Phnom Penh Activities
What to Do in Phnom Penh
As the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh has a lot to offer the tourist. Maybe your idea of an ideal day out is a visit to an amusement park - if so, you're in luck. Looking for culture? Then head down to Phnom Penh's Classical Apsara dance and Khmer Performing Arts association. Want to tee off? No problem: the city has two golf courses. Along with horse riding, cooking classes and more you're going to find that this is a busy city.
This is at the South Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh and it is packed with colourful ways to have fun, including a roller coaster, a roller skating area with a big wavy floor section and lots of booths where punters try to burst balloons with darts.
It is, of course, nowhere near as extravagant as Disneyland, but this is a great place for people-watching, especially watching the locals enjoying life with friends and family – a reminder to outsiders that there is now much more to Cambodia than the grim history of the Killing Fields.
- Tel: +855 23 72 3949.
Artisans’ Association of Cambodia
Artisans’ Association of Cambodia (AAC) at 11b, Street 240, near the Independence Monument, works with more than 40 handicraft groups in Cambodia. The products are displayed and sold at the ACC showroom, with the income going to help unfortunate people such as landmine victims, HIV/Aids sufferers and homeless children. Products range from scarves, fashion accessories and jewelry to handmade decor items for the home.
- Tel: (+855) 23 213 904.
Classical Apsara Dance and Khmer Performing Arts
Phnom Penh is not as active as Siem Reap when it comes to Khmer performing arts. However, some of the performing arts schools in the city are open to the public during the day, allowing visitors the opportunity to observe dancers in training.
Among these, a must-see is the Sovanna Phum Art Association on 111 Street 360 (corner of Street 105). Started in 1994 by a group of students from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, the association has a theatre where traditional cultural shows are staged every Friday and Saturday night at 7.30 pm. These include shadow puppet theatre, classical Apsara dancing, and folk and mask dances. On sale at the gallery at the theatre are shadow puppets made from leather, musical instruments and more.
Another fine theatre to visit is the Chatomuk Theatre at Sisowath Quay.
- Opening Hours: from Monday to Thursday 08:00 to 18:00, and on Friday and Saturday from 08:00 to 21:00.
- Tel: Classical Apsara Dance and Khmer Performing Arts: +855 (0) 23 987 564, Chatomuk Theatre at Sisowath Quay: +855 23 725 119
Cooking School in Phnom Penh
Khmer culinary history goes back a long way. In more recent times, the cuisine of Cambodia has been influenced by nearby countries as well as by the French.
But this is only fair return – go back 1,000 years to when the Khmer Empire ruled over most of Southeast Asia and, some historians argue, the food in the subject countries was itself influenced by Khmer cuisine.
To get hands-on experience of cooking authentic Khmer dishes and to learn more about the ingredients from local experts.
- Address: Cambodia Cooking Class on 67, Street 240
- Tel: +855 (0) 12 524 801.
Golf in Phnom Penh
Golf is relatively new in Cambodia and the number of golf courses is limited. However, there is considerable interest being shown by overseas investors.
The first club to open in Cambodia, in 1996, was the 18-hole course at the Cambodia Golf & Country Club. On the outskirts of Phnom Penh, about 33km west of the city centre, it is set among 120 acres, and also has a clubhouse, swimming pools, tennis courts, convention facilities and villas.
Another golf course near Phnom Penh is the Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club. To get there, take Route 4 towards Sihanoukville and keep an eye out for a big sign for the club about 14 kilometres from the city.
- Tel: Cambodia Golf & Country Club: +855 (0) 23 363 666, Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club: +855 (0) 23 366 689
The Cambodian Equestrian Center, which opened in 2003, is in the Northbridge International School (Airport road; South-East gate). An international-standard riding school and club, it offers riding and riding lessons for adults and children of all abilities and all ages from five years' old up. The centre also stages showjumping events, exhibitions and a riding camp for kids.
- Tel: +855 (0) 12 231 755.
Kambol F1 Go-Karts
This 900-metre Formula 1-style circuit is off Highway 4 in Kambol Village, Kandal. Twists, turns, a small hill and a 150-metre straightaway make it fun for beginners but still pose a challenge for experienced karters.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 to 18:00
- Tel: +855 (0) 12 804 620.
There are now several big-screen cinemas in town, but they show films only in the Khmer language. Alternatively, try the French Cultural Center Cinema on 218, Keo Chea Street (Street 184). This shows French films, most of them with English subtitles. For schedules, call Tel: +855 (0) 12 905 128.
Still rare, but growing in frequency, are live concerts by international artists.