Alternative Things to Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia: Beyond the Killing Fields

Impressive entrance to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
Are you looking for alternative things to do in Phnom Penh, Cambodia? Most people stop in Phnom Penh for a brief visit to the Killing Fields and perhaps a short layover on the way to Angkor Wat. We visited Phnom Penh for a few days in April as part of an extended trip to Southeast Asia (#DrJSabbatical). Is Phnom Penh worth visiting? We discovered that there are plenty of points of interest in the Cambodia capital to keep visitors busy for a few days. Here are some of our recommendations for alternative things to do on a city break in Phnom Penh after you've visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Killing Fields.

Eyeball Antiquities at the National Museum of Cambodia

The National Museum of Cambodia
Phnom Penh is home to the National Museum of Cambodia. The National Museum features room after room of stone carvings and artifacts. Many of the pieces date back to the great emperors of the Khmer civilization and come from Angkor Wat or the many temples around it. The National Museum buildings are also great examples of traditional Cambodian architecture. Definitely check it out.

Walk in Royal Footsteps at the Palace in Phnom Penh

The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
It's easy to spend a few hours at the expansive Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Golden rooftops pop against bright white facades.
Intricately carved stupa at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Ornate stupas and intricate ornamentation will vie for your attention.
Ornaments and colorful rooftops of the buildings of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Appreciate Phnom Penh's Independence Monument

Cambodian Independence Monument in Phnom Penh
Check out the impressive Independence Monument in Phnom Penh. Today it sits in the middle of a traffic circle and rises impressively above the traffic below. A small park leads away from the Independence Monument towards the Tonle Sap River and makes for a lovely walk. Just don't attempt this walk in the heat of the afternoon since there is very little shade here.
Royal statue in the park in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Admire Khmer Spirit Houses in Phnom Penh

Spirit house in Phnom Penh Cambodia
Everywhere we walked in Phnom Penh, we were surprised and delighted to see small shrines set-up outside various homes and businesses. We learned that these are spirit houses and are shrines to the protective spirit of a place. 
Spirit house in Phnom Penh Cambodia
The style of the spirit houses varied widely and many presented a small offering of fruit or a beverage. It was fascinating to see.
Spirit houses in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Visit Sorya Mall for Cambodian Snacks and Views

Bean and corn yogurt plus frozen supermarket treats at Sortya Mall in Phnom Penh Cambodia
We live in Ireland and don't do particularly well with heat. It was important for us to have a strategy to beat the April heat and humidity when we visited Phnom Penh. Our answer was to seek our air-conditioning whenever we could for a brief respite. We found that Sorya Mall near the central market in Phnom Penh was a lifesaver in this regard. 

Sorya Mall has a supermarket on the ground floor. We love shopping for local snacks. The most unusual thing that we tried was yogurt with corn and red beans. The flavor was objectively fine but my mind had a hard time processing this flavor combination in yogurt form.
Views of Phnom Penh from Sortya Mall
You can ride an elevator to the top floor of Sorya Mall for views across Phnom Penh. Another added bonus!

Have a Nice Dinner Out in the Cambodian Capital

Dinner at Khmer Surin restaurant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
We really enjoyed the Cambodian food that we sampled in Phnom Penh, so we definitely recommend making time to have a nice dinner. Cambodian cuisine feels like a cross between Thai and Vietnamese cuisine to me with a healthy dose of spiciness. We also loved the great ambiance at many of the nicer restaurants. We discovered Khmer Surin restaurant close to our hotel and ended up eating there twice. The tables are arranged around an open courtyard filled with lush greenery and a pond so make sure to apply DEET before you eat :-) We tried a spicy papaya salad and two stir fry dishes which were delicious especially for the price of around $6 USD per dish.

Experience A Khmer Massage

Teahouse Urban Hotel lobby in Phnom Penh Cambodia
I love how affordable it is to get a massage in Southeast Asia and definitely recommend booking yourself in for a spa treatment. Cambodia is known for Khmer Massage. To me, it felt like a variant of Thai massage. They give you a loose fitting pair of trousers and top to change into. The massage is done without oil and the therapist essentially climbs all over to get leverage. Such strength! Khmer massage is very intense but I found it relaxing in spite of this. In fact, I almost fell asleep during my treatment! At $15 USD for 45 minutes, the massage was good value by US/European standards. You can definitely get massages for cheaper than this in Cambodia but for me, the hygiene standards and convenience of doing it at my hotel were worth the "premium" we paid.

Stroll Around Wat Phnom

Lion statue at Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh Cambodia
Wat Phnom, a 600+ year old Buddhist Temple on a hill in the heart of Phnom Penh and symbolic soul of the city, is definitely worth a visit. We happened to be in Phnom Penh for the Khmer New Year and all the local celebrations center around the temple and surrounding park. We climbed the hill to check out the temple and look out upon the festival below.
Buddhist Temple Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh Cambodia
Incense burning at Buddhist temple Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Take A Sunset Cruise on the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers

Sunset cruise on the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
What's the best way to end a visit to Phnom Penh? Take a sunset cruise on the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. We booked our 90 minute cruise through Memorable Cambodia. We boarded a double-decked wooden boat and were treated to unlimited beers and soft drinks on board plus a lovely platter of local fruit. It was amazing to get a glimpse of Cambodia from the quiet of the water; checking out both the evolving skyline of Phnom Penh and the small fishing villages along the rivers. Cities in Southeast Asia can be quite frenetic and Phnom Penh is no exception. It was fantastic to end our trip to the Cambodian Capital on a more serene note.

