This detailed neighbourhood guide and curated list of property recommendations will help you decide exactly where to stay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Having lived in Phnom Penh for 12 months and travelled back multiple times, I have a pretty good understanding of how the city works. I’ve also learned (sometimes the hard way!) where are the best areas to stay – and where should be avoided.
Most Phnom Penh accommodation guides only consider the popular Riverside area, by far the most touristy (and honestly my least favourite) part of the city. I’ve widened the net much further to show you the best local neighbourhoods and expat areas where you can find awesome boutique hotels and unique accommodations.
If you’re planning to visit Angkor Wat, make sure you check out my Siem Reap accommodation guide while you’re here.
In This Post
- Where to stay in Phnom Penh: Area guide
- Cambodia essentials
- How (and when) to book accommodation in Phnom Penh
- Tips for choosing the perfect Phnom Penh hotel
- Where to stay in Phnom Penh for every budget
- How to get to your accommodation when you first arrive
- 5 things to pack for Phnom Penh
- Phnom Penh must-dos
- More Cambodia travel resources
Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Wander-Lush is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Learn more.
Where to stay in Phnom Penh: Area guide
Before you start looking at specific properties, I highly recommend deciding which part of Phnom Penh you’d like to stay in. The city is deceptively big, and each neighbourhood offers something for different tastes and budgets.
It helps to have an idea of what you want to do in Phnom Penh – is the purpose of your visit to tick off the tourist staples, or do you prefer cafe hopping and boutique shopping? It’s very easy to get around Phnom Penh using PassApp. But if you end up staying at the opposite end of town to where you want to spend your days, you could end up spending a lot of your precious holiday time stuck in traffic!
In this section, I break down the pros and cons of the five most popular areas.
Planning a trip to Cambodia? Here are some of the resources and tools I personally use to organise my travel plans in the Kingdom.
– Find affordable flights to Cambodia on Kiwi.com, a booking site that mixes and matches airlines to find the best route (there’s a money back guarantee if you miss a connection).
– Use iVisa to check if you need a tourist visa for Cambodia and apply for an expedited visa online.
– Pre-book your hotel transfer from Phnom Penh Airport or Siem Reap Airport.
– Find the best hotel deals in Cambodia on Agoda, book a Cambodia hostel, or find a unique Airbnb (sign up here and get $55 AUD off your first Airbnb booking).
– Buy your Cambodia bus tickets online in advance through 12GoAsia or organise a private car and driver through BookMeBus.
– Download Pass App to book tuk-tuks and taxis on the go.
– Find the best cooking classes and foodie experiences in Cambodia.
– Find the best city tours and day excursions in Cambodia.
– Try an alternative tour or DIY experience with social enterprise Backstreet Academy.
– Pick up a copy of the latest Lonely Planet guidebook for Cambodia.
Phnom Penh’s Riverside is officially part of Khan Doun Penh, a large district that stretches along the Tonle Sap from the Japanese Bridge all the way to Independence Monument.
‘Riverside’ usually refers to the 1.5km portion of waterfront between the Night Market and the Royal Palace. As well as Sisowath Quay (the main road), it also encompasses five or six city blocks back from the river.
- River views
- Sky bars along Sisowath Quay
- Walking distance to most of the city’s top attractions
- Riverside Park is notorious for pickpockets and touts
- The back streets are extremely seedy – proliferation of ‘girly bars’, which I personally can’t stand
- It’s the most expensive part of the city for accommodation, food and drinks
- Tourist-heavy; no local character
- Noise pollution from hostels and bars
Nearby points of interest: The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda; the National Museum; Wat Phnom; Central Market; Riverside Park promenade; Mekong boat cruises; the Night Market.
Good for: First-time visitors who want to be close to the action.
Nestled inside Khan Doun Penh, Street 240 is it’s own little microcosm. The street runs east-west between Independence Monument and Wat Botum Park, along the southern wall of the Royal Palace. It’s one of my favourite places to hang out in Phnom Penh.
- Excellent cafes and restaurants
- Best shopping precinct in the city
- Laneway culture and street art
- Lots of boutique hotels to choose from
- Still walking distance from many top attractions, including the Royal Palace
- Fewer local/street food options
- Eateries are tailored to expats and prices can be high
Nearby points of interest: Street 240 and Laneway 240 (cafes and boutiques); Wat Botum Park; the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda; Independence Monument.
