On August 22, 2012Lindsay Muscato answered the question:It’s easy to stay active during a visit to Phnom Penh. Yoga classes are plentiful at places like Nataraj Yoga. Pilates and yoga classes are also offered at The Flicks, which plays double duty as a local expat movie house. Runners, don’t despair — although Phnom Pehn lacks sidewalks, it’s possible to run along the Tonle Sap (a combined lake and river system) or Independence Monument areas, especially in the mornings before it gets too hot outside. For a unique and camera-worthy adventure, jump in to one of the many dance classes held in the evenings in the city’s parks, where a DJ pumps music from a boom-box and leads classes through the motions. Salsa classes are often held at the Foreign Correspondents Club on the weekends; you can also try your skills at the Equinox’s salsa-themed dance party in the evenings.
On August 22, 2012Lindsay Muscato answered the question:The best thing to bring home from Phnom Penh is its traditional garment — the krama. It’s hand-woven checkered cloth and can be used for everything from dish towels to neckwear. You can also pick up the beautiful silk scarves, which are made from locally produced silk.
You can also bring home something for a cause. Phnom Penh is full of shops that support local charities. The Friends store, in particular, sells gifts with a humanitarian bent. Go there to find wallets made from repurposed rice bags and silk-screened clothing hand-sewn by those in need. KeoK’jay is a good place to find unique styles sewn by HIV-positive women, along with a well-curated selection of vintage finds; and Smateria creates unique handbags and accessories from repurposed mosquito netting and motorbike seats.
On August 22, 2012Lindsay Muscato answered the question:With simple ingredients and bold spices, the food in Phnom Penh can provide an experience like you’ve never had before. Here are a few food experiences you should have while visiting the Cambodian city:
1. Street food. The street fare in Phnom Penh can be an experience in and of itself. There’s something for every palate. Fried noodles are an easy and delicious lunch for less than a dollar; there’s also no shortage of rice porridge, iced coffee and deep-fried bananas. Pull up a small plastic stool and try your hand at a new treat.
2. The Russian Market. This popular market has excellent food in its interior; and because the market caters to tourists, it’s slightly easier to find an English speaker if your Khmer is rusty. Look out for more exotic food items here, like ban hoi (bundles of rice noodles).
3. Happy hour. Cambodia loves its happy hours — in fact, many places advertise happy hours that last all day. Our favorite spot to enjoy the drinking hours is at the Foreign Correspondents Club, where you can enjoy a good cocktail with river views.
On August 22, 2012Lindsay Muscato answered the question:Bar and clubs along the river in Phnom Penh provide a hopping nightlife scene. There’s no shortage of happy hours (some are advertised as lasting all day, making the term a bit irrelevant) and travelers can find a welcoming watering hole every few feet. Be sure to stop by the Foreign Correspondents Club while you’re in the area; it will give you a prime riverfront view and a nice cocktail. The Street 104 area is lined with small pubs like The Cavern and Pickled Parrot, as well as lounge bars like Rose Bar and Night Owl. For a more relaxed expat crowd, head to places like Equinox and Elsewhere for live music, cocktails and even a swimming pool. Another alternative is to rent a riverboat cruise at sunset and create your own nightlife.
On August 22, 2012Lindsay Muscato answered the question:If you only have one day in Phnom Penh, start it with breakfast at any of the fabulous Brown café locations (good food, excellent drinks, lots of locals). Then stroll to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda to soak in some history. Walk along the river; stop at Friends Restaurant for lunch, then take a tuk tuk (auto rickshaw) to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to learn about an important but dark chapter in Cambodia’s past. After, go to the Russian Market for souvenir shopping, and then try dinner in Khmer Surin’s garden-like atmosphere (the top floor is best). Afterwards, stop by the Foreign Correspondents Club for sangria on the roof and, if you’re lucky, some live music. Still awake? Equinox near Independence Monument usually has music and drinks until the wee hours.
On August 22, 2012Lindsay Muscato answered the question:When you go shopping in Phnom Penh, you must hit up the city’s many markets. The markets bustle with a hodge-podge of vendors and stalls, selling everything from knickknacks to nails to notebooks. For tourists, the Russian Market is a safe bet — and the perfect place to go for a souvenir (it has everything from scarves to elephant statues). While there, be sure to try the Khmer-style iced coffee in the food area. A vintage shop near the food stalls stocks rare posters and merchandise from Cambodia’s 1960s heyday.
Shoppers looking for a more boutique experience will love Street 240, which is lined with fashionable outlets. Bliss Spa is a popular spot for fabrics and beddings; Friends @ 240 is a clothing shop that supports a major Cambodian charity dedicated to helping street children and also offers made-to-order clothes; KeoK’jay is a must-go for clothes designed by an American fashion designer but hand-sewn by women who are HIV positive.
On August 22, 2012Lindsay Muscato answered the question:Phnom Penh is a lively and colorful city that is sure to capture the attention of your kids. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s best things to do with kids in Phnom Penh:
1. Riverfront area. There’s a bustling riverfront area near the Foreign Correspondents Club, where kids can try out public exercise equipment, dance to the DJs conducting synchronized dance classes and watch the boats come and go.
2. Independence Square. Near Independence Monument, the large Independence Square is a great place to buy balloons, kites or small toys. It’s also where kids can watch dancers, badminton players and maybe even join in a game of catch with some locals.
3. Koh Pich (“Diamond Island”). Head to this island, where kids will love the candy-colored amusement park, games and food.
4. Sorya Shopping Center. This modern mall has all the stores you could ever need, but kids will want to check out the rollerblading rink on the top floor. It’s often packed with Cambodian teens doing tricks off the ramps; not for the faint of heart, but a treat to watch.
5. Ice cream shops. Get a welcome respite from the heat inside Phnom Penh’s ice cream shops. Check out the Blue Pumpkin on the riverfront, where an eye-popping array of flavors are served on trays while you lounge on comfortable bed-like benches.
On August 22, 2012Lindsay Muscato answered the question:Phnom Penh is a unique city topped off with unique things to see and do (monkeys included). Here are things that Forbes Travel Guide recommends:
1. Royal Palace, Phnom Penh. The palace offers stunning architecture and a quick introduction to Cambodian history and culture. While the king’s living area is off-limits, you’ll be able to stroll through the Silver Pagoda compound as well as the Throne Hall and Chan Chhaya Pavilion.
2. Street 240. Off the main tourist track, shoppers will love Street 240, where they can check out the little shops filled with unique clothing, gifts and housewares.
3. Wat Phnom. A trip to this temple on a hill makes for a peaceful break from the city streets. Walk around the surrounding park or light incense and meditate with other visitors. Just don’t feed the monkeys (it’s prohibited). One dollar allows entry to the top of the temple.
4. The Foreign Correspondents Club. Set in a welcoming French colonial-style building, Phnom Penh’s Foreign Correspondents Club is a great spot for a cold beer while watching the activity in the quay below. Plus, there is rollicking live music on the weekends and a rotating series of events like salsa dancing classes.
5. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This spot is crucial to understanding the larger context and tragic history of Phnom Penh. Spend an extra $6 to hire a guide and hear the full story of how today’s Cambodia has emerged from one of the world’s most horrific human experiences.