Sisowath Quay, hugging the river for nearly 4km from the Chroy Chung Va Bridge to Chatomuk Theatre, is the heart of the tourist scene in Phnom Penh, with a weekend night market and a plethora of Western bars and restaurants close to the Royal Palace and National Museum. From Street 106, midway along, the quay forms a broad promenade extending almost 2km south.
Every autumn, the river thrums with crowds flocking to the boat races and festivities of Bonn Om Toeuk. For the rest of the year, the riverfront is fairly quiet by day, when it’s a pleasant place to walk, and gets busier in the late afternoon when the locals come out to dah’leng – a term that means anything from a short stroll to an all-day trip out of town. At about 5pm, the pavements around the public garden by the Royal Palace turn into a huge picnic ground as mats are spread out, food and drink vendors appear and impromptu entertainment begins.