PhnomPenh Behind the faded Art Deco splendour of Phnom Penh is a welcoming city with a big heart, and some cultural and culinary surprises. Here are a few highlights. 48 Hours in

See: The Royal Palace. Bu i l t i n t h e 1860s, this is

a stunning complex of

buildings, wh i c h i s still home to the royal family. It’s closed from 11am to 2pm every day, so plan your time accordingly. The rivers. The huge stretch

of water alongside which Phnom Penh is built is where the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers converge. A great vantage point for watching the boats flow by is from the top floor of the FCC ( see under “Eat” ). Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. A visit to this site, a former high school that was used as the notorious S-21 security prison under the Khmer Rouge regime, is chilling but ultimately worthwhile. Wat Phnom. Phnom Penh’s only hill is topped by a lovely temple and offers great views over the city. Shop: There are several pretty boutiques in and around Street 240, in the expat-friendly enclave of Boeung Keng Kang. Central Market is an Art Deco gem filled with flowers, clothes, watches, and lots and lots of jewellery. Toul Tom Pong, or the Russian Market (named after the hordes of Eastern Bloc tourists who visited Phnom Penh in the 1980s), is great for handicrafts, fabrics and “antiques”.

Eat: F r i e n d s R e s t a u r a n t ( – expect gorgeous food, delicious daiquiris and smiling service at this must-visit restaurant set up to train and help build brighter futures for Phnom Penh’s street children.

garden courtyard, almost opposite Tuol Sleng Museum. For a meal of a different kind, walk up the stairs of the riverside FCC (Foreign Correspondents’ Club, – clichéd, but it has to be


Khmer Surin ( for excellent Khmer fare in a particularly atmospheric setting. Boddhi Tree Umma (, a pleasant restaurant with a shady

Stay: Raffles Hotel Le Royal is highly recommended not just for its luxury rooms but for its happy hour cocktails. There are plenty of mid-range (and cheaper) options in Phnom Penh. One excellent choice is The Kabiki ( Fly: Singapore Airlines and Jetstar both fly daily to Phnom Penh (2 hours). | Xuanlu Wang, Aleksandar Todorovic, kenphoto, AsiaTravel


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