How to spend 3 days in Phnom Penh on your trip to Cambodia? 3 days in Phnom Penh can be quite eventful, you will have time to visit the Royal Palace, the temples of Wat Phnom and Wat Unalom, take an evening cruise on the river and have dinner in a good restaurant. You can also visit the National Museum and/ or Tuol-sleng Museum (if you have an interest in the Khmer Rouge period) or go to the ancient capital – Udong.

3 Days in Phnom Penh

Sunset at Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

How To Get To 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 3 days in Phnom Penh.

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.

Taxi

On your 3 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 Time to Visit Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has a tropical climate. In winter, there is much less rainfall in Phnom Penh than than it does in summer. In Cambodia, there are 2 seasons in the meteorological year:

  • 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 3 days in Phnom Penh between January and December so that you will appreciate the dry and cool weather.

Best Places to Visit for 3 Days in Phnom Penh

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 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.

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.

Inside Tuol Sleng Museum

Inside Tuol Sleng Museum

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.

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.

Battambang

A Cambodian street market in Battambang

A Cambodian street market in Battambang

This 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. Battambang 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. It is a fact that in Battambang, you can see the real, unadorned for tourists, provincial life of ordinary Cambodians.

Mondulkiri

Along the eastern border of Cambodia with Vietnam, in the provinces of Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri, there are three wildlife reserves – Snul, Lumphat and Phnum Prech. Staying at the reserve, you will have the opportunity to swim in the clear mountain water and take pictures at the beautiful waterfalls.

The province of Mondulkiri is popularly called the “Cambodian Switzerland” because of the hilly terrain and beautiful green landscapes. Unlike other provinces of the country, these places, even in the dry season, are full of fresh herbs. Beautiful roads with rolling slides are a lot of fun, especially for travelers on motorbikes. The whole day’s journey will be about 350 kilometers.

Suggested Itineraries for 3 Days in Phnom Penh

Itinerary 1: Phnom Penh – Battambang – Mondulkiri

Day 1. Phnom Penh

After breakfast, we drive 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.

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

Day 2. Battambang

Let’s start your day tour with visiting an elegant riverside town with wonderful French Colonial architecture. Next, move to Phnom Banan is a mountain top 11 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” by 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, we move to Wat Ek Phnom 14 Kilometer from the provincial town.

Day 3. Mondulkiri

Early in the morning pick up from your hotel and drive to Mondulkiri. You will drive to untouched countryside and partially on dirt roads. You will start the day riding an elephant in the dense jungle.

Enjoy lunch at a beautiful waterfall, where you can take a dip if you want to. After lunch continue your elephant ride.

Travel back to Phnom Penh. Enjoy the beautiful landscape en route. You will stop in Skuon to sample some of the great delicacies of this area. Late afternoon you will arrive in Phnom Penh.

Transfer to airport for departure flight. End of service.

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Itinerary 2: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap Cruise by Toum Tiou

Day 1: Phnom Penh – Kampong Chhnang

Welcome on board R/V Toum Teav and departure for our cruise on the Tonle Sap River to Oudong.

Visit of Oudong, then stop at Prek Kdam to visit a small silver handicraft village.

Lunch on board on the way to Kampong Tralach, stop and visit its wonderful pagoda.

Dinner and overnight on board.

Day 2: Kampong Chhnang – Kampong Luong

Sail to Kampong Chhnang to visit the market and a pottery village.

Next, sail to Chnok Tru, the last big village before the river meets the Great Lake Tonle Sap.

Lunch on-board.

After that, continue to Kampong Luong, one of the largest floating villages on the lake.

Dinner and overnight on board while anchored at Kampong Luong.

Kampong Luong Floating Village

Kampong Luong Floating Village

Day 3: Kampong Luong – Siem Reap

Half day sailing on the Great Lake Tonle Sap.

Relax in the library or on the deck salon prior to arrival in Siem Reap.

Sail along a small canal, flocked with crowded floating houses, before reaching Phnom Kroum.

Note: Due to the low level of the water in the lake from March to July, the boat may not be able to cross the lake to reach Siem Reap. During this period, the visit of the floating village of Chnok Tru will be amazing, instead of the floating village of Kompong Luong and the passenger will cross the lake by small speed boats, the timing remains unchanged.

Hope that this article helped provide to you with useful information for your visit to Phnom Penh. Customize your trip now so that we can help bring you most memorable memories ever in Cambodia!

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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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