The name Phnom Penh means Penh’s Hill, referring to the hill on which an iconic Buddhist temple stands.
Nicknames for Phnom Penh include Pearl of Asia, The Charming City and Paris of the East reflecting the fine French architecture found in Phnom Penh.
Research website numbeo ranks Phnom Penh in the bottom 2% compared to the 250 cities evaluated on its overall quality of life index at June 2020. Phnom Penh scored poorly on index factors such as purchasing power (weakest 1%), property price to income ratio (highest 4%), health care (lowest 9%), pollution (worst 10%) and safety (23% most dangerous). On the positive side, Phnom Penh rates relatively well on traffic commute time (fastest 30%) and cost of living (least expensive 41%).
Phnom Penh was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the site where the longest hand-woven scarf ever was created. Made entirely from cotton and in one-piece traditional Cambodian style, the scarf was 3,772 feet 3 inches (1,149.8 meters) long.
Another Guinness World Record was set in Phnom Penh when Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports conducted the world’s largest practical business seminar attended by 2,304 participants.
Cambodia’s capital city is home to Southeast Asia’s sixth-largest sporting venue–named the Phnom Penh National Olympic Stadium–despite the facility has not yet hosted an Olympic event.
The most popular museums in Phnom Penh are its National Museum which showcases the country’s history and archeology as well as music and dance celebrations, and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which was previously a Khmer Rouge prison.
Phnom Penh has a hot tropical climate with temperatures consistently around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.22 degrees Celsius).
From an international trade perspective, Cambodia exported an estimated US$14.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. Its most valuable exports include clothing and accessories (55.9% of Cambodia’s global total), footwear (8.6%), leather articles (7.4%), rice (2.8%), bicycles and other non-motorized cycles (also 2.8%), tanned or dressed furskins (2%), and insulated wire or cable (1.7%) according to the International Trade Centre.
Capital Facts for Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Phnom Chisor Temple, Central Market and Sisowath Quay
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
- Francois Chau, actor (born Oct. 26, 1959)
- Sam Rainsy, former finance minister (born Mar. 10, 1949)
- Alain Fiard, soccer/football coach (born Sep. 17, 1958)
- Miss Pich Lifestyle, YouTube star (born Dec. 6, 2001)
- Norodom Buppha Devi, princess (born Jan. 8, 1943)
- Pa Socheatvong, governor (born Jul. 1, 1957)
- Norodom Sihanouk, former Cambodian king (born Oct. 31, 1922)
- Pisith Pilika, actress (born Feb. 4, 1965)
- Pung Kheav Se, executive director Canadia bank (born 1944)
- Kep Chuktema, former governor & mayor (born Feb. 7, 1951)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a Phnom Penh resident: Phnom Penher
Population: 2,077,757 (Phnom Penh) at August 20, 2020
Density: 7,930 people per square mile (3,060 per square kilometer)
Population: 16,752,092 (Cambodia) at August 20, 2020
Density: 245 people per square mile (95 per square kilometer)
Median age for all Cambodia: 25.6 years old
Khmer is the official language used in Phnom Penh, although English and French are widely used in the capital city.
GDP: US$76.9 billion for 2019 (Cambodia)
GDP per person: $4,664
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for Phnom Penh were unavailable.
Official currency used in Phnom Penh: Cambodian riel
Atlas & Boots, The World’s Most Expensive Cities for Expats 2016.
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas.
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, East & Southeast Asia: Cambodia .
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition.
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition.
Guinness World Records, Largest practical business seminar.
Guinness World Records, Longest hand-woven scarf (team).
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Numbeo, Quality of Life Index by City.
Official Government Website, Phnom Penh Capital Hall.
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags.
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, Phnom Penh.
WorldOMeter, Cambodia Population.
World Population Review, Phnom Penh Population.
Cambodia separated from France on November 9, 1953. Cambodians celebrate Independence Day as a public holiday each November 9.
Phnom Penh’s land area occupies 262 square miles (679 square kilometers), within which an estimated 2.1 million people lived at August 20, 2020.
At the country level, Cambodia’s land area covers 68,155 square miles (176,520 square kilometers), home to 16.8 million dwellers in August 2020.
Population density is more concentrated within Phnom Penh averaging 7,930 inhabitants per square mile (3,060 per square kilometer).
Zooming out to national land boundaries, Cambodia’s population density drops to 245 residents per square mile (95 per square kilometer).