Despite being a bit rough on the edges, Phnom Penh retains its former charm as a leafy South East Asian capital with a nice riverside promenade and numerous beautiful Cambodian Buddhist wats, palaces, and other artifacts. So how to spend 2 days in Phnom Penh on your tour to Cambodia? Let’s dive in!

Sunset at Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

Sunset at Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

Top Things to Do for 2 Days in Phnom Penh:

  • Visit Kôh Chen village to learn about silver and copper smiting
  • Cruise to admire the Tonle Sap Lake
  • Discover the Royal Palace, the incredible solid silver-floored Silver Pagoda & National Museum
  • Explore Wat Phnom, Tuol Sleng Museum and go shopping at the Russian Market
  • Take a boat trip on the Mekong River
  • Visit Phnom Sampeou Mountain & “Killing Caves”
  • Learn how to cook Cambodian cuisine

Best Time to Visit Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has a tropical climate. In winter, there is much less rainfall in Phnom Penh than in summer. In Cambodia, the meteorological year is divided into two seasons:

  • From December to April: This time is the dry season when the monsoon winds flow to the Northeast.
  • From May to November: The Southwestern monsoon arrives, bringing with it wet weather and high levels of humidity.

We recommend that you spend 2 days in Phnom Penh from November to February so that you will appreciate the dry and cool weather.

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Transportation for 2 Days in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is not a welcoming city for pedestrians. Most of the locals, expatriates, and tourists choose to travel by motorbike, tuk-tuk or taxi on 2 days in Phnom Penh.

By Tuk-Tuk

You will find the tuk-tuk everywhere and the fare never costs more than $ 2 per trip in the city. You can also rent a tuk-tuk for the whole day. For example, if you want to visit some popular places of the city like Killing Fields, Shooting Range or Tonle Bati at a realistic and very affordable price (from 20 to 30 USD) then you should rent a tuk-tuk.

By Taxi

On your 2 days in Phnom Penh, you will find not many taxis. Cabs are still very rare in the capital of Cambodia and you usually only see them on the way to the airport.

Best Places to Visit for 2 Days in Phnom Penh

1. Wat Phnom Temple

One of the main attractions of Phnom Penh, was built in 1373, and as is commonly believed, the history of the city began with this. Naturally, there are a million legends about how the temple was built, what was in it, and most importantly – who the woman Peny really was, who played one of the key roles in creating the complex.

The most popular legend says that Stump found four bronze statues of Buddha in the river, for the preservation and worship of which a small temple was erected on an artificially created hill, which is called “Phnom” in Khmer language. In one of the stupas in the temple, these statuettes are still kept. Little has been preserved from the original buildings: the current temple and many stupas were created in the 20th century.

It will take you at least 2 hours to inspect this Phnom Penh temple. And it’s not only Wat Phnom itself: at the foot of the hill on which it is located in a beautiful park is one of the most pleasant places to relax in the city. Relaxing in the shade of trees, examining numerous statues and compositions, watching the locals, you cease to notice the passage of time, and it flies unnoticed. The park, like Wat Phnom Temple, is a very peaceful place.

2. Tuol Sleng Museum

Inside Tuol Sleng Museum

Inside Tuol Sleng Museum

One of the darkest prisons in which the Khmer Rouge kept political prisoners. It is not known for certain how many people were tortured to death here at the time of Pol Pot. Historians agree only that from 1975 to 1979 more than 20 thousand people visited these dungeons.

The prison was located in a school building, where Pol Pot himself would have been a teacher at one time. In the former schoolyard – 14 graves – the last victims whose bodies were found in the cells after the departure of the Khmer Rouge.

Today in the prison there is a museum where ex-prisoners’ relatives take excursions. Twice a day in the video room they broadcast a film with a story about the horrors that occurred here.

In 2010, the former head of the prison was tried and sentenced to 35 years in prison for crimes against humanity.

3. Russian Market

Located about 6 kilometers from Wat Phnom, one of the first markets of Phnom Penh for foreigners, the Russian market became one of the major attractions since the 1980s, when the majority of foreign citizens of the capital of Cambodia were Russians. The market is not as interesting from an architectural point of view as the Central market, but in terms of assortment it can even give it a head start. Silk, souvenirs, antiques, jewelry, gold jewelry and Cambodian carvings – all this is abundant in the Russian market.

