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A Guide to Phnom Penh
Know Before You Go
- Exchange your New Zealand Dollars for US Dollars. You'll need USD to pay for your visa on arrival as well as meals, transport, accommodation and tours.
- Don't buy books, bracelets and other trinkets from young children. Families often keep their children out of school by forcing them to sell souvenirs to tourists. By not getting an education, it prevents the cycle of poverty from being broken and these kids getting decent jobs in the future.
- Negotiate the price of your trip before getting into a tuk-tuk. A good rule of thumb is to take the first amount you're given, half it and haggle to an agreeable price from there,
- Save money by booking a hotel in the city centre. The most expensive hotels are located next to the river.
- Book tours and day trips as a group. If you're travelling solo, try to find other people interested in the same thing and pay for the trip together to get a more favourable rate.
Getting Around Phnom Penh
The cheapest way to get around Phnom Penh, Cambodia is with a tuk-tuk ride. You can hire a driver to take you to and from the Killing Fields for USD 15, and a trip around town won't be more than USD 2-5.
Another option is to take a moto taxi. Prices within the city are usually round AUSD 0.50, but you'll need a helmet if you want to avoid getting a fine by the police.
Buses are a new edition to Phnom Penh's public transport system. Three routes run along the city and tickets cost around USD 0.35. You can also take a bus to the city's biggest attractions if you don't want to book a group tour.
If you want more freedom getting around, you can rent a bicycle. Daily rates start from USD 1 to 3, or you can buy your own bike for USD 30.
Travellers can also hire a car with a driver for as little as USD 32 per day. It's an excellent option if you don't want to deal with the city's traffic jams, but prefer having your own set of wheels.
When is The Best Time to Visit Phnom Penh?
The best time to visit Phnom Penh is between November and January. The rainy season has just ended, and temperatures are cool enough to explore the city on foot. If you're planning a trip during this period, book your flights and accommodation in advance to beat the price hikes.
If you can handle daily highs of 40°C, visit Phnom Penh from February to May. The heat keeps the crowds away, and you'll have a better chance finding discounts on flights and accommodation. Make sure you stay hydrated and avoid exploring during the hottest time of the day.
May to October is the city's monsoon season. While the afternoon showers are short, the less than ideal weather makes it an unpopular time to visit Cambodia. If you're travelling on a budget, you'll find hotel rates and tour packages at their lowest.
Airports in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh International Airport
Phnom Penh International Airport is the largest in Cambodia. It's a hub for regional airlines Cambodia Angkor Air and Cambodia Bayon Airlines as well as Bassaka Air and JC International Airlines.
Getting To and From Phnom Penh International Airport
The cheapest way to get from Phnom Penh Airport to the city is with the local bus. Tickets cost USD 0.37, and the buses depart every 15-minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
If you want to get to your hotel room as fast as possible, take a taxi from the airport. You'll find a fleet of cabs outside of the arrivals terminal, and a ride should cost between USD 12 to 18.
Grab, a ride-sharing service also operates from the airport. Download the app, and you'll be able to get a taxi or moto taxi ride for as little as USD 3 to 10.
If you want to take a tuk-tuk to your hotel, walk outside of the airport and flag a driver down from the street. You'll get a more favourable rate and should be able to get into town for USD 6 to 7.