Previously, I am always skeptical when I'm visiting Cambodia. There are so many stories about Cambodia and I cannot deny the fact some of them affect our decision to visit this country. However, after I spend time in Cambodia opened my eyes to A New Perspective and I'm glad I did so here I want to share with you some of the tips and guides if you want to travel to Cambodia for the first time.
Where to Stay
These are questions that we always ask ourselves where I want to stay? Here are some of the recommendations for areas where you can stay in Phnom Penh. I have done a few comparisons prior to my visit.
Walking distance to most tourist attractions.
The nightlife scene is here
Plenty of restaurants from different cuisine.
The abundance of affordable accommodation, ranging from backpackers to small-budget hotels.
I stay at Rachana Hostel located heart of the Riverfront area.
List of Hotels to consider.
Lucky Ro Hotel
Phnom Penh Le Vincent Hotel
BKK Boeng Keng Kang.
I have not stayed here, so I won't comment that much but I do spend time walking just to see if I like the vibe. What I found that;
The central business district of the city.
Near the Monument (one of the tourist attractions)
You can find embassies, hotels, restaurants, and many others.
The lack of authentic Cambodian presence has already been transformed by an influx of expart to the area.
There are a few options for public transport that you can utilize or use while you're visiting Cambodia.
GrabCar or GrabTukTuk are available widely across Phnom Penh so this is probably the cheapest or budget-friendly mode of transportation options that you can consider to use. So far this is the safest option and it's convenient. In terms of fare, I think it's quite affordable depending on the distance that you are traveling but generally, it's quite the same as what the other Southeast Asian country. Love Grab!
Independent Taxi which I don't use often so I can comment much but I try to avoid this because a lot of incidents or some stories that have heard that you are prone to scammers and also some of the safety issues so I wouldn't recommend independent taxi especially if you are solo travel.
Another mode of transportation that I use a lot as well as walk on foot. If anything less than 1k or 1.5km I would consider walking to that particular location but however at Phnom Penh is not pedestrian friendly you have to avoid some of the motorcycles or cars parks in The Pedestrian walking area and also have to be careful of the traffic as well. Obviously, it's not safe when you try to do it at night time like past 8:00 pm like that so I wouldn't recommend that. You should consider walking and you got to enjoy the beautiful neighborhood and see the different life of Cambodian.
Cambodian use Cambodian Riel which I think is quite easy to convert to Malaysian ringgit because 1000 Cambodian Riel equals to 1 Malaysian Ringgit. However, throughout my stay, most of the places, shops, and convenience stores display the price tag in US dollars and a lot of US dollar transactions and Cambodian Riel. Currency exchange shops or authorized currency exchange dealers are available in common shops like travel agents.
Bucket List Tourist Attraction
As the first timer here at the list of must-see places while in Cambodia specifically Phnom Penh. I'll elaborate more about all of these places; how you can get here and entrance fees and also what can you do in these places. At glance, as the first timer, you must visit;
Royal Palace Cambodia
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museums
Riverfront/ Phnom Penh Night Market
Wat Phnom Daun Penh
National Museum of Cambodia
Total Days Visiting Phnom Penh
The total number of days that I would suggest spending to cover all the tourist attractions in Phnom Penh will be 3 days and 2 nights, further than that it might get very boring because most of the tourist instructions have similar activities or similar experiences. If you have the budget you may spend 4 days and 3 nights but perhaps on the last day of the tour, you might want to relax at the malls or go for a massage or just do basically nothing but all in all I would suggest three days and 2 nights is sufficient.
I visited Phenom Penh in the very last week of October and the first week of November. The weather at that particular time is humid and sometimes it rains a little bit and temperatures could reach 34 to 35 degrees Celsius. From my understanding, Phnom Penh is humid & hot throughout the year but November until February it's generally the best time to visit where you will experience low rainfall but you can still experience warm temperatures.
Safety & Customs
This some of the customs or safety tips guys for you to take note.
Like in any Asian country or Southeast Asian country, particularly, temples are considered sacred place, so you are expected to have decent clothing when visiting which include museums as well so be mindful of what you wearing
Beware of scammers because they are everywhere, especially at tourist attractions. The one that I have experienced is one guy will inform you that these particular tourist attractions are closed for renovations and then he can bring you to another tourist destination that is open so be mindful.
Walking at night, especially past 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. might not be recommended. This is basically my experience perhaps because the locations that I choose have minimal street lights so it's not safe, so make sure that you check the area where you are staying and be vigilant at all times.
All in all, I would recommend Phnom Penh as a part of your bucket list destinations because it's affordable and Cambodians are very friendly and they speak good English. The city has so much potential.