Good for: Couples or singles interested in up-scale dining and shopping.
BKK 1 (Sangkat Boeung Keng Kang 1) refers to the area southwest of Independence Monument. BKK 1 is part of Khan Chamkar Mon district, which takes in the entire southern portion of the city. Popular among UN staff and other well-to-do expats, this is by far the most gentrified part of the city.
- Very safe on account of the demographics and proximity to embassies
- Never-ending supply of specialty coffee shops and laptop-friendly cafes
- Excellent restaurants, including lots of vegetarian and vegan options
- Laneway bars and nightlife on nearby Bassac Lane
- Green space and leafy streets
- Plenty of yoga studios, hair salons, and other services
- Expat-heavy; feels gentrified
- Because of the demographics, prices are high
- Again, fewer local and street food options
- No local market within close proximity
- Further to travel to attractions around Riverside
Nearby points of interest: Wat Langka; Independence Monument; Bassac Lane; Wat Thann.
Good for: Families who need space to stretch out by a resort-style pool or anyone who loves boutique hotels with character.
Tuol Tompoung (Russian Market)
Also part of Khan Chamkar Mon, Tuol Tompoung (AKA Russian Market) sits east of Monivong Boulevard and south of Mao Tse Toung. (A friend of ours calls it SOMAO, our very own SOHO.)
This is my old neighbourhood, and by far my favourite place to spend time in Phnom Penh. Whenever I go back, I stay here. Russian Market offers a near-perfect blend of local vibes and tourist/expat conveniences. It’s an area on the up and up – I hope it doesn’t change too much in the months and years to come.
- Charming local vibe – great place to get lost
- Plentiful supply of street food and local restaurants
- Lively local market
- Great cafes, bars, and international restaurants
- Cute gift shops and fair trade boutiques
- Far from the tourist sights near Riverside (minimum 20 minute tuk tuk ride)
- Heavy traffic in the evenings, especially around the market
Nearby points of interest: Russian Market; Wat Tuol Tompoung; Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
Good for: Solo travellers & digital nomads.
BKK 2 & 3
BKK 2 and BKK 3 are less well-defined. Generally they are grouped together to refer to the area east of Monivong Boulevard and north of Mao Tse Toung.
- Local family vibe
- Lots of markets and street food options
- Fewer accommodation choices
- Not many tourist attractions in close proximity
- Less residential and more commercial; not as pleasant to walk around
- Far from the tourist sights near Riverside (minimum 15 minute tuk tuk ride)
Nearby points of interest: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum; Russian Market; Olympic Market and Stadium; Wat Moha Montrei.
Good for: Budget and long-term travellers.
How (and when) to book accommodation in Phnom Penh
How far in advance should you book your Phnom Penh hotel? That depends on the time of year you’re travelling. If your visit is during peak period (November to January), I would recommend booking your accommodation 4-8 weeks out to secure the best price possible. If you’re travelling in low or shoulder season, you can get away with booking a few weeks (or even days) in advance.
‘Abundance mentality’ is key in Phnom Penh. There are so many properties to choose from, it will always be possible to show up and find a room on the spot.
Ninety-nine percent of hotels and guesthouses in Phnom Penh accept credit card as well as cash (USD or Cambodian riel). A few may ask for a small safety deposit ($10-$30) at check in, so it’s a good idea to have some cash on you when you first arrive. Hotels are required to register all foreign tourists, so you’ll be asked for your passport at check in.
Booking with Agoda
Agoda is by far my favourite online booking service for accommodation in Southeast Asia. I prefer it to Booking.com for a few reasons. Firstly, I find the interface and app much easier to use. Pre-payment in full is the norm, which comes in really handy in Cambodia where smaller hotels often don’t accept cards, and ATM fees for withdrawing cash are high.
Agoda always has specials on – I’ve been able to find some outstanding deals using the app. If you sign up for an account, you accrue points that you can use to get a discount off future reservations.
Agoda currently has more than 1,000 Phnom Penh listings. Browse them all here, or read on for my specific recommendations.
