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Tuol Sleng museum, a former school converted into a prison by the Khmer Rouge, is an essential stop—off. A short ride outside of town lie the Killing Fields, where thousands of Cambodians were brutalised during the s.
The stories of those who endured these horrifying conditions are difficult to hear, but as at Tuol Sleng, help explain why modern Phnom Penh is so welcoming to outsiders, with locals desperate to tell their own tales of suffering.
The locals love to haggle, so be sure to brush up on your bartering skills beforehand. If the bustle of the city gets too much, the ferry ride across the Mekong to Kandal Province takes just 20 minutes. Hire a bike and head into the rice paddies and villages for a much—needed breather from all that traffic. Street food is abundant in Phnom Penh.
Breakfast tends to be bowls of steaming rice with pork, called bai sak chrouk. Cambodians also love sweet coffee, which can be easily found on the streets around the riverfront. The riverside teems with stalls all day and is the best place to find stir—fried noodles. For something a touch fancier, Romdeng does an excellent fish amok, a local curry.