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You are here:  » Travel Destination » Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh

Fast Facts:

Area: 678.46 km2 (261.95 sq mi)

Population (2012): 1,501,725

Density: 2,200/km2 (5,700/sq mi)

Highlights:

Strolling, relax, watch the streetlife and absorb the local color.

Phnom Penh Vignette:

The city is slowly gaining high rise buildings and traffic lights. The beauty that made it a 'Paris of the East' before 1970 is unfortunately well hidden, though there are few French colonial buildings remaining. The most pleasant strolling is to be done along park-like riverfront, which hosts cafés and restaurants aplenty. Standard tourist sights are few, which makes the city a place to relax, watch the streetlife and absorb the local color.

Description:

Despite being liberated from the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese back in 1979, Phnom Penh has long remained a bit rough. However, things are improving, though roads remain shabby, traffic chaotic and electricity strained.

The city is slowly gaining high rise buildings and traffic lights. The beauty that made it a 'Paris of the East' before 1970 is unfortunately well hidden, though there are few French colonial buildings remaining. The wide boulevards and promenades envisaged by the French have become parking spaces and market stalls: pedestrians are not in favour.

The most pleasant strolling is to be done along park-like riverfront, which hosts cafés and restaurants aplenty. Standard tourist sights are few, which makes the city a place to relax, watch the streetlife and absorb the local color. Phnom Penh is worthwhile destination for those who enjoy an 'edge' experience and can brave the downsides of reckless driving, noise, and poverty. Touts and beggars abound, the worst area is the tourist strip along the river. Be firm, though a polite refusal should work.

Weather is hot and humid, with showers in the late afternoon in the rainy season.