Using Airbnb in Phnom Penh
Airbnb is legal in Cambodia, but it’s not as popular as in neighbouring Vietnam or Thailand. If you want to stay in a local neighbourhood or you’re planning a long-stay (say five days or more), it can be a good way to go. It’s also cost-effective compared to hotels and resorts.
I used Airbnb on my most recent trip to Phnom Penh. The main thing to look out for when you’re staying in a residential apartment is security. Check the photos to see if there’s bars on the windows and a solid lock on the door.
I’ve included a handful of stand-out Airbnbs on this list. In the near future, I’ll be publishing a dedicated post about the best Phnom Penh Airbnbs.
If you’re thinking about trying Airbnb, sign up here and you’ll recieve $55 AUD off your first booking.
Tips for choosing the perfect Phnom Penh hotel
- Is it secure? This is my number one concern when deciding where to stay in Phnom Penh. You can only do so much before you actually arrive, but I do recommend looking for a place that has security guards (most hotels do), and is in a safe area (close to embassies or apartment blocks when looking on Google Maps).
- Does it have a pool? Phnom Penh is hot! There are lots of resort-style pools you canuse for a small fee, but you might prefer to have one on your doorstep.
- Is it locally owned? Again, this can be really hard to guage before you actually get there. If supporting local businesses is important to you, do a bit of digging before you book. I’ve included a few locally owned hotels below.
- Is it close to a local market? Markets are the best place to find street food and budget eats. If there’s a market nearby, it’s a pretty good indication that the area will have an interesting local vibe.
- Is it close to an open sewer? Yes, Phnom Penh still has open sewers. Some are marked on Google Maps as a thin blue line running parallel to main streets. I used to live right above one (fondly dubbed ‘Shit Creek’) – it actually didn’t bother me that much, but if you don’t want to smell that first thing in the morning, avoid hotels around Street 105 and Street 396 (Tuol Tompoung and BKK 2).
Where to stay in Phnom Penh for every budget
This curated list of hotels, guesthouses, resorts and hostels is organised by neighbourhood. Although I have not personally stayed at each and every one of these properties, I have friends and family who have. To provide you with the best recommendations possible, I’ve elected to only list hotels that have a guest rating of ‘Excellent’ or better.
Within each neighbourhood, I’ve sorted properties by price: Luxe (>$120), luxe for less ($60-$120), mid-range ($30-$60), and budget ($5-$30).
All prices shown are in USD when booking through Agoda.
No buffet? Here’s where to find the best breakfasts and brunches in Phnom Penh.
Where to stay at Riverside
Raffles Le Royal
Doubles from $173 | See rates & availability
Nestled behind Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh’s premier luxury hotel is set inside a white-and-yellow French colonial building. My experience with Raffles only extends as far as the Elephant Bar (itself worth a visit, even if you’re not staying here). By all accounts, the suites are to die for. Sprawling tropical gardens, an outdoor cinema, restaurants and a massive pool round out the property.
Rosewood Phnom Penh
Doubles from $163 | See rates & availability
Luxury of a completely different brand, the Rosewood occupies the top 14 floors of Vattanac Capital Tower, the tallest building in Phnom Penh. It’s a brand new build; thoroughly modern but with thoughtful heritage details in the design and artworks. All rooms have magnificent city views – obviously. Come for the indoor pool set 188m up; stay for the ‘whisky library’.
Luxe for less
The Balé Phnom Penh
Suites from $73 | See rates & availability
Technically north of Riverside, The Balé is perched on the riverfront parallel to Koh Dach (Silk Island). The architecturally designed resort is meant to cultivate peace of mind and zen – having recently stayed here myself, I can confirm this to be true. Features include spacious suites with private courtyards, a first-class restaurant, and an incredible pool area that faces the Mekong. It’s the perfect place to stay if you want to escape the city, but still be within driving distance (about 20 minutes) of the main hub.
Private bungalows from $90 | See rates & availability
If you can’t get enough of those Tonle Sap views, try spending the night floating on the river. I thought Floatation was a bit of a gimmick until I learned it’s operated by MAADS, one of the best boutique hotel brands in the city. Private bungalows are beautifully outfitted, and there’s a floating restaurant-bar nearby. Every evening, a traditional rice boat ferries guests between the bungalows and the jetty directly in front of the Royal Palace. For safety reasons, children under 12 are not permitted.
