On The Ground

Insider tips for travellers to Phnom Penh

Insider tips from passionate travellers – Cathay Pacific’s own people

Jensen Stafford, Phnom Penh

Jansen Stafford

Country manager, Spain, Madrid

The photographer

There is only one essential item to pack in your luggage for a trip to Phnom Penh: your camera. Whether you’re exploring the backstreets of Riverside in a tuk-tuk, cycling the banks of the Mekong or walking through a warren of streets in the city centre, Phnom Penh is the ideal landscape to take that shot of a lifetime.

My favourite thing to do in Phnom Penh is to sit at the Cadillac Bar & Grill, screw on my telephoto lens and see what comes my way – all while enjoying an ice-cold beer for just US$1 (HK$7.8). Or head up to the second floor of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club for another great vantage point. If you’re lucky, you may even snap the rarely seen seven passengers riding on a motorbike.

Josh Williams, Phnom Penh

Josh Williams

Country manager, Cambodia, Phnom Penh

The explorer

After its infamous decline during the Khmer Rouge era and the troubled aftermath, Phnom Penh is now resurgent. The city derives its considerable charm from coupling this increasingly cosmopolitan impetus with the tangible character of its past.

Amble along sleepy backstreets to find families clustered around their local café TV; fishermen drooped over their rods on Riverside; musical carts selling colourful ice cream; and children outside glinting pagodas, as time drifts gently by…

Find bargain souvenirs in the humming labyrinth of the Russian Market; or dip into crumbling colonial facades on Street 240 for a boutique shopping experience. When hunger strikes, try mouthwatering Khmer (Malis) or French (Armand’s) cuisine before rooftop sundowners at Le Moon or covert G&Ts at Bar.sito speakeasy.

Martin Murray, Phnom Penh

Martin Murray

Finance director, Hong Kong

The foodie

I visit Phnom Penh frequently to visit the Indochina Starfish Foundation, a charity working with disadvantaged children in Cambodia, of which I am a trustee. While I’m there, I also love to explore the food scene.

Mok Mony restaurant, on Street 294, is great – try the signature salted fish or the salt and pepper tofu. Friends, on Street 13, has an excellent menu that changes regularly. It’s a training restaurant, so everybody is really enthusiastic – the young adults being trained are all street kids. Taste of the Middle East, on Street 19, towards the Central Market, is fantastic value and run by an Iraqi family. Plus the Russian Market is always worth a visit, with lots of little places to eat and grab a coffee.

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Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
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