Phnom Penh Cyclo Tour
The Phnom Penh cyclo tour from Grasshopper adventures takes you to some of the must-see sights and hidden gems around the city.
Cyclos, bicycles with a shaded seat in front, used to be common in Phnom Penh. This iconic mode of transport is dying out. When we first visited Phnom Penh in 2010, cyclos plied for riders along with tuktuks in the tourist areas. Now, you rarely see tuktuks except for the ones giving these tours.
Cambodian farmers looking to earn more money come to Phnom Penh. Those who have enough money, buy a tuktuk.The poorest, buy cyclos. Because new drivers arrive each year, many of the drivers don’t know where they’re going so it’s important to negotiate price first. Grasshopper Adventures Phnom Penh cyclo tours support some of the poorest men in the Cambodian transport industry.
The official Phnom Penh Cyclo Tour route has 26 stops. These include some of the more well known attractions such as the Raffles Hotel, the National Museum, The Royal Palace, Wat Phnom, Independence Monument and Central Market. They also take you to some less well known spots like the main post office (pictured above), the train station, and the back streets of the BKK1 neighborhood.
Cyclos move slowly, giving you time to absorb the sights and sounds and take photos if you like. You can tell your driver to stop whenever you like. Just say, “Sohm, chohp tee nee” (please stop here) This makes taking photos so much easier than buzzing around on a tuktuk. You can also download an audio tour to accompany your ride. Grasshopper adventures also rents phones with the audio tour already installed.
One part of the tour winds through the BKK1 neighborhood. Many embassy and NGO employees live here because this was the only district open to foreigners after Pol Pot. Street 51, also called Pasteur, is fast food alley. Every year, new fast food places open up on this street as you can see in the video below. The video starts with Independence Monument in the background, then the news stands and Wat Lanka followed by the fast food places. It ends with Hun Sen’s mistresses house at the end of the street.
Our cyclo drivers missed a turn at the beginning of the tour so we missed the first six stops. The cyclos are supposed to turn right at the first street past Grasshopper Tours. The corner of this street is the area where sugar cane from the country side is sold to the many vendors around the city.
Street vendors press sugar cane into a slightly sweet juice. They usually sell it in a plastic bag with a straw. Sometimes you can buy fresh sugar cane cubes. These are Becks’ favorite but vendors selling them are less and less common.
We also missed an coffee shop where local merchants go to make business deals and a Chinese noodle shop among other stops. We didn’t think to look at the app while we were riding because we thought the lead driver knew the way. I strongly recommend using the audio tour app as you go to keep the drivers honest.
For more information or to book your own tour, go to Grasshopper Adventures.