In terms of tourism value, the healthy competition between the capital city of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap eventually account for 17.5% of Cambodia's gross domestic product - roughly $20 billion worth industry as of 2009. These two popular destinations in Cambodia are in many ways unlike each other, hence giving tourist an element of diversity in their itinerary.

There are three main reasons why travelers visit Phnom Penh. Here are the following grounds almost exclusive to the capital city alone:

Excitement and Activity

Anyone traveling in Cambodia would most likely find Phnom Penh more exciting than Siem Reap on ordinary days. Despite being the center of human activity in the country, the capital city has somehow retained its old charm.


Another reason why travelers visit Phnom Penh is that the capital city is that this place is the center of national growth. Visitors who traveled to Phnom Penh 5 to 10 years ago would hardly recognize the capital city now. Phnom Penh is the best place to witness Cambodia's positive transformation.

Commercial Diversity

Considering how much Phnom Penh evolves towards urbanization, the capital city is already replete with hotels, restaurants and a wide variety of commercial outlets. In fact, it is easy to get around with an average daily budget of $25! Choosing between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, it pretty much apparent which one is better in terms of optimal spending.


There are also three key reasons why travelers visit Siem Reap that the capital city cannot replicate. These are the following compelling concepts that motivated its visitors:

Serenity and Majesty

While many visit Phnom Penh for excitement, travelers visit Siem Reap for relative calmness. After all, it is a municipality sitting in Cambodia's breathtaking countryside. Between the two popular destinations in Cambodia, Siem Reap seems like a better place to retire.


While Phnom Penh represents transformation, Siem Reap captures the essence of preservation. The majority of the income-generating tourist activities involve workshops that replicate Cambodia's rustic traditional activities (e.g. native cooking classes and pottery sessions).

Gateway to Wonders

Siem Reap may appear like a backwater village in comparison to Phnom Penh in terms of commercial opportunities. However, everyone knows that being the neighbor of Angkor Wat and Tonle Sap Lake never goes out of fashion.