In a congested city where public space is in short supply, Phnom Penh residents have often had to look further afield for new areas in the capital to spend their leisure time. Often, that has meant crossing bridges from the mainland to nearby islands – among them Koh Pich (Diamond Island) and Koh Dach (Silk Island), one a satellite island, the other a rural escape home to a number of silk-weaving collectives.
Of these riverside idylls, the peninsula currently making the news is Chroy Changvar, a magnet for huge investment in the city. Situated between the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap River, it was initially connected to the mainland in the mid-1960s, but soon afterwards, its development met with a lengthy period of stagnation. Now, though, the land – once just a marshy swamp that seemed to bear little promise – is one of the most sought-after districts in Phnom Penh. Its rapid resurgence in the last decade has led to construction of all kinds, most notably the sports complex that plays host to the 2023 Southeast Asian Games.
Here’s a rundown of the must-see places and must-do activities around Chroy Changvar, currently one of the hottest and most happening areas in the capital of Cambodia.
It’s hosting Cambodia’s biggest-ever sporting event and is home to the country’s finest sports complex
This month, the SEA Games came to Cambodia for the first time. Hosting the prestigious event has been momentous for the nation, which had never staged an international sporting event of this magnitude. The centerpiece is a 60,000-seat, Chinese-funded Morodok Techo National Stadium, officially inaugurated last December. An ambitious structure loaded with symbolism, it has a 99-meter prow at either end in tribute to the boats that transported the earliest Chinese settlers to Cambodia, and is also surrounded by a moat – a visual allusion to Angkor Wat.