Cambodia is quite literally the middle sibling of Thailand and Vietnam, set between them geographically, and sometimes overlooked for its other Southeast Asian siblings.
However, Phnom Penh holiday packages are here to prove that this city is growing up, and turning into a cultural powerhouse all its own.
Anyone can feel like a king or queen on holidays to Phnom Penh. The Royal Palace is situated on the busy waterfront, but once you step inside the complex, the high walls mean you enter a serene and tranquil world. The Throne Hall, which looks like it is made from gold, is the most impressive building. Its Cambodian name means "Sacred Seat of Judgement," but don’t worry—the only judgements here are which statues are most beautiful.
Royal Palaces are wonderful, but one attraction on Phnom Penh holidays really stands above the rest: Wat Phnom is the tallest religious structure in town, and it’s ancient as well—built in 1373. For a more curious sight, visit the royal stupa (a structure containing relics) down the hill and marvel at the trees growing from its roof! Finally, visit Wat Ounalom, the seat of Cambodian Buddhism and the most important temple in town. Its stupa might raise some eyebrows—it’s purported to contain an eyebrow hair of Buddha.
From Wat Ounalom, you’re just steps from Sisowath Quay, a one-stop shop for browsing, dining and nightlife. Located on the historic waterfront of the Tonle Sap River, it’s a great place to find colourful local art and ensure your holiday goes smooth as silk: Cambodia is known for this fabric and uses it to create everything from handbags to scarves. Reward yourself for making the 3-km trek with a cold Angkor beer, hot coffee or tiny pastries near Street 94 on the northern end of the Quay.
If that’s not enough to hold over your rumbling tummy, head southeast to the Boeung Keng Kang 1 neighbourhood. You can find all types of cuisine here, from Mexican to Greek to Japanese. Of course, you have to try the local Khmer food also: run “amok” with fish amok, a fish mousse with coconut milk and curry, or get even more adventurous with stir-fried red tree ants—hey, insects are a staple for any adventurous foodies on holiday in Phnom Penh.
While holidays in Koh Samui, Thailand, may be in order for true party people, the nightlife at Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh can definitely hold its own. You’ll find everything from sports bars and pubs to karaoke and dance clubs once the sun goes down. Belt out an old-school Cambodian pop song (as best you can), then head out for drinks or dancing ’til dawn.
For a brand-new perspective on Southeast Asia, check out the best Phnom Penh deals on Wotif. Choose your airfare and accommodation to create your dream excursion, and add on one of our Phnom Penh car hire options to really motor around. Then get ready for a holiday that’s a feast for the eyes, the stomach and the soul.
It's all well and good to kick your feet up and let go of the stresses of life, but the most epic holidays are all about having new experiences.
Forget about sleep ins — Phnom Penh offers too many awesome activities. Read on for some of our top picks: