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Two girlfriends and I are going to Cambodia next month. We arrive at the Phnom Penh airport at around midnight and plan to stay in the city for just a day or two before heading to Siem Reap and then the beaches. We've heard that the Riverfront area of Phnom Penh is the place to go. Is this true, and do you have a hotel recommendation for young ladies on a budget?

Posted on Dec 06, 2010

14 Answers

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I was there for about a month on business. The BEST restaurant I ate at was "Friends Restaurant"  House 215, Street 13,, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The food and service were outstanding! Even more outstanding is their mission - helping former street kids learn the restaurant trade from training to be a chef to managing a staff. You'll have GREAT food and make a difference at the same time.

Shopping: Russian Market - tons of stalls. Take your best bargaining/haggling skills. Everything is negotiable. Lots of beautiful fabrics and clothing, art work, dvds. If they don't have it... it ain't worth shopping for!

History: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It's very tough and emotional, but worth knowing more about this country's very recent history.


Have a great time! It's a beautiful country with gracious, friendly people.

    Posted Dec 07, 2010

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    great advice.  thanks, dawn!

    Posted on Dec 16, 2010

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    Hi, Ellen.

    Since a bunch of people have already answered your question about Phnom Penh, I'll go straight to Siem Reap.  In Siem Reap, stay at the Golden Temple Villa guest house.  It's advertised as a hostel, but it's nicer than most hotels I've ever stayed at.  Some friends and I initially stayed at a place marked "Highly Recommended" in the Lonely Planet guidebook, and it was horrible.  Then we happened upon the Golden Temple, and for the same price, it was about ten thousand times better. 




    Posted Dec 12, 2010

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    I do.  Contact Keo Dara :  s_starhotel@yahoo.com

    He will pick you up at the airport  and take you to his hotel. Great family hotel..

    Tell him that Norm Larsen recommended him. I send him a Christmas card every year.

    Star Hotel

    #26, Street 172 Sankat Chey Chumnas, Khan Daun PenhPhnom Penh,Cambodia

    Posted Dec 06, 2010

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    It is a good place to go, plenty of good restaurants and shopping in that area in addition to a great place to people watch.

    Posted Dec 06, 2010

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    Don't have a hotel recommendation (I stayed with friends while I was there).  but my favorite restaurant was Romdeng -- done by the same people that did :"Friends", but focussing on Cambodian food.  Have fun!


    Posted Dec 08, 2010

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    And I CAN recommend River Village Manor in Siem Reap -- off the beaten path, but still accessible. Be sure to ask for Mr Than as a tuk-tuk driver!

    Posted on Dec 08, 2010

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    I liked the river front and yeah, there are some cheaper places that are cool. Consult the lonely planet is my advice.

    Also - word of warning. I had a friend get a camera stolen in P. P. in broad daylight and it can be a bit rough in parts. I would advise putting your money in your pocket and not carrying a purse after dark.

    Loved cambodia though! have a great time!

    Posted Dec 09, 2010

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    Hi Ellen,

    Cambodia is such a fantastic country to visit!! We stayed in two hotels in Phnom Penh - Renakse Hotel when we arrived...very nice and comfortable, atmospheric, quiet, close to water front, across street from Royal Palace,nice people, mid-range. Other hotel is River Star...comfortable, nice people, less $$.

    Be sure to see the Royal Palace, the National Museum, Tuol Sleng Museum.

    Another recommended place to both  stay and eat is the Boddhi Tree across street from TS Museum. Lovely, relaxed, less$$ than Renakse Hotel, located in city center, not on river front.

    Have fun!!

    Posted Dec 10, 2010

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    thanks for the great tops, connie!

    Posted on Dec 16, 2010

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    I stayed at the Indochine II just a short walk from the river. It was clean, comfortable and affordable. http://www.indochine2hotel.com/location.html

    Posted Dec 13, 2010

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    looks very nice!  thanks, dan!

    Posted on Dec 16, 2010

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    Enjoy -- Cambodia is a rough nation, but wholly worthwhile for a visit. I would second a vote for both Friends and Romdeng restaurants, which are run by a non-profit group that educates and trains street youth. They are both supremely tasty, and the organization is worth supporting. 

    Posted on Dec 17, 2010

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    Indochine I and II both very nice safe and reasonable. Indochine I a little less fancy but right on the river.

    Posted on Oct 27, 2011

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    I can't remember the name of the place I stayed, but check out the "Apocalypse Now" bar. Visiting the Killing Fields and the school where the Khmer Rouge executed was depressing, but VERY interesting.

    Posted Dec 13, 2010

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    I stayed at Raffles, which is definitly not on the budget list.  Would recommend a drink at the Foreign Correspondents Club by the river.  Great history there and fun place to meet fellow travellers.  Before you go, check out some of the Cambodian boogie woogie music of the 1960's like Pan Ron and Sinn Sisamouth.  It will definitly give you a vibe of the pre- Khmer Rouge perion when Phnom Penh was a hip place to go.

    Posted Dec 14, 2010

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    Hey there, I absolutly jump on the Friends bandwagon and Boddhi tree...you can usually find great deals a few streets back from river front as well if your willing to walk a little further...be smart and aware at night- carry one purse between all of you for the extras and keep valuables tucked....usually not a huge deal but one "throw away" money belt with just a few bucks in it can give you all the opportunity to toss very little on the ground and walk away. In siem reap a great place is bou savy.. It's off the main drag but they give free tuk tuk to pub street and at most it will cost 2.00 to get home if it's after 9pm. They are super friendly- Great, seriously great breakfast included and very helpful folks! Great tuk tuks abound but Rithy at bou savvy is exceptional and Mr. Bean in town will give you fantastic prices on touring the wats. Have fun...such a wonderful place...in addition if you have the opportunity swing by Peace of Angkor Tours, even if you don't elect to tour with them Warren is a resource worth having!!!

    Posted Dec 18, 2010

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    Seems like there are already many guest house recommendations but TatToo is another good one for $7/night.  You should look into the others though .  As for beaches, if you like seafood/shellfood go to the crab market and see the ruins of villas destroyed by the Khmer Rouge in the beach town of Kep. 

    Posted Dec 20, 2010

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    Have stayed at the Pavilion (boutique hotel) near downtown. Rates range from $40-$90USD and believe it includes breakfast and wifi. It is a lovely property with nice pool and interesting history. http://www.thepavilion.asia/homeeng.htm Lots of action at the FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club) along the river.

    Have a great trip!

    Posted Dec 20, 2010

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    I think the area near the river is a great option. Not necessarily ON the river, but nearby, there are tons of cheap guesthouses. I was pretty annoyed by the place we stayed, so wouldn't recommend it. Check out the Lazy Gecko; lots of the Peace Corps volunteers stay there so it's definitely budget!
    We also liked Friends restaurant, but a better one with similar mission/operation in Sihanoukville was Sandan. More peaceful atmosphere & better food.

    Posted Jun 09, 2013

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    Just thought I'd add, if you're on a budget consider hitting some of the less touristy towns, like Kampot. More local vibe, but enough expats around, cheaper, more authentic.

    Posted on Jun 09, 2013

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