer, here is a great guide to Phnom Penh’s restaurants. And the best part is that most restaurants boast high quality and reasonable prices.
- Cambodia is a former French colony and the French influence is still very apparent in Phnom Penh. French-colonial villas line the city’s boulevards, vendors hawk baguettes and pâté on the street, and there is a ton of good (and cheap!) French wine in almost every convenience store.
- In Cambodia, the currency is the riel. However, in major tourist hubs like Phnom Penh US dollars are accepted everywhere. At the time of writing the exchange rate is roughly 4,000 riel to $1. Note that when paying with dollars you’ll likely get change in riel.
- Tuk tuk drivers get a really bad rap for overcharging tourists. And it’s true that a lot of visitors get duped into paying absurd rates to be shuttled across town. A ride anywhere in town should never cost more than $1-3. In my experience trying to negotiate a price in advance typically leads to inflated quotes. Instead, simply tell the driver where you’re going and hop in. Hand them exact change once you’ve reached your destination and then walk away. I would typically pay $1.50 if I was going a short distance or a max of $3 if I was going all the way across town. A ride to or from the airport shouldn’t cost more than $9.
Have you been to Phnom Penh? What tips would you add?
Photos courtesy of Travel Lush