Have you visited Phnom Penh? What are your top recommendations for things to do in the Cambodian Capital?

Did you enjoy this post? Sharing is caring...

Things to Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia Beyond the Killing Fields



#DrJSabbatical Adriatics Africa Aix-en-Provence Algarve Americas Ann Arbor Argentina Asia Asia Pacific AUNZ AUNZ_Archive Australia Austria Baltics Barcelona Bath Belfast Belgium Berlin Best of Beyond Dublin Big Island Bologna Boston Brazil Brighton Bruges Brussels Bucharest Budapest Buffalo California Cambodia Canada Canary Islands Canterbury Cape Town Carcassonne Cardiff Central Europe Chile China Chinatown Christmas Market Civic Center Cologne Commute Chronicles Copenhagen Cork Costa Brava Cow Hollow Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Delhi Denmark Derry Donegal Dresden Dublin Dublin_Archive Dubrovnik Eastern Europe Edinburgh El Calafate England Eruption Essen Estonia Europe Europe_Archive Evora Fado Faro Faversham Financial District Finland Fisherman's Wharf Flanders Florida Flugtag Food France Frankfurt French Riviera Fringe Fringe Festival Galway Gandhi Gdansk Gdynia Georgian Dublin Germany GhostBus Gig Girona Glasgow Google Plus Granada Greece Greece and Cyprus Guest Posts Guiness Storehouse Gurgaon Half Moon Bay Hamburg Hangzhou Hanoi Hawaii HCMC Helsinki Hermanus Hilo Ho Chi Minh City Hobart Hoi An Honolulu Hungary Hurling Hyderabad Ice Cream Sandwich Iceland ICS India Inner Richmond Ireland Ireland_Archive Istanbul Italy Itinerary Izmir Jackson Square Jaipur Japan Johannesburg Kaunas Kenmare Kilauea Kilkenny Kilkenny Cats Killarney Kiluaea Kona Krakow Kuala Lumpur Kyoto Lake Como Languedoc Lanzarote Las Fallas Las Vegas Latvia Laurel Heights Leeds Leinster Leipzig Lemesos Let's French 2011 Liechtenstein Lima Limerick Lincoln's Inn Lisbon Lithuania Liverpool Lloret de Mar London Los Angeles Louisiana Lübeck Lucerne Machu Picchu Mackintosh Madeira Madrid Mainz Malaga Malaysia Mallorca Malta Manchester Marina Marrakech Marrakesh Marseille Massachusetts Med Melbourne Mendoza Menton Miami Milan Mission Dolores Modena Monaco Monte Carlo Montenegro Montpellier Morocco Muenster Munich Munster Music NA_Archive Naples Netherlands New Orleans New Year 2011 New Year Festival New Years Eve 2010 New York New Zealand Nice Nicosia Nob Hill Noe Valley Nordics Normandy Norrkoping North America North Beach Northern Ireland Nuremberg Oahu Oakland Oktoberfest Oliwa Ollantaytambo Olympics On The Road Osaka Outer Sunset Oxford Pacific Heights Padua Palafrugell Palma Panorama Paphos Paris Parma Patagonia Pearl Harbor Pennsylvania Perth Peru Philadelphia Pingyao Pittsburgh Poland Porto Portugal Potrero Hill Prague Presidio Heights Pride Provence Puerto Natales Punta Arenas Queensland RAF2010 Ranelagh Ranelagh Arts Festival Recent Red Bull Regensburg Reims Restaurant Review Reykjavik Riga Ring of Kerry Rio de Janeiro Rochester Roman Ruins Romania Rome Rotterdam Rugby Russia Russian Hill Salt Lake City San Francisco San Sebastian Santiago Scandinavia Science Gallery Science Museum Scotland Seattle Segovia Seoul Seville SF - Further Afield SF_Archive Sicily Siem Reap Singapore Sintra Sligo Snow SOMA Sopot South Africa South America South Beach South Korea Soweto Spain SPWC St. Petersburg Stellenbosch Stockholm Strasbourg Street Performance Stuttgart Sultanahmet Sweden Switzerland Sydney Tallinn Tasmania Tavira TBEX Telegraph Hill Temple Bar Tenerife Texas Thailand Thames Festival The Kruger The Mission Theatre ThisIsAthens Tipperary Tokyo Toledo Toronto Torres del Paine Toulouse Trad Trad Sessions Transylvania Trinity College Turkey UBTD10 Uganda UK Ulster Bank Theater Festival Union Square United States Uruguay Vacation Rental Valencia Valparaiso Venice Vienna Vietnam Vilnius Volcano Volcanoes National Park Waikiki Wales Walking Walking Tour Warsaw Washington Waterford Western Australia Westerplatte Westfield Where's Wally? Whitsundays Wicklow World Record World War II Wroclaw WWI WWII Xi'an York Ypsilanti Zurich
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Alternative Things to Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia: Beyond the Killing Fields
Alternative Things to Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia: Beyond the Killing Fields
Learn about alternative things to do in Phnom Penh, Cambodia beyond the Killing Fields and other sites of the Cambodian Genocide.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy