Free things to do in Phnom Penh palace grounds

7 free things to do in Phnom Penh

by Guest on August 17, 2016

From guest writer Pete Vrouvas ~ Phnom Penh is a wild city in Southeast Asia in which to wander around and get lost. At first, walking the streets can be overwhelming with the tuk tuks swirling around; but once you settle in, it is an amazing city to explore. As a budget traveler, I always seek out the best budget activities in a new location. Quite often there are a ton of activities that are free or cost just a few dollars. In Phnom Penh, I would highly recommend doing the Tuol Sleng Prison and Killing Fields historical tours. However, this list focuses on free things to do in Phnom Penh; no entry fees, no meals, no nothing. I hope you like walking though, as most of these activities involve strolling around. Note – these are not ranked.

Russian Market

Russian Market

Vendor in the Russian Market of Phnom Penh.

Twisting and turning through the tiny aisles of the Russian market is an interesting way to spend an afternoon. Hundreds of vendors cram into the market, stalls overflowing with goods. There is a healthy mix of local produce vendors, industrial vendors, and tourist-focused vendors selling shirts and souvenirs. Walking around the market is enjoyable, and if you want to purchase something, that option is always available to you.

Tonle Sap Shore Boardwalk

Tonle Sap Shore Boardwalk

View of the boardwalk and riverside from one of the many rooftop restaurants.

Located on the Tonle Sap River across from the royal palace and spanning up to the Chroy Changvar Bridge, the Tonle Sap Short Boardwalk is a main tourist area. Along the boardwalk, endless cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops line the city blocks. Moseying down this street is one of the quintessential tourist experiences in the city.

Local Farmers Markets

Local Farmers Market

 One of the many local markets I stumbled across walking through the city.

I happened upon several farmers markets in Phnom Penh while walking to different sites and monuments. I have no clue when or if they are there all year, but one of them was near the corner of Street 113 and Street 300. Just walking a few miles through the city to explore some of the temples you will discover some of your own local markets. While there is never really anything I want to buy at these markets besides the occasional fruit, they are one of the few places I get to witness local interactions and people away from the touristy areas.

Independence Monument & Friendship Monument

Independence Monument

 Independence monument in the daytime.

The Independence Monument and Cambodian-Vietnam Friendship Monument sit right next to each other near the city center. The long parks and impressive monuments are a nice place to escape the hectic traffic and busy streets. The Independence Monument area looks just as impressive at night if you get a chance to see it after dark.

Central Market

Central Market in Phnom Penh

 Inside the bustling central market of Phnom Penh.

Geared towards both local Cambodians and travelers, the central market is an exciting area to explore. The big square has barbers, cafes, jewelry, clothing, and all sorts of random things to see and/or buy. Even if you aren’t looking to make a purchase, this hub of activity is worth visiting. Personally, I think the shops at the perimeter and outside are the best – be sure not to spend all your time inside.

Royal Palace Parks

free things to do in Phnom Penh Royal Palace Parks

The calm parks in front of the royal palace.

In front of the royal palace, there is a huge open area with grass fields, tile sidewalks, and a few structures matching the the style of the palace. You can see families have picnics and going for walks along the parks. You can also see people feeding (or in the case of little kids – chasing) the hundreds of pigeons that hang out here. This is also a popular area to see monks sitting, walking, and going about their day.

Free Wats and Temples

Wat Toul Tom Poung

Wat Toul Tom Poung – one of the many free wats sprinkled throughout the city.

Lastly, there are a large number of wats and temples throughout the city that have no entry fee. One of which is Wat Toul Tom Poung. Unless otherwise stated, most of the wats throughout the city are free to visit. You can locate them on or whatever application you use to navigate around.

Do you have any other free activities to do in Phnom Penh? Please comment and share!

Pete blogger7 Best Free Things to Do in Phnom Penh was written by Pete Vrouvas of Pete is a California-based traveler, food lover, beer drinker, and adventurer focused on sharing experiences and tips on travel, technology, and food.

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