Riverside, Daun Penh the real Phnom Penh downtown, the old city, the melting pot of culture that includes the Royal Palace, Wat Phnom, Old Market, Kandal Market and Chaktomuk.
The Royal Palace sits in Chey Chumneas, a Sangkat in Khan Daun Penh alongside the Royal University of Fine Arts, National Museum and the Silver Pagoda.
Its boundaries are – Street 178 (north), Tonle Sap River (east), Norodom Boulevard (west) and Street 240 (south).
Many generations’ footprints are here – Angkor kings, French colonists and UN troops. It is where the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers meet and where the Water Festival takes place each year.
Riverside is always stunning especially at sunrise and sunset.
Day and night it is busy and a popular tourist spot.
Sisowath Quay (in honor of King Sisowath) is the riverfront road. It starts at the Buddhist Institute and continues north to Japanese Bridge. There it becomes Road 6 and out of the city.
Riverside has a wide choice of restaurants, wellbeing services, hotels, shops and bars.
Among the restaurants, you will find Italian, French, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Malaysian.
A personal reflection on Daun Penh and Riverside – from art gallery to market stall, $5 massages and 5-star hotels
Street 172 is punctuated with $3 massage joints and bars occupied by grey faces framed with light grey hair.
Yet, just around the corner, Street 178 is now arguably the rising art gallery district of Phnom Penh with the University of Fine Arts and National Museum only a stone’s throw away.
Friends Café has made a bold statement and the Mansion House seems to be waiting for reincarnation.
Now the Hyatt has opened its doors to the Jet set, it may well be a different designer-schmick precinct to what is currently now.
In fact, when you look up along 172, the standard of shophouses is somewhat ‘better’ than in other parts of the city: it could be the rising star of Daun Penh and Riverside.
In the surrounding streets in this part of Phnom Penh, there is a sense that there are too many hostess bars, each vying for a shifting slice of the tourist and expat pie.
Rents will rise with the inevitable escalation of land values and the ROI of each vendor’s patch will become more and more critical as the clock ticks.
Looking at Phsar Kandal and the open block where Prey Sar prison once sat, one can’t help but wonder what’s coming next.
Given its proximity to Riverside and the 172 and 178 ‘sweet spots’, maybe there is something special waiting in the sidelines, something for the inspired new generation of architects and artists.
As of August 2022, digging has started.
My guess is a shopping centre, possibly with apartments too!
Good guide to investing
Here is a good guide to investing in Cambodia that should steer you away from financial disaster.
The real estate market here is extremely varied, more so than most countries, which can make investing either a smooth journey or a rocky one.
What separates a successful from unsuccessful investor is not pure luck, as many think, but the ability to recognise and avoid mistakes.
A short history of villas in Daun Penh
Phnom Penh was previously known as Krong Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol (‘City of the Brahma’s Faces’).
Loosely translated as “the place of four rivers giving happiness and success to the Khmer Kingdom, the highest leader as well as unconquerable city of the God Indra of the great kingdom”.
It was later shortened to Krong Chaktomuk (City of Four Faces), then Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh was an important hub for French colonialists. Its wide roads, beautiful gardens and grand villas and colonial mansions earned it the title ‘Pearl of Asia’ in the 1920s.
From this time, the city expanded rapidly.
Chaktomuk is located in Daun Penh; an area under transformation with countless new developments and infrastructure upgrades.
It is a culturally significant area with its landmarks like Wat Botum Park, Botumvatey Pagoda and Independence Monument.
It is also very popular for its many restaurants, cafes, embassies, NGO offices, and boutique hotels.
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