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Phnom Penh is the capital, largest city and most wealthy city in Cambodia. The city was first settled in 1372. It did not become very important untill Angkor fell to Siam, at that time the King of Cambodia moved the capital nearby to current day Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh itself was not official the capital of Cambodia until 1865. By the 1920s the city was considered the “Pearl of Asia” because of heavy French colonialism. Its wealth only grew once the canals to the countryside and the railroad to Sihanoukville was completed.
The city suffered greatly because the Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese used Cambodia as a base to lunch attacks and only helped to fuel the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh on April 17th 1975. Immediately Pol Pot emptied the city of people and placed many of the wealthier and more educated people in labor camps. He shortly thereafter create the S-21 Prison Camp in the Tuol Svay Prey High School. There is only 12 known survivors of this detention center, thousands of people were processed then executed in nearby killing fields. In 1979 the Vietnamese drove the Khmer Rouge out of Phnom Penh.
Today Phnom Penh is turning back into a major economic center for Asia and has a population of over 1 million. Tourism is still a big thing but industry and food production are growing parts of the economy. Phnom Penh is a great place to spend a few days. Just remember that the ghosts of the past are still very present, as with the rest of Cambodia.
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Phnom Penh has a hot and humid tropical climate. The city has a wet southwest monsoon from May to October and a dry northeast monsoon from November to April. Temperatures are between 22 °C (December to February) and 25 °C (April to October) at night, and 30 °C (November and December) to 35 °C (April) during the day most of the year, but April sees temperatures of 40 °C occasionally. September and October are the wettest months, with 225 and 250 mm of rain respectively. December to March is the driest time of the year, with January and February sometimes seeing hardly a drop of rain (around 5-10 mm on average a month).
|Avg Max||31.5 °C||32.8 °C||34.9 °C||34.9 °C||34.3 °C||33.5 °C||32.5 °C||32.5 °C||32.3 °C||31.1 °C||29.9 °C||30.1 °C|
|Avg Min||21.9 °C||23 °C||24.1 °C||25 °C||25.3 °C||25 °C||24.7 °C||24.6 °C||24.3 °C||23.8 °C||22.7 °C||21.7 °C|
|Rainfall||25.5 mm||11.5 mm||58 mm||101 mm||111.6 mm||177.1 mm||195.9 mm||172 mm||248.8 mm||318.9 mm||135 mm||80.3 mm|
Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH) is located 7 kilometres from Phnom Penh.
Airlines serving the Phnom Penh are Asiana Airlines and Korean Air from Seoul, Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur, Cambodia Angkor Air from Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap, Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur]], Bangkok Airways, Thai Air Asia and Thai Airways from Bangkok, China Airlines and EVA Air from Taipei, China Eastern Airlines from Kunming and Nanning, China Southern Airlines from Beijing and Guangzhou, Dragonair from Hong Kong, Jetstar Asia Airways and Silk Air from Singapore, Shanghai Airlines from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Tri-MG Intra Asia Airlines from Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore, and Vietnam Airlines from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Vientiane.
There is a limited freight service running from Kampot to Phnom Penh on the Southern Line.
"Bamboo trains" operate in various towns along the line, though the one most pushed to tourists is just outside Battambang.
Private cars with a driver are easy to hire in Phnom Penh and will take travellers to most places in the country.
Bus is the main form of transport to and from Phnom Penh. It is best to arrange bus tickets at a guesthouse because bus stations do not really exist and also tend to move often. There are always several buses daily to Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. There are daily buses to all other major towns in Cambodia to and from Phnom Penh. There is a few morning buses to Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok every day, including on holidays.
It is still possible to take boats to Siem Reap and Battambang still but with the new highways in buses are much cheaper and quicker. Most locals take the bus instead now unless they have a lot of cargo.
Fast boats leave every morning around 08:00am from Chau Doc in Vietnam's Mekong Delta and take 5 hours to reach Phnom Penh. The boats make the return journey the same day and leave Phnom Penh around 1:00pm, arriving in Chau Doc in the early evening.
Phnom Penh's main streets are in good shape. Some smaller streets and footpaths are rutted and potholed, clogged with garbage, stagnant water, parked motorbikes, sleeping people, and building materials. Many smaller streets bear either no or misleading signage, however Phnom Penh is logically laid out and navigating is not too difficult.
