Phnom Penh is a bustling town that will keep you occupied during your entire stay. Each day will be about discovering new things, engaging in new experiences and all in all, having loads of fun. From one of Asia’s best night life scenes to artistic creations, culinary cuisines to adrenaline rushing adventure, historical sites to overwhelming nature spots, the choice is endless.
Starting with the art scene you can begin by taking a stroll down Street 178. With local artists selling beautiful paintings, the possibilities of striking a good bargain is assured. There are also exquisite handmade items and bolts of Cambodian silk, all displayed to delight you.
Want to experience some local culture and traditions, Chatomuk theatre is your best bet. Be mesmerized by the Khmer dance and song performances, witnessing an exotic and colourful talent show. Another place is the SouvannaPOum theatre. Bringing to life the dying art of Khmer puppetry, it is gradually becoming popular and helping rebuild this art.
If history is your forte then do drop in to the national museum. Located next to the Royal Palace, it has an impressive collection of artefacts. The Royal Palace still serves as the King’s residence. Constructed during the 19th century, it is a classic example of Khmer architecture. The majestic ‘Throne Hall’ is where royal duties were carried out while in contrast the ‘Moonlit Pavilion’ is where the royal dancers entertained the court. The ‘Silver Pagoda’ functioned as the official royal temple.
While most sites are aesthetically pleasing there are also those that capture the horrors of a Cambodian past. The TuolSleng High School was a prison camp where torture was a day-to-day activity. Now a genocide museum, it reminds you of what was once a cruel regime.
Apart from these there are many sites to see and activities to take part in. But for all of that it is important to find the ideal hotel in Phnom Penh. While there are many worthy accommodations there is one Phnom Penh hotel that has its own significance. Raffles Hotel Le Royal has been in operations since 1929 and has shaped the city’s culture in its own way.
The dawn of a new year is usually celebrated once in a year, but that is not the case in Cambodia. In this land filled with rich history and a mix of cultures it is celebrated three times! The capital city Phnom Penh is in the middle of all the activity during the celebrations of the International, Chinese and Khmer New Years’ days in Cambodia.
The most important of all three for the Cambodians, is the traditional Khmer New Year, which falls around the 14th of April according to the Buddhist calendar. This falls in with the end of the harvest season and the community gives thanks to the gods for the plentiful crops with rich feasts and celebrations. Many city dwellers retreat to their homelands to celebrate with their extended families and the temples bustle with devotees asking for blessings for another year. It is a great time to experience the traditional games, dances and food of the country. The feeling of abundance is shared by exchanging gifts. It all cumulates in the great water festivals, where beautiful water borne parades ride the Mee Kong River and water is thrown on anyone who ventures into the streets!
With a significantly large Chinese population, the Chinese New Year is also celebrated. The Sisowath Quay area in Phnom Penh is seen decorated with lanterns and lights in late January or early February, and the roads are filled with gift and food stalls to satisfy the flood of people who are shopping for the occasion. It offers visitors a fun and exciting time in which to usher in the coming year.
In recent years the growing numbers of tourists and expats have made the international New Year a day of celebration as well. Many a hotel in Phnom Penh throw grand New Year’s Eve parties and many establishments are kept open till the morning hours of the 1st of January to welcome in the celebrating crowds. These occasions let you understand the cultures of Cambodia and can be conveniently experienced while staying at a Phnom Penh hotel. Promotions are already being made to celebrate the coming of 2013 at Raffles Hotel Le Royal. Toast to a New Year filled with good wishes and happiness while enjoying the elegant comforts of the hotel.
Regardless of one’s own personal preferences Cambodia’s capital city is a party hub that packs in a wide variety of night time distractions for every type of traveller. Home to more than its fair share of trendy clubs and chic nightclubs, the nightlife highlights in Phnom Penh vary from quirky karaoke bars and sports bars to explosive dance clubs and eclectic pubs. The location of these night time hotspots also make Phnom Penh a very accessible party town as the distance between two clubs or bars is no more than a few minutes. This makes bar hopping and club hopping a favourite activity among seasoned visitors as one can truly check out all of the city’s hottest night spots in one or two nights out.
Offering guests an eclectic mix of bars the heart of Phnom Penh’s party potential is concentrated around 51 Street, 154 Street and 174 Street where the bars stay open till the wee hours of the morning. The must-try bars in Street 51 include Howies, The Walkabout and Zeppelin which also offers an enticing menu full of local and international goodies late in to the night. Other hot-pick bars in the city include California 2, Cantina and the Candy Bar while the riverfront region besides Sisowath Quay also houses many sports bars and clusters of eateries. Those looking for a British neighbourhood pub experience can head down to The Cavern Pub & Café where the atmosphere is as English as it gets in Asia whereas travellers looking to dance the night away can jive into the D.R Bar which doubles as a nightclub/discotheque. The Heart of Darkness is one of the city’s most iconic dance clubs with the Star Palace KTV & Lounge Discotheque coming in as a close second.
Those looking for one venue that packs in a variety of night time distractions on the other hand can check out NagaWorld which is one of the city’s most popular resorts and casinos. Packed with fine dining eateries and karaoke bars NagaWorld is perhaps best known for its mesmerizing gaming facilities and massive casino complex. A host of dance clubs, bars and lounges are also available at the venue in addition to a number of entertainment hubs.
Travellers in search of a luxury Phnom Penh hotel will be more than pleased with the Raffles Hotel Le Royal. Offering guests an elegant hideaway in the capital this stylish rest is one hotel Phnom Penh counts among its most resplendent accommodation providers.
The capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh is steeped in history and boasts a rich cultural heritage that has also been influenced by the French who once occupied the city. Situated by the Mekong River, it is the country’s largest city and is also the nation’s economic hub. Amidst this thriving development however, you can also find charming boulevards and French style colonial structures. There is much to see and do in Phnom Penh and the myriad of attractions one can visit include the Royal Palace where you will also find the Silver Pagoda, the Independence Monument, Wat Phnom (a Buddhist temple), the Preah Suramarit National Theatre and the National Museum. Those looking for a change of scenery and pace however, have other options to consider such as indulging in go-karting in Phnom Penh!
Located on the outskirts of the city, the Kambol Kart Raceway can be found around 10 kms past the Phnom Penh International Airport. Uniquely situated amidst scenic landscapes that include rice paddy fields, this popular track offers fun and exciting racing that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.
Twisting and turning for over 900 metres, the track features 11 turns and a 150 metre straight stretch where racers can really rev the engine and satisfy their need for speed! The 200cc go-karts can reach speeds of around sixty kilometres per hour providing plenty of thrills for enthusiastic racing fans, while safety equipment such as helmets and jumpsuits are also provided ensuring that all ‘speed demons’ are well protected.
Payment for a single race consists of being able to go 10 laps around the track and can last anywhere from 10 – 18 minutes depending on your level of skill and how far you are willing to put your foot down on the accelerator! Snacks and drinks can also be bought here for those who work up an appetite after spending time on the track.
Travellers in search of a luxury hotel in Phnom Penh that enjoys a central location can stay at Raffles Hotel Le Royal. This prestigious Phnom Penh hotel has been a favourite amongst royalty and celebrities the world over and offers the very best in contemporary comforts and hospitable service set amidst a truly luxurious setting.