You look out and see the murky waters of the Tonle Sap River mixing with the Mighty Mekong. Tuk-tuks are zooming past you almost non-stop. A few tourists with backpacks slog past. You can only be in one place: Daun Penh.
Located in the heart of the capital, Daun Penh is full of retail shops, markets, shopping centres, and other businesses. It’s also a tourism hub. The riverside area, Royal Palace and Wat Phnom are a few of the country’s top draws.
Daun Penh also distinguished itself as a magnet for real estate. As one of the largest districts of Phnom Penh, it hosts a huge variety of properties. Everything from residential to commercial is here. What’s more, local legend says it’s the place where the capital was founded.
Spanning over seven square kilometres, Daun Penh is made up of 11 sangkats:
- Wat Phnom
- Sraas Chak
- Phsar Chas
- Phsar Kandal I
- Phsar Kandal II
- Chey Chomneas
- Phsar Thmey I
- Phsar Thmey II
- Phsar Thmey III
- Boeing Raing
A place for prime land
Daun Penh has some of the highest demand in Phnom Penh. Thus, it’s not surprising that land commands premium prices.
On average, residential land is selling for around $3,500 per square metre. Commercial plots, meanwhile, cost about $6,100 per square metre.
The most expensive commercial land in Daun Penh is around the Central Market. The average price for commercial land there is pegged at $9,000 per square metre. For residential plots, the priciest ones are in Phsar Chas, where the average rate is $4,000 per square metre.
Sorn Seap, founder and CEO of Key Real Estate, attributed the high land prices to the area’s commercial significance and the presence of popular tourist destinations.
Premium office space
Daun Penh is home to some of the highest-grade office space in the capital. Canadia Tower, Vattanac Capital, Exchange Square, Raintree, Aura Condominium and Phnom Penh Tower have some the best office space you will find anywhere in Phnom Penh.
For now, Vattanac Tower and Exchange Square are the only property developments in Cambodia that offer Grade A office space.
Renting office space in Daun Penh will typically cost between $10 and $30 per square metre a month.
High-end apartments and condos
Daun Penh is one of Phnom Penh premier residential areas. Its location close to the centre of the city and proximity to many amenities makes it popular among many locals and expats. Many of the condos and apartments in Daun Penh are considered high-end.
Naturally, condos in Daun Penh are more expensive to rent than their counterparts in the outer areas of the city.
Rents start at around $300 per month. But many places are much more. High-end condos will usually be over $900 per month. However, you will usually have access to a pool, gym, parking and work space. For a more detailed breakdown on what you should be paying, read our expat rental guide to Phnom Penh.
Aura Condominium, for instance, is offering fully-furnished units for around $1,200 per month.
Skyscrapers in sight
The price of land has not deterred property investors and developers from choosing Daun Penh as the site for their projects.
In fact, the number of property developments in the district is increasing by the month. Daun Penh is awash with condos, apartments, villas, commercial buildings, and other residential and commercial development projects.
And there is still more to come.
Yuetai Group has commenced work on the Phnom Penh Harbour, a $2 billion project that will see the construction of more than 20 high-rise buildings on an area facing the Tonle Sap River.
Meanwhile, Royal Group, a local business conglomerate, is proposing to build a 600-metre skyscraper on the site of the historic Cambodiana Hotel. Once completed, this would be the tallest structure in Southeast Asia.
Our site has listings for all the new developments in Phnom Penh.
Villa, villa, vici
The age of the villa may be on the way out in Phnom Penh. More plots are being used for high-rises. But there are a handful of villas for rent in Daun Penh if you want to have a home in the centre of town.
Rent is usually between $2,500 and $4,500 per month depending on the number of bedrooms. Small ones can be found for as little as $1,200 per month, however.
Buying a villa can be a bit tricker, but it’s still possible. Prices here will vary a lot based on location, size and many other factors. For between $25,000 and $40,000 you can snag a villa but bigger ones have been known to go for over $1 million.
So we know that Daun Penh hosts most of the capital’s major attractions. But how do these sites fit into the city? Here are the major jewels of the area:
Originally built in 1866, the Royal Palace serves as the residence of Cambodia’s royal family. The Royal Palace is a splendid example of Khmer architecture. The Khemarin Palace, Throne Hall, Silver Pagoda, and Moonlight Pavilion are some of the buildings inside the palace compound. The Royal Palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cambodia, with hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of tourists from all over the world visiting it every day.
