Phnom Penh, Cambodia 💐 What to Do (and Eat!)

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Phnom Penh, Cambodia - What to Do & Where to Eat

Phnom Penh, Cambodia 💐 What to Do (and Eat!)

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is a city with a rich and fascinating history. From the lush green parks to the bustling markets and street stalls, intricate architecture, fascinating temples, and delicious street food, Phnom Penh is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Southeast Asia.



What to Eat in Cambodia

Since Cambodia is famous for its delicious street food you are sure to find plenty of delicious dishes to try. From spicy noodles to sweet sticky rice, the country has something to offer every taste. Some must-try dishes include:

  • Amok: A traditional Cambodian dish that consists of fish or chicken in a rich coconut milk sauce. The dish is typically served in a banana leaf and is often accompanied by rice. Amok is one of the most popular dishes in Cambodia.
  • Bai Sach Chrouk: A simple but delicious dish that consists of grilled pork served with rice and pickled vegetables. It’s a popular breakfast dish in Cambodia and can be found at street stalls and markets throughout the country.
  • Nom Banh Chok: A traditional dish made with rice noodles, herbs, and a spicy green sauce. The dish is typically served for breakfast and is a staple of Cambodian cuisine.
  • Kdam Chaa: A popular street food dish that consists of deep-fried crab served with a spicy dipping sauce. It’s a tasty snack that is popular with locals and visitors alike.
  • Sticky Rice with Mango: A sweet dessert popular throughout Southeast Asia. The dish consists of sweet, sticky rice served with fresh mango and a sweet syrup. It’s a refreshingly delicious (if heavy) way to end a meal.
  • Bugs! For adventurous foodies, The Bugs Cafe offers an extraordinary dining experience. This insect-themed restaurant specialises in bug-based dishes, featuring delicacies such as tarantulasantsscorpionsgrasshoppers, and of course bug larvae.
Phnom Penh What to Do & Where to Eat

Phnom Penh What to Do & Where to Eat

Where to Eat in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh boasts a diverse culinary scene with options to satisfy every palate. One of the best areas to visit for food is around Bassac street, with most of the top TripAdvisor restaurants located there.

There’s also a very good restaurant area not far from the Independence monument. Whether you’re craving traditional Khmer flavors, international cuisine, or fusion delights, here are some of the best eating venues in Phnom Penh.

Khéma Pasteur

Located near the Independence Monument, Khéma Pasteur offers an unforgettable French dining experience. From homemade cheeses and sausages to signature pastries and freshly baked bread, this restaurant delights patrons with its authentic French cuisine. Don’t miss their free-flow breakfast, lunch, and wine-and-dine options.

Gorkha Palace 🍽️🌟 Nepalese & Indian Cuisine

Gorkha Palace prides itself on serving up delicious and diverse dishes that highlight the best flavors from around the world. The cozy and welcoming atmosphere invites you to embark on a remarkable culinary journey.

The menu features a fusion of authentic Indian and Nepali flavors. From aromatic curries to tandoori delights, bringing you the essence of these rich culinary traditions.

Gorkha Palace - Phnom Penh What to Do & Where to Eat

Gorkha Palace – Phnom Penh

We paid $37.50 for a Kashi KO Masu (Curry/Dry), Nepalese Thali Chicken, Yellow Rice and a bottle of red wine ($20). This restaurant is rated No 8 in Phnom Penh on Tripadvisor.


  • Location: #Eoe1, Street 308, House No 28, Phnom Penh, (Bassac Lane)
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10:30 AM to 11:30 PM
  • Contact: +855 81 318 763


A landmark for French fine dining, Topaz has been serving exquisite dishes for over 20 years. With personally selected ingredients and a commitment to innovation, it’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Michelin-starred chefs often celebrate and teach at Topaz, making it a must-visit.

Collin’s Cambodia

Established in 2012, Collin’s offers premium Western cuisine at pocket-friendly prices. With 24 outlets across the city, it’s a go-to spot for delicious meals. Try their diverse menu, which caters to various tastes.

PappaRich Cambodia

Bringing Malaysian and Singaporean flavors to Phnom Penh, PappaRich offers a taste of its renowned restaurants. From laksa to roti canai, explore the rich culinary heritage of Southeast Asia here.

Elia Greek Kitchen

Nestled in a secret garden on Bassac Street, Elia Greek Kitchen serves Mediterranean and Turkish delights. Enjoy the great atmosphere and serious culinary offerings here.

Casa Diego

Situated at M34 Street 308 in Tonle Bassac, Casa Diego is perfect for chilling out any time of day. Their tapas are superb, making it a popular spot.

Namaste India Restaurant: A Flavorful Journey

Established in 2016, Namaste India Restaurant has become a beacon for Indian cuisine enthusiasts. Their mission is to provide an authentic dining experience that lingers in your memories.

Their chefs are handpicked from different regions of India and craft a wide variety of dishes. From traditional North Indian flavors to South Indian specialties and coastal delights, they have it all.

