Why Phnom Penh is Southeast Asia’s new capital of cool

The Phnom Penh of today is a rapidly rising metropolis with glittery skyscrapers, world-class restaurants and the fastest-growing major airport in the world. From gender-bending dancers to backyard brewers and aspiring artists, everyone is thriving here, as the city sheds the cloak of the past and looks towards the future with optimism. 

What to do

Phnom Penh’s classic attractions – including the ornate Royal Palace, art deco Central Market and hilltop Wat Phnom (where the city’s story begins) – all hug the mighty Mekong River north of Preah Sihanouk Boulevard. It’s a great place to watch saffron-clad monks stroll past glimmering wats and to dive into pungent markets, but to see the trendier side of town, it’s best to head south and inland.

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