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Overview

Cambodia's capital, occupying a Parisian-inspired street grid originally laid out by the French colonial government, is refashioning itself with more Asian sensibilities following a cultural dormancy enforced by the Second Indochina War and Khmer Rouge occupation. Sleek, Singapore-inspired office buildings are now rising up alongside renovated colonial villas and ramshackle local markets. The main leisure and entertainment focus of the city for both tourists and locals is the colorful Sisowath Quay, a wide boulevard fringing the Tonle Sap. After the sun goes down, the hawker stalls, espresso cafes, bars and international restaurants are ...

Cambodia's capital, occupying a Parisian-inspired street grid originally laid out by the French colonial government, is refashioning itself with more Asian sensibilities following a cultural dormancy enforced by the Second Indochina War and Khmer Rouge occupation. Sleek, Singapore-inspired office buildings are now rising up alongside renovated colonial villas and ramshackle local markets. The main leisure and entertainment focus of the city for both tourists and locals is the colorful Sisowath Quay, a wide boulevard fringing the Tonle Sap. After the sun goes down, the hawker stalls, espresso cafes, bars and international restaurants are bursting with life. The riverfront is also conveniently close to the city's major attractions, including the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. A cityscape view, best appreciated from hired boats, reveals a skyline that grows westward from the older French-built districts to the newer and faster-developing modern architecture developed by modern international investment. With no restrictions on closing times - several bars stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week - and a newfound local wealth, Phnom Penh's nightlife has become so free-flowing in recent years that many are calling it "the new Bangkok."

Joe Cummings
About the Expert

Joe Cummings has contributed to more than 35 guidebooks, maps, atlases, phrasebooks and photographic works, including his bestselling Lonely Planet Thailand and Buddhist Stupas of Asia: The Shape of Perfection.

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Joe Cummings for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southeast Asia. Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonized Cambodia.
  • Language: Khmer, French, English
  • Currency: Cambodia Riel
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    November through February (cooler and dry), June to October (warm and rainy)