Phnom Penh, Cambodia travel guide and things to do: Nine must-do highlights

THE ONE HOTEL

A drink at the legendary Elephant Bar at at the historic Raffles Hotel Le Royal is an essential experience when visiting the frenetic Cambodian capital. Don't miss its  signature cocktail, the Femme Fatale, which was named after Jacqueline Kennedy in honour of her visit to Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat in 1967. See raffles.com

THE ONE STROLL

The three-kilometre Sisowath Quay is one of the grandest promenades in south-east Asia and runs alongside the Tonle Sap river for much of its length. While not universally-loved, the newly constructed walkway is one of the rare places in Phnom Penh where you can you can stroll safely without fear of holes and exposed wiring.

THE ONE STREET

Shady, tree-lined Street 240 is a favourite with expats and savvy visitors. It may not be Phnom Penh's best avenue but it's certainly its most fashionable. Aside from  choice boutiques, there are some good and affordable bars, cafes and spas, which operate inside erstwhile colonial villas and shophouses.

THE ONE CAFE

The Shop, a Belgian-run café-cum-bakery, has been a local fixture for nearly 20 years, and is one of the best spots on Street 240 (also known as Oknha Chhun Street) for breakfast or lunch. It's certainly the place for that often-elusive decent coffee and there's a spin-off chocolate shop further up the street. See theshop-cambodia.com

THE ONE PALACE

The residence of King Nordom Sihamon, a dominant landmark near the confluence of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, is a must for any first-time visitor to Phnom Penh. Built with French assistance in the 19th century, Phnom Penh's Royal Palace is not as extravagant as its Bangkok counterpart, but its scale is far more human. See scenic.com.au

THE ONE CLUB

Founded in the 1990s after the end of the Cambodian-Vietnamese War, the Foreign Correspondents' Club was a favoured haunt for overseas reporters. It now operates as an atmospheric restaurant and bar, popular with travellers, and is undergoing renovations  due for completion by year's end. See fcccollection.com

THE ONE MUSEUM

The Khmer Rouge did not only conduct its genocidal activities in the Cambodian countryside, but also right in the heart of its capital city. Security Prison 21 was a notorious Pol Pot prison and torture chamber. Now it's the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a grim testament to some of the worst of which humanity is capable. See tuolsleng.gov.kh

THE ONE ROOFTOP BAR

The 188-metrehigh Vattanac Capital Tower is Phnom Penh's newest landmark and several levels of it are home to a new five-star hotel, the Rosewood Phnom Penh. The hotel's most spectacular feature is Sora, a rooftop "sky bar" that shares top billing with its signature restaurant, Brasserie Louis. See rosewoodhotels.com

THE ONE MARKET

Although most visitors head to the architecturally-impressive Central Market, Phnom Penh's ramshackle, labyrinthine Russian Market nowadays offers the more authentic experience. Named after Russian expatriates who shopped there in the 1980s, you'll find all manner of wares and some cheap eateries tucked between the stalls.

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ONE MORE THING …

If you abhor crowds, best avoid Bon Om Touk, Cambodia's spectacular annual water and moon festival. The three-day event celebrates the end of the monsoon season and is focused around Phnom Penh's waterways. It is, however, an opportunity to witness Cambodians en masse at their most joyous, proud and hospitable.

Anthony Dennis travelled as a guest of Scenic. Scenic's all-inclusive 13-day Treasures of the Mekong cruise and land tour from Saigon to Siem Reap, Cambodia starts from $7195 per person. The price includes flights and a $200 early booking discount. See scenic.com.au 

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