Palace Gate Hotel & Resort
Doubles from $54 | See rates & availability
Pressed tiled floors and four-poster beds inside, palm-ringed pool outside. Palace Gate Hotel & Resort is just a stone’s throw from the Royal residence, and has a similar palatial feel. If the spa doesn’t make you feel like a king or queen, the breakfast spread will.
Point Boutique Hotel
Doubles from $56 | See rates & availability
Point Boutique Hotel’s moody palette gives rooms a snug feel, but still with plenty of natural light. The style is a little bit corporate, but the outdoor pool is all fun. Juniper Gin Bar, my second-favourite rooftop bar in the city after Sundown Social Club (it’s OK, they’re owned by the same duo who are actually freinds of ours), is located on the 12th floor. Point is right in the thick of Riverside and walking distance from a slew of great restaurants.
Nou’s River Hotel
King rooms from $38 | See rates & availability
This family owned hotel has some really nice touches, including built-in beds and wooden floors. 14 rooms face either the river or garden, and breakfast is served on an open terrace overlooking the river. Family rooms can accommodate four people with double queen-sized beds. The Singaporean owners focus on local hires for an all-Khmer team. The location north of Wat Phnom (2.5km from the Royal Palace) means you’ll either have to tuk tuk or promenade to get to and from Riverside.
Riverview Apartment (Airbnb)
Entire apartment from $38 | View listing
Located on the 4th floor and with a shared rooftop space, this private apartment offers all the perks of Riverside for a low price tag. The apartment sleeps two people, and is fitted with a full kitchen, modern bathroom, and a private garden terrace.
Saravoan Royal Palace
From $28 | See rates & availability
Steps from the Royal Palace, Saravoan features polished concrete and brick walls, terrazzo bathrooms, and silk and wooden fittings from local artisans. Twin, superior double and family rooms all come with breakfast included in the (very reasonable) nightly rate. There’s also a special deal for solo/business travellers, and free bicycles for guests.
Sla Boutique Hostel
Dorm beds from $6.50 | See rates & availability
This ‘elevated’ hostel offers 48 beds configured in single-sex dorms, co-ed dorms and private doubles. All share bathrooms. There’s also a communal kitchen, patio space and bar. The location behind the National Museum is away from the fray of the main backpacker area and a touch quieter as a result.
Dorm beds from $7 | See rates & availability
At the top of Riverside Park right on Sisowath Quay, Onederz is right in the heart of the action. 12 and 4 bed female-only and mixed dorms all have lockers and reading lamps. If your mingling has a limit, there are also a few double rooms with private bathrooms.
Where to stay near Street 240
Luxe for less
The Plantation Urban Resort & Spa
Doubles from $85 | See rates & availability
White Mansion Boutique Hotel
Doubles from $57 | See rates & availability
Doubles from $46 | See rates & availability
Penh House & Jungle Addition
Doubles from $43 | See rates & availability
TeaHouse Asian Urban Hotel
Doubles from $32 | See rates & availability
Comfortable Space Next to Royal Palace (Airbnb)
Entire apartment from $18 | View listing
Where to stay in BKK 1
Baitong Hotel & Resort
Doubles from $44 | See rates & availability
Patio Hotel & Urban Resort
Doubles from $40 | See rates & availability
Doubles from $38 | See rates & availability
Anise Villa Boutique Hotel
Doubles from $36 | See rates & availability
Villa Langka Boutique Hotel
Doubles from $30 | See rates & availability
YK Art House
Doubles from $19 | See rates & availability
Dorm beds from $5 | See rates & availability
Global hostel chain (there’s even an Envoy in Yerevan)
Mad Monkey Hostel
Dorm beds from $5 | See rates & availability
Where to stay in Tuol Tompoung
Double Leaf Boutique Hotel
Doubles from $44 | See rates & availability
BOHO Apartment (Airbnb)
Private studio from $39 | View listing
Sleeps 4 people.
