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What To Do In Phnom Penh – 18 Alternative Things To Do In 2017

Fortunately enough we’ve narrowed down the top 18 things to do that you probably wouldn’t find on the Cambodian Tourism industry website.

What to do in Phnom Penh? What a question,

If you’ve been having a hard time figuring out what to do in Phnom Penh, you’re in luck…

What To Do In Phnom Penh #1: Cruise The Kambol Raceway

Cambodia’s answer to Mario Kart. Kambol Raceway is an awesome go karting track that’s located 8km outside of the city centre.
You’ll be putting your pedals to the metal as you fly past the beautiful surroundings of palm trees and rice paddies.
The track is 900 metres long, with 11 tantalizing turns and a 150 metre straight to turn the burners on. Each race is 10 laps and costs $12.
There’s a bar riskily located right alongside the track. We certainly can’t condone drinking and driving, drinking and spectating – now that we can get behind.

What To Do In Phnom Penh #2: Day Tripping In A Tuk-Tuk

What is the best way to get around for a day while looking at all of the beautiful scenery in the city? A tuk-tuk of course!
Tuk-tuks are three-wheeled motorcycle vehicles that the locals use to get around, giving you that flair of authenticity. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re the cheapest form of transportation going.
This can easily be one of the best experiences available in the city, but make sure to find a driver that is trustworthy. If you’re staying at Phnom Penh’s most social hostel, Mad Monkey, you’ll find our fleet of reliable tuk-tuk drivers whom we vouch for waiting right outside our doors.
Usually, they’ll offer to whiz you away around to hidden markets, temples, eateries, and bars that the typical tourist might not explore or find. Take a day to explore the city from a different perspective. Whether it’s a ride to Silk Island or out to the province right outside of the city to visit Khmer homes and families, don’t forget to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Note: Be mindful of Phnom Penh roads as they’re sometimes lined by powdery sand. We’d recommend bringing a scarf or handkerchief to avoid dirt being blow into your face.
Also, stay weary if anyone asks to visit an Orphanage, as this can often be a scam. Make sure to read our Phnom Penh Scams page, and make sure to read up on Why Orphanage Tourism Is a Bad Idea before you head off. 


What To Do In Phnom Penh #3: All Night Partying Phnom Penh Style

Most of the buzzing bars in this city can be found around the BKK1 “backpacker district”. Yours truly, Mad Monkey Hostel, is located on Street 302 right in the heart of it all. If you need a night in, you’ll find a comfy bed with your name on it. If you’re here to party all night, though, we’ve got a rooftop bar where you can boogie down and meet new friends over ice-cold drinks.
Drinking in Phnom Penh is generally cheap with beers being priced anywhere from 50 cents to $2.
If you’re venturing out beyond BKK1, we recommend traveling in a pack for safety, peace of mind, and general fun purposes. The crowd at Mad Monkey always heads out on the town when our bar closes at midnight, though, so if you’re traveling solo we’ve got a ready-made crew waiting for you.
More information about drinking in Phnom Penh can be found in our Phnom Penh’s Best Bars Guide.
Drinking is one of the best things to do in Phnom Penh because the bar and club scenes are a bubbling cauldron of extreme naughtiness that should not be missed! Just make sure to drink responsibly!


What To Do In Phnom Penh #4: Riverside Chilling

The Riverside is where most of the locals gather during leisure hours. This area is fairly well maintained, so both the river itself and the path running alongside it look and smell clean. It makes for one of the more pleasant Riverside hangouts in Southeast Asia. Visitors can walk around or sit on the cemented benches nearby and watch ferries pass.
There is also a park across the Riverside just in front of the Silver Pagoda with a nice lush green garden in the back. In the background, the Royal Palace can be seen (in glowing lights by night), making it the perfect backdrop for that selfie you’ve been meaning to take.
Consider bedding down in one of the coffee shops or bars near the Riverside for a healthy dose of people watching, or grab some take-out for a picnic in the park Khmer-style.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #5: Break Free Of The Escape Room

If you love getting absolutely mind-boggled then this will be an absolute treat.
ESCAPE60 is a real life escape game that separates the Sherlock Holmes from the Tweedle Dumbs.
So how is this mystery unraveled?
You and your pack of adventurers (2 to 8 people) will be locked a room and given 60 minutes to uncover the super secrets and solve the mysterious puzzles.
ESCAPE60 is a very popular experience among travelers, and in order to lock yourself in for a solving session, you must book at least 24 hours in advance.
$20 per person for the treasure.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #6: Take Your Night to The Next Level At Jet’s