Shaped like a hand-held fan, the Chaktomuk Theatre is a landmark of the style known as New Khmer Architecture. It was designed by the late Van Molyvann, Cambodia’s most famous architect.
Completed in 1961, the building hosted the 6th Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists that same year. The People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) also used it as a venue for the trial in absentia of senior Khmer Rouge leaders in 1979. Today, Chaktomuk Theatre is used as a venue for conferences and cultural events organised by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MCFA).
Built in 1372, Wat Phnom Penh is a historic hilltop temple sitting in the centre of Phnom Penh. Wat Phnom is the tallest religious shrine in the city, standing some 27 metres above the ground. Wat Phnom Penh serves as a venue for major religious ceremonies during Khmer New and Pchum Ben. Wat Phnom is visited by hundreds of foreign tourists every day. Also, many locals visit Wat Phnom to pray and seek divine intervention.
This is a must-visit for people who are interested in culture and history. In place since the 1920s, the National Museum is Cambodia’s leading historical and cultural museum. The museum is a repository for the world’s largest collection of Cambodian art, housing more than 14,000 sculptures, ethnographic objects, and other artifacts dating from the prehistoric times to the post-Angkorian period.
Shopping here, shopping there
Daun Penh is among the most popular shopping destinations in Phnom Penh. Several of Cambodia’s most well-known markets and shopping centres are located in the district. Central Market, O’Russey Market, Pencil Market, and Sorya Shopping Center are all here. Daun Penh is also host to an impressive array of retail shops and supermarkets selling everything from jewellery, handicrafts, artwork, souvenirs, footwear and clothing.
Oh, and don’t forget about the groceries stores like Lucky and Super Duper if you just need a snack or a soda.
A food lover’s paradise
If you are a food lover and would like to try the cuisines of many different countries, Daun Penh, is the place to go.
Along the riverside, you can find restaurants serving:
- Western food like French, Greek, Italian and American
- Other Asian specialties like Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Singaporean and Malaysian
- And even Middle Eastern food
Chinese House, KFC, Lucky Burger, Le Point Café, 5 Drunk Men, Hops Craft Beer Garden, Le Deli Bistro Gourmet, Gulai Restaurant, Mother India Restaurant, and Hummus House are some of the most popular names. There is even a Cuban restaurant along the riverside called Havana Café & Bar and a Filipino restaurant named MeMates Resto Bar.
If you are looking for an inexpensive yet delicious local meal, the Small Restaurant & Bar is an excellent choice. For $3, you can have such favourites as pepper squid with a plentiful heap of rice.
There are also numerous coffee and beverage shops in Daun Penh, including such popular brands as Brown Cafe, KOI Cafe, Costa Coffee, and Café Amazon. See our list of the top 10 cafes in Phnom Penh to learn more.
A Mecca for exercise buffs
For people who want to exercise or shed a few kilograms of weight after a sumptuous meal at one of the restaurants nearby, Daun Penh has much to offer. The district is host to numerous gyms and fitness centres, including Prokout Fitness & Fight Center, Advoyer, and Four Seasons.
Daun Penh, especially the area along the river, is well-known for having a vibrant entertainment scene. The district hosts the highest concentration of bars and similar establishments in Phnom Penh.
As soon as the sun sets, Streets 51 and 172 come alive, as the many nightclubs, pubs, bars and other entertainment joints in the area open their doors to customers, both locals and foreigners. The dancing, singing, and drinking last well until the morning.
The most well-known in Daun Penh’s nightlife scene include Pontoon, Vito Club, The Wall, and The Red Fox. The Phnom Penh Pub Street is also a good place to hang out at night.
Safe, but beware of petty criminals
While Daun Penh is generally a safe place, phone snatchings and other petty crimes targeting foreigners do happen from time to time in the district, especially in the area close to the riverside. Serious crimes, however, are rare.
The next ‘Orchard Road’
From what everybody hears and see, investors are not discouraged by the hefty price tag for land and other property in Daun Penh. In fact, the opposite is happening. More and more local and foreign investors are investing heavily or developing major property in the district and surrounding areas.
Barring some unexpected disaster or tragedy, the next few years point to Daun Penh becoming the most progressive and developed strip of Phnom Penh.
Many people say that Daun Penh will become the "next Orchard Road”, referring to the iconic shopping and tourism belt in neighbouring Singapore that is famous the world over.
What do you think? Is real estate for sale in Daun Penh overpriced?