Phnom Penh is notorious for its massive traffic jams, and rightly so. In addition, traffic is chaotic and motorcyclists seemingly suicidal. Therefore, most tourists consider driving in Phnom Penh a nightmare, and it is highly recommended that you stick to public transport and not try to drive yourself around.
The two main types of transportation services visitors use in Phnom Penh are motodops and tuktuks. Motodops are informal motorcycle taxis that can be found waiting at most corners of the city. Tell the driver where you want to go and hop on the back. Prices vary between 2,000 riel (US$.50) and US$1 for trips within central Phnom Penh, depending on the distance travelled. Trips at night are usually more expensive, up to double the price.
Tuk Tuks, motorcycles with attached cabins, can take up to, well, lots of people depending on their size and willingness to be close to eachother. Prices are slightly higher than for motodops and increase as the number of custiomers increase. They make for a comfortable, though slow, way of getting places.
Phnom Penh is not a good city for walking. Sidewalks are primarily used to do business or to park vehicles. You are then forced to walk in the street and avoid the vehicular madness. There's a reason why you only see foreigners walking!
Bicycle rental is available in town. Phnom Penh is not a very bike friendly city, though, so therefore it's usually only school children, tourists, and Mormons (I don't know why) you see on bicycles. Motorcycle rental is more popular and convenient, but don't let Phnom Penh be where you learn to ride. The traffic is madness and you are asking for trouble.
Phnom Penh offers some interesting culinary treats not found elsewhere in the country. These include French-influenced dining and Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian dishes. Pizzas, banana pancakes, and fried rice are always easy to find.
The river front hosts everything from stand-up stalls to fine French bistros. Stalls likely lack hygienic practices: eating peeled fruit and vegetables and anything uncooked may have undesirable consequences.
Duck embryo eggs are sold at the southwest corner of Sokun Mean Bun St (St 178) and Norodum Blvd (in front of the green SSN Bldg) inside a big high school compound, together with days old hatched chicks to frogs (everything is eaten, not just the legs) dipped in batter and deep fried. Skewered and grilled pigs ears, chicken claws, and gizzards are sold in the Central Market. Pig intestines are sold at USD1 per 100 g, cut into pieces and splattered with sauce. Grilled small crabs, lobsters, prawns are also sold in the market. Chicken feet are sold in the open-air restaurants as you turn to the right at St 154 as you go northbound from Monivong Blvd. Bugs and other insects, especially the grasshopper, spider/crab, and grubs and pupae stage are sold along Sothearos Blvd from 184 St to 178 St.
Places to hang out after dark include St 136 near riverside, St 104 and St 108 near the St 51 corner, which all feature restaurant bars, hostess bars, and guesthouses. For a more upmarket bar and restaurant scene, visit an area called BKK1 that includes St 278 and St 282, near St 51 or St 308.
Most of the budget guesthouses are located around the lake. Representatives will meet most tourists at the different bus stations. Lake Side #9 is a nice guesthouse with a great view of the lake. The rooms over the water can get a little buggy. The cheaper rooms are very basic.