Frangipani Living Arts Hotel
Doubles from $27 | See rates & availability
A bit shabby around the edges, but breakfast is good and there’s a rooftop bar.
Bunks from $15 | See rates & availability
Where to stay in BKK 2 & 3
Balconitel Boutique Hotel
From $33 | See rates & availability
Kolab Sor Hotel
From $20 | See rates & availability
The Long (Airbnb)
Double room with ensuite from $13 | View listing
Fancy Apartment in Old Villa (Airbnb)
Double room with ensuite from $23 | View listing
How to get to your accommodation when you first arrive
When you first arrive in Phnom Penh, be it by plane, bus or train, I strongly advise you do not pick up a taxi or tuk tuk at the airport/station. Drivers who congregate here are notorious for ripping unsuspecting new arrivals off.
Instead, download PassApp before you arrive and jump on the nearest WIFI connection to order a tuk tuk that way. Giant Ibis buses have WIFI on board, so if the connection is strong enough, you can order a ride as you’re pulling in.
Prices are always 30-50% cheaper if you book using the app. As an example, I used to pay a flat $10 to get from the airport to my apartment in Russian Market. There was no other option. On my recent visit, I paid just $3 for the same trip when I used PassApp.
If you don’t want to fiddle around with the app or you can’t get on WIFI, just ignore the drivers who will no doubt approach you and walk a few blocks in any direction to pick up a driver from the street.
If you’re arriving at night or you just want a hassle-free experience, I highly recommend pre-organising pick up through your accommodation in Phnom Penh. Most hotels do it for a reasonable flat fee (around $12) and will have someone there ready to meet you. Alternatively, you can book an aiport transfer online.
5 things to pack for Phnom Penh
- A reusable water bottle. Absolutely essential in Cambodia for minimising plastic waste and staying hydrated. I love my S’Well water bottle – it’s vacuum insulated to keep water icy cold for the whole day, and it doesn’t sweat. If you like your mango smoothies, pack a reusable smoothie cup as well.
- Rehydration tablets or sachets. At the end of a long day bike riding or exploring temples, your body will be crying out for electrolytes (believe me!). I prefer Hydralyte tablets because they come in a handy tube. If you forget to bring some from home, the Double D brand is sold at most pharmacies and grocery stores in Cambodia.
- Rain jacket and travel umbrella for the wet season. Wet season is my favourite time to travel in Cambodia because the countryside is so verdant. Downpours come out of nowhere, so it’s essential to have a rain jacket with you at all times (I love the packable rain jackets by Lomon for women and EZRUN for men). I also carry a travel umbrella in case it’s too hot and steamy to wear a jacket. This one is UPF 50+, making it great for sun cover as well.
- A sturdy day pack. An anti-theft backpack is particularly good for the cities, especially Phnom Penh. Opt for a minimalist backpack that doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb.
- Cambodia guide book. I prefer Lonely Planet’s dedicated Cambodia guidebook or regional guidebook that also covers Laos, Vietnam and Northern Thailand.
Phnom Penh must-dos
- Cruise the Mekong river at sunset while enjoying a traditional Khmer BBQ dinner
- Watch the Cambodian Living Arts live performance
- Learn about Cambodia’s time under the Khmer Rouge at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and Choeng Ek (The Killing Fields)
- Tick off the must-sees near Riverside: The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, the National Museum, and Wat Phnom
- Cycle the Mekong Islands for a taste of rural Cambodia close to the city
More Cambodia travel resources
- 51 free things to do in Phnom Penh
- Where to eat in Phnom Penh: The best Cambodian restaurants
- Resort-style swimming pools in Phnom Penh that are open to non-guests
- How to visit Silk Island as a day trip from Phnom Penh
- How to visit Phnom Tamao sanctuary for an ethical wildlife experience
- Where to stay in Siem Reap
- My guide to Kampot
- My guide to Kampong Cham, Cambodia’s sleepy Mekong town
- Cambodia hotel reviews: Hotel Old Cinema (Kampot); The Balé (Phnom Penh); Rokkhak River Resort (Siem Reap); Meas Family Homestay (Takeo)
Thoughts or questions about Phnom Penh accommodation? Drop your comments below and I’ll do my best to help out.