by Gillian Murphy, G11 After two months in Phnom Penh, here are my favorite aspects of life in the city so far.

  1. The food!

Perhaps the best aspect of the city, or at least the most pleasantly surprising to me, is the diversity of cuisines – there’s a type of food available to meet any craving just a tuk tuk ride away. 

P.S.: stay tuned for the “Best Eats” column, where we’ll visit and review some of your favorite restaurants around Phnom Penh!

2. The transportation!

Speaking of tuk tuk rides, another wonderful thing about Phnom Penh is how easy it is to get around. Apps like Grab and PassApp make transport a breeze, and the open air design is great for seeing the city and getting a breath of fresh air (until you get stuck in traffic exhaust, that is). 

3. The easygoing nature of the city!

Everyone around town seems to have a smile on their faces for friends and strangers alike.

4. The weather!

Yes, I’ve heard my mind will change about this come April – but for now, I’m basking in the 30 degree days.

5. The innovative ways to balance items on motorbikes! 

From toys to chickens to bedding, Cambodians can find a way to fit anything on their motos.

6. The Architecture!

Scattered around the city are some incredible cultural gems, including beautiful Khmer buildings like the National Museum, Wat Phnom, and the Royal Palace.

7. The affinity for plants!

Nearly every storefront around the city is lined with luscious green plants that  brighten up the cityscape, like little oases across town.

8. The creatures!

Loitering on most street corners, or perhaps appreciating the exhibits at the National Museum, or joining you for a bite to eat, are some of Phnom Penh’s happiest citizens.

9. The markets!

Filled with tourists and locals alike, the city has many bustling marketplaces that boast fresh produce, art, clothing, trinkets, and delicious street food.

10. The travel!

One of the benefits of living in a smaller country like Cambodia is how close to beautiful and intriguing vacation spots you are. Angkor Wat to the North, Kep and Kampot to the South, Kratie to the East, Battambong to the West. There are beaches, temples, forests, and much more to discover, and all within a few hours’ drive.

Phnom Penh possesses many wonderful attributes, some more obvious than others, but all fascinating nonetheless. As a newcomer to the city, it is all very exciting to me, and I hope you take the time to appreciate the city as if you were brand new to it too, because you might pick up on some interesting details you hadn’t noticed before!

All photos taken by Gillian Murphy


  1. Chère Gillian,

    Quel bel article. J’aime ta plume. J’ai l’impression de lire les pages d’un carnet de voyage venu tout droit de “National Geographic”.
    Tu nous manques beaucoup. Mais cet aventure au Vietnam est une belle aventure.

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