Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, once known as “The Pearl of Asia” is a chaotic mixture of disorganized traffic, fantastic local markets and the slowly creeping in cosmopolitan vibe of a large city. Sitting on the mighty Mekong River banks it will amaze and scare you, confuse and fascinate at the same time. You can dine on the roadside while 5 minutes later you’re sipping a fancy cocktail in one of the Riverside swanky bars. Phnom Penh is definitely a place to stop by if you want to discover Cambodian history and culture.

Backpacking

Phnom Penh is usually a 2-3 day stop on most backpacker routes. Worth visiting if you’re after experiencing a big city emerging from the dark past of Khmer Rouge regime and wanting to learn more about Cambodia’s history by visiting The Killing Fields and S-21 Prison.

Volunteering

Cambodia is one of the main destinations for those thinking of volunteering in SE Asia with Phom Penh being the main city together with Siem Reap. There are many options available with most of them focused on teaching English, helping local children get into education, supporting local communities and improving medical sector. For more information, visit Go Overseas's Volunteering in Cambodia page with volunteer programs and reviews.

Study Abroad

Although initially difficult to research, there are options of studying abroad in Cambodia available out there. You can usually apply for a study abroad program that will involve visiting historic and culturally important places that will give you an opportunity to discover Cambodia while studying. Have a look at Go Overseas's Study Abroad in Cambodia page for more information and inspiration.

Cost of Living in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is a relatively cheap place to visit for all Western tourists. US dollars are widely used and all menus and accommodation prices will be quoted in dollars. Small change (less than $1) is usually given in local currency notes. There are no coins in Cambodia.

There are plenty of good standard guesthouses and hotels in Phnom Penh. Prices for a double, air-conditioned room in a nice guesthouse average about $14-15.

Meals are relatively inexpensive setting you back as little as $5-6 for two for breakfast up to $10-14 for two for lunch or dinner for two if eaten in local restaurants or cafes. Street food is considerably cheaper.

You can hire a tuk tuk driver for a day for around $9-10 if you wish to visit The Killing Fields and S-21 prison.

Drinks like beer are cheap and usually cost around $1, cocktails in a nice bar will be considerably more. Prepare yourself to pay $5 plus for one.

While visiting local souvenir shops and markets, haggling is essential and part of the culture as anywhere else in SE Asia.

Contributed by Marta Napierala

Gap Year Programs in Phnom Penh

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 programs
Winterline Global Education
Explore the World & Learn New Skills on a Winterline Global Gap Year Program
Multiple Countries
9.53 •15 reviews

Are you prepared for life? Are you not sure what you want to do after...

Plan My Gap Year
Plan My Gap Year - Volunteer in Cambodia from $360
Cambodia
9.33 •3 reviews

PMGY offers 2-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the...

The Leap
Elephant conservation, teaching & community development.
Cambodia
8.83 •6 reviews

Embark on a journey that will take you from the vibrant city of Siem...

Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA
Most affordable programs in Cambodia from $ 350 for 2 weeks!
Cambodia
10 •1 review

Iko Poran offers the most affordable volunteer programs in one of the...

Real Gap Experience
Real Gap Experience: Ultimate Cambodia
Cambodia

Cambodia is a country that will inspire and delight while giving...

Gap Year Volunteering in Phnom Penh

Volunteering is a great way to experience Phnom Penh on your gap year
  • International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
    Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Cambodia from $360
    Cambodia
    9.47 •47 reviews

    Trusted by 110,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer...

  • GVI
    GVI: Volunteer in Cambodia
    Cambodia
    9.58 •24 reviews

    Participate in ethical volunteering projects to support sustainable...

  • Projects Abroad
    Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Cambodia
    Cambodia
    8.48 •29 reviews

    Projects Abroad has been sending volunteers abroad since 1992. This is...

  • Operation Groundswell
    Cultural Immersion & Community Service in Southeast Asia
    Multiple Countries
    9.56 •16 reviews

    You might’ve heard of this region’s 30 cent street pad thai, deep...

  • Volunteering Solutions
    Volunteer in Cambodia | Most Affordable Projects From $400 For 2 Weeks
    Cambodia
    9.83 •6 reviews

    Cambodia isn't just about the ruins of Angkor - but there's a lot more...

  • Plan My Gap Year
    Plan My Gap Year - Volunteer in Cambodia from $360
    Cambodia
    9.33 •3 reviews

    PMGY offers 2-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the...

  • Love Volunteers
    Make a REAL difference in Cambodia - From just $359!
    Cambodia
    8.43 •7 reviews

    Join Love Volunteers and work with their partner NGOs in Cambodia...

  • Volunteer In Cambodia (VIC)
    Teach English in Cambodia for 12 weeks
    Cambodia
    9.46 •26 reviews

    Make your next Summer Holiday useful through Volunteering...

  • The Leap
    Elephant conservation, teaching & community development.
    Cambodia
    8.83 •6 reviews

    Embark on a journey that will take you from the vibrant city of Siem...

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