Phnom Penh is a fascinating city that should be included in any trip to Cambodia. That sounds logical to include the capital and biggest city in Cambodia in your itinerary, but I’m surprised by how many people I meet who just go to Siem Reap and skip Phnom Penh.
This Where To Stay guide is especially for first-time visitors to the city which will help make the most of your time. It’s useful for repeat visitors as well as I have picked out the best hotels in Phnom Penh for this list.
Having been to Phnom Penh numerous times I’ve found that these are the best areas to stay, depending on your travels.
Search for more Hotels in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh hotel map
[Map of Phnom Penh hotels.]
Daun Penh District
Daun Penh District includes the historic centre along the riverside. This is where the royal palace, government buildings, and most notable colonial architecture can be found. Daun Penh is bounded by the Tonle Sap River, and the closer you can stay to the river the better.
If you are visiting for a short time then confine your search to the area between the river and Preah Monivong Blvd. If you are staying west of Preah Monivong Blvd it gets too far to walk to the main areas. Within this area stay within Wat Phnom to the north and Preah Sihanouk Blvd to the south. Below Preah Sihanouk Blvd is the BKK1 area which is suitable for longer stays.
Phnom Penh used to have a backpacker area at Boeng Kak Lake. The lake has since been filled in and is being redeveloped. There are a few streets that have a burgeoning hostel scene, though nothing on the scale of Khao San Road in Bangkok or Pham Ngu Lao in Saigon. 172 Street between 13 Street and Preah Norodom Blvd is one of the main backpacker streets. You could just turn up here and look around, but these days it’s better to book in advance.
Onederz Phnom Penh is a popular choice for backpackers with its convenient location and good services and amenities.
One Stop Hostel Phnom Penh is situated on Sisowath Quay, in front of the river.
Panorama Mekong Hostel is located on the riverfront and it indeed offers a panoramic view of the Mekong where it converges with the Tonle Sap.
Mad Monkey is a famous party hostel brand in Cambodia, so Mad Monkey Phnom Penh is where to go to meet fellow backpackers.
Guesthouses and budget hotels
I’ve stayed in a number of guesthouses in Phnom Penh over the years, and the quality varies greatly. I’ve found that the cheapest ones are terrible compared to what you get in Vietnam or Thailand for the same price. By spending a few dollars more your accommodation experience will improve dramatically.
258 Street had a small guesthouse scene, but it has more mid-range hotels now. Okay Guesthouse is one of the remaining guesthouses.
Phnom Penh Le Vincent Hotel is a 2-star hotel that is well-rated by budget travellers.
Blue Lime Hotel is a 3-star hotel tucked away in a little alley, not far from the Royal Palace, and it has a swimming pool.
Zing is a 3-star hotel near the historic central market. It has a bright minimalist feel. I stayed here as it was convenient to the train station.
[Read my review of th Zing Hotel.]
Le Grand Palais Boutique Hotel is a mid-range hotel that looks like a classic apartment block in Paris.
[Le Grand Palais Boutique Hotel.]
Himawari Hotel Apartments is situated on Sisowath Quay with views of the Tonle Sap River.
[Himawari Hotel Apartments.]
Hotel Cambodiana is a luxury hotel on the banks of the Mekong River. The hotel was built in the era of ‘New Khmer Architecture’ that flourished in the 1960s. The hotel was finished in 1969 but was closed shortly thereafter due to the war. It was restored and reopened in the 1990s, but now it is under threat of demolition to make way for the new tower. If you are looking for something uniquely Cambodian, then stay here before everything has been turned into a chain hotel experience.
The Pavilion Hotel is located in the heart of the historical centre of Phnom Penh, near the Royal Palace and Wat Botum. The architecture is a combination of Khmer and French colonial styles. It features unique heritage villas, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and private plunge pools, in a lush tropical compound.
Aquarius Hotel & Urban Resort is a modern hotel with a rooftop swimming pool.
TRIBE is a midscale lifestyle brand by Accor and joint venture partner Ennismore. Tribe Phnom Penh Post Office Square was the first TRIBE Hotel in Asia (opened 2022). The brand bills itself as a combination of a hotel and a social hub. The New York Times listed it as one of 10 new standout hotels in Asia.
Penh House Hotel is near the Royal Palace and is ideally situated if you want to be near the old town and within walking distance of the BKK1 area. The hotel also has a rooftop swimming pool.
Hôtel KVL opened in 2022 and it has brought a fresh face to the selection of riverfront hotels. This stylish 4-star hotel stands out as a homegrown brand, showcasing modern Camdoodian style and design.
Luxury 5-Star Hotels
The big-name hotel brands are still finding their way to Phnom Penh, so there are some unique hotel experiences to choose from in addition to a selection of familiar brands.
Raffles Hotel Le Royal is a 5-star luxury hotel in a leafy area of old Phnom Penh. It’s next to Daun Penh Ave, which faces Wat Phnom and is on the same street as the embassy of the United States of America.
The hotel was originally named ‘Le Royal‘ when it opened in 1929. Over the years it hosted a who’s who of celebrities, as well as journalists covering the civil war in the 1970s. It is now fully restored and operated by Raffles Hotels & Resorts.
[Raffles Hotel Le Royal.]
Palace Gate Hotel & Resort is situated between the Royal Palace and the river, making it ideal for sightseeing. This hotel with its pool and greenery will help you escape from the city chaos.
BKK1 stands for Boeung Keng Kang 1, and not an outpost of Bangkok (as my mind tries to tell me). If you are searching on hotel booking sites BKK1 is within Chamkar Morn District.
If you’re considering an extended stay or you’re looking for a digital nomad base in Phnom Penh then I would pick this area. It’s still close to the immediate centre while being less touristy. It’s a popular area with expat/NGO residents, and there are lots of cafes and bars. The roads also feel slightly less chaotic (slightly).
Accommodation options tend to be mid-range and upmarket boutique hotels. This would also be a good area to look for Airbnb rentals while looking for a longer-term place.
Feliz Hostel Cafe & Bar has dorm and private rooms available.
Rambutan Resort – Phnom Penh is a small luxury mid-range hotel with a pool.
Mansion 51 Hotel & Apartment is a 5-star luxury serviced apartment so a good option if you prefer to self cater.
Tonle Bassac is south of Daun Penh and east of BKK1. Much of this area is still being developed, so not everything is open yet. This area includes the Diamond Island project, which is an island that has a fake Paris.
The area includes apartment towers, shopping malls, and high-end hotels. The National Assembly and other government bodies have offices here, and there are also some embassies, including the Embassy of Australia. It’s not an area I would stay in as a first-time visitor, but I place it here in case you are wondering what all those tall towers are that can be seen from the riverfront. The second-tallest tower in Phnom Penh is The Peak Shangri-la, which will be the first Shangri-la in Cambodia.
ibis budget Phnom Penh Riverside is near the bridge to Diamond Island.
NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex is the gigantic casino that you will see glowing in the distance at night. While staying at a casino is not for everyone, if it is your thing then it’s worth checking for deals. Like in Las Vegas or Macau, you can occasionally find a 5-star hotel room for $50.
[>NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex.]