Planning to spend some time in Cambodia in the summer but you fear to have to day sporadically interrupted by pouring rain? Do not fear! There are advantages to enjoy Cambodia's low season, so we listed up 10 suggestions of activities to see and do in Phnom Penh, even on a rainy day!
Have you heard of laser tag? It's the painless version of paintball, but indoors with much more special effects! Participants are split in teams and must collect a maximum of points by shooting at the other team with laser guns and hitting sensor targets on their vests to earn points. Laser tag is ideal to kill between 30min to 1.5H until the sky clears out and it should be a lot of screams and fun guarantee! See location details
July is tourism's low season in Cambodia and therefore you should expects feeling like having VIP access to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, only few steps away from the riverbank. The former is fully open to the public whereas the latter does have some restricted areas. You will have more freedom on the weekdays to take pictures, since on the weekend notably Sunday where Cambodian people come to pay their respect to the King so the crowd gets bigger!
As you might imagine, *appropriate dress code* is mandatory which includes wearing shorts that go at least to the knee, cover the shoulder with sleeves down to the elbow and for women watch out for the depth of the cleavage....
Observed in Cambodia as well as in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, the period of Buddhist lent is known in Khmer as "Chorl Vorsa” literally meaning "Enter raining"; the beginning of the rainy season according to Theravada Buddhism lunar calendar. During this period monks won't be allow to spend the night outside their temple and will mostly be confined inside to study and meditate. This period will prevent them for collecting donations outside of the temple as they would usually do. As a result and to support them, locals make offers to monks including giant candles, tea, sugar, dried fish and other goods to sustain themselves in the next 3 months. Monk are delighted to have visitors so tourists are welcome and you might even get to talk with some about their lifestyle in culture which is pretty unique! Starting from July 9th in 2017.
Russian market in Cambodia that's right! It is a vibrant bazaar where you can find anything and everything, the best spots to get small presents and gifts for friend or family (Buddha statues, handcraft jewelry, clothes, pots, etc.) This shopping spot in Phnom Penh owes its name to the Russian expat community that populated the area back in the 70s! Find it here
You might agree with me that one the the best parts of traveling to a new country is the FOOD! Ever heard of amok, the traditional Khmer dish (above picture)? Made of chicken or fish and serve in a cup made of banana leaves, it can be paired with other delicacies such as srimp spring rolls, green mango salad, pumpkin soup and more! Cooking schools such are offered at restaurants such as La Table Khmere or Linna Cooking for bigger groups or Veasna in the Kitchen for in more private experience. Most classes start between 9:00 and 9:30 AM, and include a visit to the local market which an experience in itself! La Table Khmere has some afternoon session starting at 3PM so you might want to look into that as well.
In Phnom Penh you might feel affected by the contrast between the magnificence of the Royal Palace and yet stepping outside feeling down witnessing rampant poverty and remaining social inequalities. If you are left to wonder what you could do to contribute to the country's people and economy, think about this. Did you know that Cambodia is permanently affected by blood shortages and desperately needs foreign donors to volunteer and give some blood? Anytime during the day, stop by the National Blood Transfusion Centre at Ang Duong Hospital which is completely safe and your contribution can very much prevent accidental deaths including maternal death, which is the leading cause of death among women aged 15-49 in Cambodia according to the United Agencies UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Your eyes are not tricking you! At Yoga! Phnom Penh, "flying" yoga classes are available for those of you who want to get the maximum stretching by gravity supported by professional equipment and teachers. If you really like to sweat, then there is the Fly Fit class that focuses on the cardio training as well as flexibility. There are classes all week long, but check out the schedule for English lessons! As you can find on the Facebook page, the " AZAHAR Foundation is an international organization that promotes cross-cultural communication and non-violent conflict resolution through Yoga." Sign up for a class and mingle through yoga!
At the Kindgom Breweries in Phnom Penh, Happy hour may start from 1PM! Reserve a spot for the beer tasting tour alone or with friends (but with friends its more fun! The stranger you met at the guest house also counts a friend in that regards) and beer tasting is definitely one of my favorite recommendation!! The Kingdom Brewery Tour features the house's original products as well as others beverages from fellow South East Asian brewers served in the Taproom. Prepare your taste buds for some Belgian Wheat and increasingly popular India Pale Ale (IPA) produced by Indochine here in Phnom Penh, as well as the Kingdom's Pilsener, Dark Lager from the Kingdom's own concoction in addition to a cider from Bruntys.
Credits to Henna Lover in Cambodia, Facebook
You mind have been intrigued by Sak Yant, Khmer tattoos traditionally using bamboo sticks, enjoyed their sophisticated art patterns and detailed shapes. If your budget doesn't allow for such a permanent options, how about giving a try to a henna? I can feel some raising eyebrows from here: "This is not India it's Cambodia your ignorant", yes... but wasn't Angkor Wat a Hindu temple before being reconverted as a Buddhist sanctuary? The art has significantly been influenced by it and as a substitute to a tattoo, henna offers a fun experience that can be shared with friends that will slowly fade away by the time you get home. Hence, there is nothing wrong about recognizing the beauty of another Asian nations while traveling to Cambodia. Travel is about opening the mind and you can contact Henna Lovers in Cambodia located in the old market for more information on time and price.
If the rain hasn't stopped by the time you get back to your hotel or guesthouse, let's look at the bright side of tropical storm! Get on the balcony or yard and try to get a couple shots of the storm, that is if your timing is right!
There are many activities to do in Phnom Penh despite the rainy season and you should definitely give it a try because it is a unique opportunity not to mingle solely with tourist but to connect with local people.
Contact in formation/address of businesses referred in the post
5. Cooking class: *UPON RESERVATION, no walk-in accepted*
La Table Khmere Address & Contact info e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org/TEL: +855 (0)12 238 068
Veasna in the Kitchen Address & Contact info e-mail: info at veasnainthekitchen.com
6. National Blood Transfusion Centre Address Contact info &e-mail: email@example.com/ TEL: 023 722 074