More budget options include:
|Frangipani Villa 60s||#20R, Street 252, Sangkat Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh||GUESTHOUSE||81|
|Indochine 2 Hotel||#28-30, Street 130||Hotel||79|
|Me Mates Place||#1B4 street 90 Wat Phnom||HOSTEL||75|
|Rory's Pub And Guesthouse||No 33 Street 178 Phnom Penh||Guesthouse||-|
|Sunday Guesthouse||N.97, St 141||Guesthouse||51|
|Hostel Nomads||#91, street 108||Hostel||80|
|King Guesthouse||#149 and #151, St.110 Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh||Guesthouse||-|
|Phnom Penh City Hotel||#157, St. 63||HOTEL||-|
|Gold Place||st 275, Khan Toul Kork||Apartment||-|
|New York Hotel||No. 256, Monivong Blvd||Hotel||-|
|Hang Pich Guest House||No 105, Street 310||Guesthouse||-|
|Holiday Villa Hotel & Suites Phnom Penh||89, Monivong Boulevard Sangkat Monorom, Khan 7 Makara||Hotel||-|
|Pao Yi Hotel Cambodia||#27, Street 93 Sangkat Sras Chork Khan Daun Penh||Hotel||-|
|Naga World Hotel||Samdech Techo Hun Sen Park||HOTEL||-|
|Blue Dog Guesthouse||13, Pasteur (Street 51)||Hostel||78|
|Golden Noura Villa||No. 29Eo, St. 178, Sangkat Chey Chum Nas Khan Daun||Hotel||-|
|Hang Neak Hotel||#14 Eo, St 201, Sangkat ToulsvaypreyII Khan Chamkamorn||HOTEL||78|
|Encounters Hostel and Guest House||#89, Street 108||HOSTEL||83|
|Royal Inn||#128D8, Sothearos Blvd, Tonle Bassac, Chamkamorn||Hotel||79|
|Aqua Boutique Guesthouse||#126 St. 63 Khan Daun Penh||Guesthouse||-|
|Kha Vi Guest House||#7dd(1) St. 258||HOSTEL||62|
|Landscape Hotel||#443, Street 238 Sang kat Chaktoumuk, Khan Duan Penh,||HOTEL||-|
|Dara Reang Sey Hotel Phnom Penh||#45 Street 13 and 118, Psar Chas||HOTEL||79|
|Pilatus Hotel||#1, Street Tonle Sap||HOTEL||-|
|Midtown Inn||No 27R, St 252 Sangkat Chaktomok Khan Daun Penh||Hotel||-|
|JOCKEY HOTEL||115, St. 63 corner 214 Sangkat Beoung Reang Khan Daun Penh||Hotel||-|
|C'est Wat Restaurant and Guesthouse||No 9 Street 118||Guesthouse||-|
|Diamond Palace Hotel||No.28 E3-E4, Street Sotheros Phnom Penh||HOTEL||72|
|Salita Hotel||# 70, St Euporean Union 143 Boeung Kengkang II||HOTEL||79|
|The 88 Backpackers Phnom Penh||#98 Street 88 Phnom Penh||HOSTEL||81|
|Macau Phnom Penh Hotel||Street 360,Boeung Keng Kang III, Khan Chamkar Morn||Hotel||-|
|Mad House||39c Street 454 Russian Market||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Velkommen Guesthouse||#18 st 144, Riverside Daun Penh||GUESTHOUSE||79|
|The Local Riverside||8 street 144 Riverside||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Star Wood Inn||#74, Street 141 Sangkat Vielvong, Khan 7makara||GUESTHOUSE||80|
|Dave's Villa||#42 Street 488||Apartment||-|
|The Mad Monkey||Building 26, Street 302 BKK1 Phnom Penh||HOSTEL||85|
|Hotel Nine||#48 Street 9 Tonle Bassac||Hotel||-|
|Lotus Luxury Villa||#11, Street 334 BKK 1||Hotel||-|
|Juliana Hotel Phnom Penh||No.16 Juliana, 152 Road, Sang||Hotel||-|
|SAKURA HOTEL||No. 32 Road 242 Sangkat Chaktomuk Khan Daun Penh||Hotel||-|
|OKAY Guesthouse||No.3BEo, 258 Street, Sang kat Chaktomok Daun Penh||HOSTEL||78|
|Frangipani Fine Arts Hotel||#43, Street 178, Sangkat Cheychumneas Khan Daun P||Hotel||79|
|Velkommen Backpackers||17 st 144 Riverside Daun Penh||HOSTEL||78|
|White Mansion Hotel||26 street 240||Hotel||-|
|The Cheeky Monkey Guesthouse||Street 830 | Tonle Bassic||Guesthouse||-|
|Angkor Mithona Guesthouse||19 Ly Yoak Lay (corner st172-13) Chey Chumneah||GUESTHOUSE||78|
|Frangipani Villa-90s Hotel||#25, Street 71, S. Boeung Keng Kang I K. Chamkarm||Hotel||-|
|Hometown Hotel||No.35, St172, Sangkat Chey Chumneas Khan Daun Pen||HOTEL||-|
|Sary's Guesthouse||#45 Street 130||Guesthouse||-|
|Spring Guest House||#34, Street 111 Sangkat Boueng Pralit Khan 7 Makara||Guesthouse||78|
|Royal Guest House||91Eo, Street 154, Sangkat Phsar Kandal 2 Daun Pen||GUESTHOUSE||79|
|Monument Hotel||22s Street 29||HOSTEL||-|
|11 Happy Backpacker||#87-89, 136 Street,||GUESTHOUSE||75|
|Diamond Palace II||#29EO, Street 178, Sangkat Jeaychumnah Daun Penh||HOTEL||78|
|Khmer City Hotel||#90H, Street 154 (Dekcho Damdin) Near Monivong Bo||HOTEL||-|
|Bonitar City Hotel||#666, St. 271 Chamkamorn||HOTEL||-|