What To Do In Phnom Penh #6: Take Your Night to The Next Level At Jet's -What To Do In Phnom Penh - 17 Alternative Things To Do In 2017
Jet’s Container Market © Courtesy of phnom penh post


Jet’s Container Market is a new pop up that is tearing up the Phnom Penh nightlife scene. Located a mere stone’s throw away from Aeon Mall and some of the most popping nightclubs in the city, the Container Market is perfectly poised to inject some magic into the evening’s proceedings.
Festival vibes…
Jet’s is also a packing a musical punch, with live acts performing across a number of stages. And in case, you’re not already heading out the door in the direction, local food stalls have whipped up everything from sushi to pizza. See you there shortly.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #7: Boat Cruising

This is absolutely one of Phnom Penh’s best attractions! An hour long sailing ride during sunset, along the Riverside and back, is only $5. We’d suggest getting on early before the boat gets full, so you can swipe a spot to sit at on the upper deck that faces forward, making it one of the best views of the city’s skyline.
The views include some of the city’s skyscrapers and mountains from afar, whilst the native Khmer songs belt out loudly from speakers nearby. Every cruise includes an English speaking tour guide that narrates a story of the city, while pointing out historical landmarks nearby.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #8: Paint Balling

If you’re scared of the idea of shooting a real gun then a great alternative is paint balling! It is exactly the same, except you’re holding a toy gun with dye capsules, instead of actual bullets.
It’s a fun adult version of tag. All you do is run, hide or find an object in an obstacle format, and try to get your opponent out by shooting paint at them!
Nytro Paintball Park is our top pick in Phnom Penh when it comes to this extreme sport. They have wide, artificial terrains and boulder mounds capable of hosting dozens of players on each side. The park also has the latest and widest variety of shooting guns. Maybe most importantly, they have the most up-to-date safety gear. All of this will only set you back $10. That includes an entire day of play with equipment, and 100 balls for two rounds of the game.
Remember to always wear a mask, because if a paintball hits your face it really hurts and can ruin your time.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #9: Indoor Climbing


What To Do In Phnom Penh #9: Indoor Climbing -What To Do In Phnom Penh - 17 Alternative Things To Do In 2017
Indoor wall climbing © Courtesy of phnom penh climb

If you’re looking to take on your own mini everest while you’re in the Cambodian capital, then the Phnom Penh Climb is calling your name!
Heralded as the first ever indoor climbing experience in Cambodia, this is a great way to spend the afternoon whilst getting some good ol’ fashioned exercise in as well. The gym is down in the up-and-coming Russian Market neighbourhood, so there are lots of cool restaurants and cafes to explore after your limbs give out on the wall.
Day passes cost $7, and if you’re an extra keen bean they also do annual passes as well for $450. They have top of the range climbing gear which is available to rent for just $1 and offer a variety of climbing opportunities including classes and rope climbing for the more experienced climbers among you.
Take it to the summit!


What To Do In Phnom Penh #10: Netflix & Chill At The Flicks

Sometimes all the exploring and partying can take it’s toll, and it’s time to sit back, relax and catch a flick. The Flicks are a collection of legendary little movie theatres scattered around the heart of the Cambodian capital.
They show everything from the latest blockbuster releases, to quirky documentaries, to underground film festival films. All of the above only for $3.50 per screening.
Not only can you indulge in the classic popcorn and huge vats of fizzy drinks, you can also get food delivered in from local pizzerias and burger joints!
Lights, camera, action!


