Phnom Penh has an international airport although majority of arrivals originate from within Asia. If travelling from further afield you will likely have a stopover at either Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Seoul en route. For a budget option and if you are already staying in one of the surrounding countries, it is worth researching coach companies. Coaches tend to much cheaper than flights, and have the added benefit of saving the hassle of getting to/from the airport as majority drop off and pick up from the centre of the city. Taking into account travel time to the airport plus time to check in means the time you would’ve saved by getting a flight instead of a coach tends to be negligible. I travelled to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City by coach using Mekong Express – journey time circa 6 hours including a refreshment stop, and the coach journey was rather comfortable.
Phnom Penh is a very cosmopolitan city with a mix of inexpensive boutique hotels and 5 star, high end hotels to cater to businessmen. I stayed in One Up Banana Hotel near to Independence monument and couldn’t recommend it more. The staff were incredibly helpful, the location conveniently beside two great bars and the price a bargain for the amenities.
After just over 24 hours in the capital I don’t feel like I can fairly judge the restaurant scene. I had previously read great reviews about a restaurant called Friends that employs and trains youths from the streets but sadly I didn’t get chance to go, I would love to revisit Cambodia though so I’ll definitely give it a try next time!
There’s no struggle to find a cold beer in Phnom Penh however for a more sophisticated affair I suggest BattBong. Hidden behind a coca cola vending machine door, this speakeasy offers prohibition style cocktails and live music late into the night – it’s often busy and you’ll soon understand why!
The best way to see Phnom Penh is to hire a tuk tuk driver for the day as the sites are dotted around the sprawling city. For culture buffs the must see sites include the harrowing Choeung Ek Genocide centre and Tuol Sleng Genocide museum. Although not as splendid as the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Royal Palace is also well worth a visit, along with the nearby Phnom Pagoda (the capital’s namesake). End a busy day of sightseeing by taking to the river for a sunset cruise (complete with free-flowing beers).