|Kambuja Inn||8-12 Street 174 Sangkat Phsar Thmey III Khan Daun Penh||Hotel||-|
|Mittapheap Hotel||#262,Monivong Blve (corner St.174) Khan Daun Penh||HOTEL||-|
|The White Rabbit||#40A St. 294, BKK1||HOSTEL||77|
|khmer stay||Unit no.99 Street 63 Sangkat Boeung Raing Khan Daun Penh||Hostel||-|
|Somalina Boutique Hotel||126 Preah Trasak Pem (street 6||Hotel||-|
|Alibi Guesthouse||74-76 Sothearos Bd||GUESTHOUSE||79|
|The Local - Riverside||No.8 Street 144 Riverside||Hotel||-|
|Golden River Palace Guesthouse||No.139, Street 13, Sangkat Phsa Kandal 1||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|City Centre Hotel||#77/79, St130, Sangkat Phsar Chas Khan Daun Penh||HOTEL||-|
|Monsoon Boutique Hotel||#53-55 E, Street 130. Sangkat Phsar Kandal I Khan Daun Penh||HOTEL||-|
|PKD1 Guesthouse||#40Eo, St 136, Sangkat Phsa Kandal 1 Khan Daun Penh||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|One Up Hotel Cambodia||Z9-132 Street 51 Phnom Penh Cambodia||HOTEL||-|
|One Up Banana Hotel||Z9-132 Street 51||Hotel||-|
|Bougainvillier Hotel||277C, Quay Sisowath Phnom Penh 12306||Hotel||-|
|The Top Banana Guest House||Corner 278 and street 51 Close to Wat Lanka||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Skyline Boutique Hotel||No.18C, Street 29, Tonle Bassac Khan Chamkarmorn||HOTEL||-|
|Comfort House||22A, St 112, Sangkat Phsar De Po3 Khan Torl Kork||Guesthouse||-|
|International Guesthouse||N.128 St 136 Sangkat Phsar Kandal 2 Khann Daun Pen||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Frangipani Living Arts Hotel and Spa||#15, Street 123 Toul Tom Pong I, Khan Chamkarmon||HOTEL||-|
|Camory Backpackers Hostel||#167 Sisowath Quay Sangkat Phsar Kandla 1 Khun Doun Penh||HOSTEL||-|
|Eighty8||Street 88 House 98||Hostel||-|
Most foreigners working in Phnom Penh are either English teachers or foreign aid workers. More business people are starting to show and the occasional Christian missionary can be spotted around town also. There is also a large population associated with the embassies in the city.
There are internet cafes throughout the city, but they are grouped more tightly in places where there are more tourists, such as the riverside. Your guesthouse or hotel might also have internet available.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country code of Cambodia is 855. To call out of Cambodia, dial 001 followed by the country code and telephone number of the other party. Many of the internet bars also have international calling options and you can also arrange calls at post offices. Services are usually run by the governmental telecommunication network Camintel. You can find telephone cards in many shops, starting from serveral US dollars to around US$50. Samart, Mobitel and Shinawrata are the main mobile phone providers, with Mobitel offering the best and most widespread services, although calling from outside towns (countryside) is still tricky.
Cambodia's national postal service offers a wide range of services, though in general things go slowly and are not always very reliable. That said, things have been getting better over the years, and you can expect for your postcard or letter to finally arrive after 5-10, depending from where you send it (avoid small towns) and to where you send it. Prices are around 2000-2,500 Riel to countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, and it's slightly more expensive sending it from more remote places in the provinces. Post offices in Cambodia generally are open from around 8:00am to 5:00pm, with some regional variations. Sendings parcels is only possible from the capital Phnom Penh and it's very expensive as well. You might be better to send it from Thailand, or otherwise check private companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, which are more reliable and might even be cheaper!
The main post office is located near the train station and can send international mail. There are also a post office on Sihanouk just to the west of the Sihanouk-Monivong intersection. There are rarely any customers here and therefore service is very quick.
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