Guide to Phnom Penh: The most stylish places to eat & explore

Tourists in Phnom Penh often (quite rightly) head straight to the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum as first stops in this one-time Pearl of Asia, but as our guide to Phnom Penh shows, once you've immersed yourself in the country's poignant past, and visited the Royal Palace, you should explore the cool and contemporary side of Cambodia's up and coming capital city.

The Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia © Arnaud-Victor Monteux - Wikimedia Commons
The Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia © Arnaud-Victor Monteux - Wikimedia Commons

You also have more choice than ever when it comes to getting to Phnom Penh, thanks to the launch of a new daily route with Emirates. Fly from various UK airports from July 2017 to the Cambodian capital in a little over 17 hours including one stop - and remember, you will only find the best fares to put this stylish guide to Phnom Penh to the test when you book online.

1. Eat

Phnom Penh's dining scene is ever evolving and surprisingly exciting - if you know where to look. Many of the city's coolest cafés and latest dining options are located in unassuming streets and quiet corners.

Tree restaurants

Tree, which stands for Training Restaurants for Employment and Entrepreneurship, is a Cambodian charity, which runs two excellent Phnom Penh eateries: Romdeng and Friends.

The fashionable and sophisticated Romdeng, on one of Phnom Penh's atmospheric backstreets, also happens to be one of the best places in town to indulge in some of Cambodia's signature insect-eating - including deep fried tarantulas.

Feeling peckish? © Jai Yehia - www.savoirthere.com
Feeling peckish? © Jai Yehia - www.savoirthere.com

The squeamish are catered for too, and can choose from a full menu of more standard seafood and meat dishes such as beautifully prepared king prawns washed down with perfectly blended jackfruit and lime daiquiris, followed up with one of their tasty $5 desserts. Any money saved will be dispatched swiftly in the on-site shop, profits from which go directly to the charity.

Interior of Romdeng Restaurant, Phnom Penh, Cambodia © kazu - Yahoo! Japan
Interior of Romdeng Restaurant, Phnom Penh, Cambodia © kazu - Yahoo! Japan

The charity, which specialises in socially responsible cuisine, now has branches in neighbouring Laos and Thailand too. The friendly and welcoming staff all come from difficult backgrounds, and you can enjoy an alfresco evening of genuinely superior food without feeling you're forgetting Cambodia's more serious side.

2. Explore

Street 240

Just a hop, skip, and a short walk from the Royal Palace, is Street 240, the perennial chi-chi place to hang out in Phnom Penh, with a selection of make-you-feel-at-home shops and cafés perfect for travellers and expats, which are the most stylish spots in the city.

Bliss Spa

For post-flight pampering try Bliss Spa for massages and manicures which leave you floating back out into the city streets.

The Chocolate Shop on Street 240, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - photo coutesy of www.theshop-cambodia.com
The Chocolate Shop on Street 240, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - photo coutesy of www.theshop-cambodia.com

The Shop

Feeling peckish? Pop into legendary Phnom Penh bakery The Shop. This chocolatier and purveyor of croissants, quiches and sandwiches will satisfy your craving for a European style lunch experience in a relaxed setting within a colonial style villa, complete with relaxing outdoor patio.

The 240 concept store

The 240 is a lifestyle concept store specialising in contemporary and stylish handmade arts and crafts - everything from jewellery and clothing to furniture and home decor is carefully selected and beautifully displayed making it a delightful place to spend some time. The all day-café is open from breakfast until 8pm, making it a reliable spot to get out your guide to Phnom Penh and plan your next move in the city.

Entrance to the 240 concept store, Phnom Penh - photo courtesy of The 240 by MAADS
Entrance to the 240 concept store, Phnom Penh - photo courtesy of The 240 by MAADS

Street 240 and a half

This quaintly-named alley just off Street 240 is home to more stylish finds such as Bar.Sito, a cool urban cocktail lounge which was one of the first to lead the explosion of cocktail bars in Phnom Penh, and has been recently refurbished for a speakeasy feel and a new menu of tipples. The alley is also home to longstanding veggie and vegan favourite, ARTillery Café and a collection of bars, restaurants and hip boutiques.

3. Stay - Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel

Overlooking the most stunning site in the city, the Royal Palace, this beautifully designed hotel has more going for it than its fabulous location; although being in the centre of town near the river and art district with its many boutiques means there are always plenty of tuk-tuks to take you anywhere, and you can walk to many of the city's best spots.

Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel, Phnom Penh © Michael Coghlan - Flickr Creative Commons
Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel, Phnom Penh © Michael Coghlan - Flickr Creative Commons

Like many organisations in Cambodia the company behind the Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel has an active interest in environmental and social responsibility; staff at all four of the group's stylish Phnom Penh properties come from the hotel's in-house vocational training programme, and the hotel is heavily involved in local charity work.

Whether you splash out on one of the Royal Garden Suites, which have decadent outdoor bathtubs and jacuzzis, or go for a spacious and comfy yet chic and minimalist standard room, this makes a great base from which to get out your guide to Phnom Penh and start exploring the stylish side of the city.

Colonial villa in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Colonial villa in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

You can find your very own slice of perfect Phnom Penh by booking online with Emirates. Fly from Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, London Gatwick or London Heathrow via Dubai to Cambodia for less than you might expect. Remember to see what the weather in Phnom Penh is like, and when we think is the best time to go for excellent sunny conditions, ideal for exploring any city.

Jaillan Yehia

Jaillan Yehia
Article updated on Friday 19th May 2017 in: Asia City Food & drink

Related posts

Back to Blog Top ^