What To Do In Phnom Penh #11: Splish Splash At The Water Park

Most hotels (and even some hostels – hello Mad Monkey!) in Cambodia have a small-to-medium-sized swimming pool, but if you want a bigger place to take a dip we’d suggest checking out Fantastic Water World. With everything from a Lazy River to a Giant Rainbow Slide, it’s the city’s ultimate destination for cooling off.
It’s best to go during weekdays or in the morning where there are only a few people around because it gets crowded with hundreds of people expected there each weekend.
Entry is $4 on a weekday and $6 on a weekend. This place is pretty far outside the city centre, so make a day of it.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #12: Immersing In The Art Scene

Street art is a relatively new concept in Cambodia, slowly emerging since the fall of the Khmer Rouge and its stifling of creativity and free speech.
Cambodia’s creative side has bounced back with style as trippy murals, vibrant graffiti, and powerful expression have begun to illuminate the city’s streets.
If you’re wanting to get all artsy fartsy then there’s one street above all others that you need to wandering along. The one and only, Street 93.
To find which artists to keep an eye out for, take a peek at our Khmer Street Art Insider Guide.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #13: Exhibit Yourself At Meta House


Keeping on the artsy fartsy path: Meta House is a must for all art lovers. Set up by German filmmaker, Nico Mesterharm, in 2007, this three-story gallery is a hub of creativity and inspiration.
Nico explained to us the value the centre offers…
“In recent years … the tireless efforts of Cambodian artists, both in Cambodia and abroad, have brought about a resurgence of both classical and contemporary Khmer art. The arts play a particularly important role in helping Cambodians reclaim their heritage, heal their souls, and engage in the emerging renaissance.”
The space boasts a 200 square-metre exhibition floor which offers regular artistic workshops and exhibitions. Not only that, but throughout the week there are also film screenings, comedy shows, and parties hosted by local DJ’s.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #14: Shop Till You Drop At Aeon

You don’t even need to shop in order to drop at Aeon, there’s an indoor ice skating rink that will do the job for you. Aeon Mall is a mega shopping experience that was pieced together by the Japanese big dogs, Aeon (surprise surprise), back in 2014.
Since 2014, it’s grown in stature as more and more people flock through the doors each day. The space has become a community hangout that attracts special events and experiences. Aeon are doing all they can to make sure that they hit their target of 10 million visitors to the Mall each year. An impressive feat given that the population of Cambodia is now 15 million.
Aeon is also another top notch place to catch a film, with the top floor hosting nothing less than the biggest cinema complex In. The. Country.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #15: Night & Weekend Markets


Looking to find the best gifts and other specialty products? We’d recommend the Russian Market (Phsar Toul Tompong) for the best souvenirs, Orussey Market (Phsar Orussei) for household goods and pirated products, and the Night Market (Phsar Rea Try) for touristy items and street food.
Don’t leave without checking out the main event: the iconic Central Market (Phsar Thmei). It’s set up in an art deco building, and has a range of goods and products like electronics, jewelry, clothes, paintings, sculptures, flowers, and more. Wandering the aisles is an experience in itself, even if you aren’t looking to shop.
One of Phnom Penh’s night markets, located near Sisowath Quay, happens every weekend and is a must see. This market is where native Khmers go to grab a bite of their favorite local dishes, and buy chic clothing for cheap. This market also includes chairs and tables to sit at unlike other night markets, making it easier to eat or hang out and relax after some shopping.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #16: Evoke Your Inner Street Foodie

Do you want to indulge your taste buds with a bite of a fried tarantula or lightly sauteed cricket? You can have it all in Phnom Penh’s bustling street food centers.
Sooner or later you’ll realize that Khmers love munching on bugs, spiders, and other fried insects. All they add is a bit of  MSG, crushed garlic, sugar, and salt until they become a stiff, crunchy, and salty-sweet treat.
Fortunately, you can still enjoy the best of Cambodia’s street food even if bugs aren’t for you. There are plenty of food stalls and local eateries to try that are bug-free. We’ve listed the dishes you simply must sample in our Cambodian Street Food Guide.
There are also a number of international restaurants in Phnom Penh, though, if this simply isn’t up your alley.


What To Do In Phnom Penh #17: Get A Good Ol’ Khmer Rub Down

At Bodia Spa—located on the corner of Streets 178 and Sothearos Boulevard—get pampered inside a sheltered cocoon of warm lighting, inspiring melodies and soothing scented-oils, while using 100 percent natural products.
Check out their website at for more details.
Cheaper options are also available in the backpacker area from Street 302 to Streets 278, where you will  find a large number of massage places dotted on most corners of the city.


What To Do In Phnom Penh – And Of Course, Come & Say Hi…


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Great Articles About What To Do In Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is a vibrant, complex city, and we’ve only scratched the surface with this list. Check out some of the following guides for more ideas and inspiration:


What To Do In Phnom Penh – How Did We Do?

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About the Author

Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.