4. Battambang

Battambang is a popular tourist city in Cambodia, famous for its ancient temples and ruins. It is located in the north of the country, 170 kilometers from Siem Reap and 291 kilometers from Phnom Penh (see map of Cambodia with resorts). The city is the capital of the province of the same name. Also, it is one of the largest cities in Cambodia (population about 250 thousand people, the second largest after Phnom Penh).

The architecture of the city has not changed much since colonial times, retaining its French roots. It is with its genuine, natural atmosphere of provincial Cambodia that the city attracts tourists. While in Battambang, you can see the real, unadorned for tourists, provincial life of ordinary Cambodians.

Suggested Itineraries for 2 Days in Phnom Penh

Itinerary 1: Phnom Penh – Koh Chen/ Oudong

Day 1: Enjoy a magnificent lunch as the ship cruises to Kôh Chen (Chinese Island). We arrive at Kôh Chen, a small village of whose inhabitants specialize in silver and copper smiting. They produce ornamental items, including delicately engraved tropical fruit which are used in traditional ceremonies or at weddings. You will be able to catch a glimpse of the distant hills of Cambodia’s ancient capital – Oudong – and its royal stupas when you are a few kilometers away from the ferry.

Passengers return to the Indochine. We depart Kôh Chen for Kampong Tralach. Indochine Cruise drops anchor close to village.

Day 2: Passengers return to Indochine cruise to Kampong Chhnang. We arrived at Kampong Chhnang. Located some 56 miles from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chhnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonlé Sap. Kampong Chhnang is famous for fish farming and pottery ware. And not to be overlooked are the products of the Thnot tree – a mellow tasting, caramel-colored sugar sold in large cakes and palm wine – that grows abundantly in the area. We return to Indochine cruise. We cruise gently towards the Tonle Sap Lake. Have lunch on the cruise while transferring back to Phnom Penh for departure.

A fishing man on Tonlé Sap River at sunset

A fishing man on Tonlé Sap River at sunset

Itinerary 2: Hidden Phnom Penh Discovery

Day 1. Phnom Penh Discovery

The time to discover the Royal Palace, the incredible solid silver-floored Silver Pagoda is the pagoda which in the Royal Palace campus, where five thousand of silver tiles on the floor of the pagoda and have the biggest golden Buddha statue; visit National Museum, a treasure chest of Angkorian and Pre-Angkorian artifacts.

Next proceed to Wat Phnom, Tuol Sleng Museum, and shopping at the Russian Market. Our trip concludes by a 01 hour boat cruise on the Mekong River to explore the local nightlife.

Day 2. Battambang Tour

Battambang is an elegant riverside town with wonderful French Colonial architecture. Next move to Phnom Banan is a mountain top at 11th century Angkorian ruin, consisting of five temples and peaceful location with a nice view of the area.

On the way back, visit Phnom Sampeou Mountain steeped in legend, and topped by WatSampeou and a group of caves used as “Killing Caves” according to the Khmer Rouge.

Learn how to cook Cambodian cuisine (traditional Khmer fish curry cooked in coconut milk) and test your cook food for lunch.

Afternoon move to Wat Ek Phnom 14 Kilometer from the provincial town. Transfer to the airport for the return flight. The end of the tour.

Overview of Battambang from a mountain

Overview of Battambang from a mountain

Itinerary 3: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap

Day 1: Arrive at the boat jetty at 08:00 and depart up the Tonle Sap River for Oudong where you can see spectacular views over the surrounding country.

Then, continue to Prek Kdam to visit Koh Chen, a small village specialising in silverware.

After having lunch on board, visit a wonderful pagoda at Kampong Tralach. Transfer to Siem Reap in the afternoon. Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 2: You will take a morning cruise around the canals leading off Tonle Sap Lake to see the famed floating homes and villages in the area. Enjoy lunch on board before disembarking at around 13:00. Transfer back to Siem Reap for departure.

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Bich Ngoc

As a true Vietnamese enthusiast of music, books and coffee, Bich Ngoc loves researching into those typical cultural characteristics of Vietnam as well as exploring further destinations in the country of thousand years of civilization.

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