Chef’s recommendations include favorites like lamb roghan josh, chicken tikka masala, palak paneer, aloo gobhi, saffron pilaf rice, and cheese naan.

Namaste Indian Restaurant - Phnom Penh What to Do & Where to Eat

Namaste Indian Restaurant – Phnom Penh

Namaste India Restaurant is a top choice for both expats and locals in Phnom Penh, and is rated No 6 on Tripadvisor


  • Location: #15, Street 308, Tonle Bassac (Near Norodom Boulevard)
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Contact: +855 15 332 288

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Phnom Penh City Attractions

Phnom Penh has been the capital and largest city in Cambodia since the time of the French colonization, and the cultural, tourism and historical centre since 1979.

its historical attractions. One of the surviving French colonial architectures is The Royal Palace.

Located on Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac River, Phnom Penh is home to more than 2 million of Cambodia’s population of over 14 million.

Phnom Penh is home to many magnificent tourist attractions, including its stunning temples, beautiful parks, and historical monuments. Here are some of the must-visit tourist attractions in Phnom Penh.

Checkout the Independence Monument & Park

The Independence Monument stands as a symbol of the country’s independence from France in 1953.

Designed by Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann, this impressive monument is located at the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard. Its lotus-shaped stupa design draws inspiration from Khmer historical sites, including the temple at Banteay Srei.

Independence Monument, Phnom Penh

Independence Monument, Phnom Penh

Rising 37 meters tall, the monument takes center stage during national celebrations, with a ceremonial flame often lit on its interior pedestal.

Visitors, both local and foreign, appreciate its significance and the well-maintained park that surrounds it, offering a tranquil setting for leisurely strolls and picnics.

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Stroll Along the Promenade

Along the riverside promenade, you’ll encounter a fascinating sight: small sparrows in cages. These delicate birds are sold by vendors, and there’s a belief that releasing them brings good luck.

Here’s a glimpse into this local custom…

Located near the merging point of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River, Preah Ang Dorngkeu Shrine attracts visitors who come to make merit. As you approach the shrine, you’ll notice people purchasing lotus blossoms, candles, and incense sticks nearby.

Among these scenes, you’ll find cages containing sparrows. These birds symbolize good luck when purchased and then released. Whether the luck is for the vendor, purchaser, or the birds themselves remains a topic of debate

Customarily, people buy a bird from the cage and, holding it tightly, they make a wish for their family before releasing it. The belief is that if the bird flies free, the wish will come true. It’s a beautiful blend of local culture and Buddhist customs.

Caged sparrows on Phnom Penh's Promenade

See the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is one of the most iconic landmarks in Phnom Penh. This stunning palace, built in the 19th century, is the official residence of the King of Cambodia and is set within spacious and beautifully landscaped grounds.

The palace is home to a number of temples, museums, and other cultural attractions, making it a popular spot for both tourists and locals alike.

Climb Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom is a hilltop temple that sits at the center of Phnom Penh. It’s one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city and offers panoramic views over the city and the Mekong River.

Wat Phnom is also one of the oldest temples in Cambodia, dating back to the 14th century. You can climb the steep steps to the top of the hill to see the temple and enjoy the views.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a sobering reminder of the horrific events that took place in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime. The museum, which was once a high school, was turned into a prison and torture center during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror.

Entrance to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21)

Caged sparrows on Phnom Penh’s Promenade

Today, the museum serves as a memorial to the victims of the genocide and is a powerful reminder of the importance of human rights and peace.

For more details about Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields, see our article on Phnom Pen – A Dark Legacy
Read about Tuol Sleng

Visit the National Museum of Cambodia

The National Museum of Cambodia is one of the most important cultural institutions in the country. It’s home to an extensive collection of Khmer artifacts, including sculptures, ceramics, and other works of art that date back to the Angkor period.

The museum is also an important center for research and education and offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history and culture of Cambodia.

Haggle at the Russian Market

The Central Market is a bustling, colorful market in the heart of Phnom Penh. Here, visitors can find everything from traditional Cambodian souvenirs and textiles to jewelry and other crafts.

The market is a great place to get a taste of local life in Phnom Penh and is also a popular spot for bargaining and haggling.

The Russian Market

The Russian Market

Shop at SuperDuper!

This is a chain of well-stocked supermarkets dotted around the City. Don’t waste your money buying duty free at the airport. The prices at Super Duper are cheaper for a better variety of alcoholic drinks.

For example, Yellow Tail $10.80, Angkor Beer $0.66, Anchor Beer $0.71, Singha Beer $0.80

Shop at Super Duper, Phnom Penh

Shop at Super Duper, Phnom Penh

Though congested and hectic, Phnom Penh is a great place to start your journey through Cambodia. In our case, we spent 3 days there before travelling on to Siem Reap, Cambodia’s more laid-back spiritual capital. You can find out more about onwrad travel from Phnom Penh in our related article: En Route 🚍✈️🚖 Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

All Hotels in Phnom Penh

If you enjoyed Phnom Penh, Cambodia – What to Do (and Eat!), take a look at our other Tropical Travel Plans. You may also like:


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