Phnom Penh day trips

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Phnom Penh day trips

While a weekend in Phnom Penh provides first-timers with a wonderful taste of the Cambodia’s capital city, few days is even better. If you want to do some terrific Phnom Penh day trips, let’s take some extra time! There are so many excursions around the Cambodia’s capital that travelers can do by bicycle, car and tuk tuk. You can read more: Travel Indochina Cambodia

Top Phnom Penh day trips

Choeung Ek Killing Fields

Choeung Ek Killing Fields

Choeung Ek Killing Fields- source: internet

It is generally to the Choeung Ek Killing Fields, 15kms south of the city if you have time for only one excursion in Phnom Penh. In fact, some travelers do this excursion in as little as a few hours there and back, others hire a tuk tuk for the day ($10-15) to combine it with a few other city sights and  of course, a visit to Tuol Sleng Museum, the site of Security Prison 21 or S21. Even though being a sobering experience, a visit to Choeung Ek is essential to understand the late 20th century history of Cambodia and appreciate the resilience of the Cambodians.

Silk Island


Peaceful life on Silk Island

Peaceful life on Silk Island- source: internet

Koh Dach or Silk Island, on the Mekong River, only 6km from Phnom Penh’s center, is one of the most enjoyable day trips in Phnom Penh yet not all travelers allow the time to do it. While it makes for an interesting and laidback half-day trip, if you want to laze on the beach for a while, it is possible to take a full day, however, this is only available in dry season. Much of the islands are underwater during monsoon, however, you still can come to visit.

Traveling by bicycle, either independently or on a tour is the best way to experience the island although you can take a tuk tuk from Phnom Penh (around $10). If you do not want to bask on the beach, it is highly recommended to get up early to beat the heat and to capture the most gorgeous light.

The sleepy village vibe, lack of development and laidback way of life is the biggest appeal of the island, which is actually two adjoining islands connected by a bridge. Phnom Penh feels very far away. Cycling around and you will feel as if you are peddling around the outskirts of Siem Reap or Battambang. Cambodia travel tours

A visit to Silk Island

A visit to Silk Island- source: internet

With just a handful of ramshackle shops, a few rustic restaurants scattered about the islands, a small vegetable and fruit market, a school and a few pagodas, there is very little infrastructure. All the houses there are typical of those you can find in rural Cambodia – even though still being found in Phnom Penh, traditional two storey teak houses on stilts are fast disappearing or are obscured behind twenty-first-century signage and construction.

Many have herb and vegetable gardens in their front yard and, as the name of this island suggests, silk workshops on their homes’ ground level. Don’t be shy about going to say “sousdai” (means hello) and watching these artisans at their craft if you hear the clackety clack of a wooden loom and see the smiling face of a silk weaver at work. Allow an hour to reach this island and go back and at least a few hours of leisurely cycling around this island.



Udong- source: internet

Although Cambodians can easily stretch it out to a day, lingering over a long lunch, playing cards with friends, and snoozing afterwards in the purpose built bamboo huts, it can take you as little as a few hours – a one-hour drive each way by taxi, longer by tuk tuk for a trip to Udong (also spelt Oudong), around 44kms from Phnom Penh.

Being the site of both the crowning and burial of a number of Cambodian kings, Udong, which means the Victorious, is a rather ironic title – it was Cambodia’s capital between 1618 and 1866, a period of decline – yet remains a unique, spiritual place for Cambodians.

Buddhist Monks Praying at Sunset in Oudong, Cambodia

Buddhist Monks Praying at Sunset in Oudong, Cambodia- source: internet

On Phnom Udong or Mount Udong, which is dotted with small temples and stupas containing the ashes of several kings are located the main sights.  There are also 3 smaller viharas holding seated Buddha statues and Vihear Preah Ath Roes, a larger one, dedicated by King Sisowath in 1911, which has been reconstructed after being blown up by the Khmer Rouge. At the bottom of the hill is a memorial to Khmer Rouge victims containing bones, and a pavilion with murals depicting atrocities by Pol Pot’s regime located not far from there.

For locals, it’s about feasting on the array of street food sold from the many stalls at the base that line the road after paying respects on top of the mountain. For international travelers, a trip to Udong is primarily about taking in the impressive panoramic views of the pancake-flat plains surrounding the hill.

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