Biggest Cities In Cambodia

Phnom-Penh-city is the biggest city in Cambodia.
Phnom-Penh-city is the biggest city in Cambodia.

Cambodia is a nation in Southeast Asia situated between Thailand and Vietnam on the Gulf of Thailand. The country covers an area of 69,898 square miles, and its estimated population is 15,957,200 residents. Most people in Cambodia reside in the countryside where they practice agriculture. A few Cambodians live in the cities where they participate in the trade or the thriving tourism industry. Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital and largest city, is home to around 1 in every 10 of the country's residents. Some of the big cities in Cambodia are Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap, and Kâmpóng Cham.

Biggest Cities In Cambodia

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia. It is the most populous city in the country with a population of more than 1.5 million residents. Phnom Penh is situated at the meeting point of the Tonle Sap River and Mekong River in the southern region of Cambodia. Initially, Angkor was the capital city of Cambodia. In the 15th century, an old lady discovered a tree floating on the river and drew the tree out of the water. Inside the tree were four Buddha statues and a Vishnu statue. The old lady viewed the discovery as a divine message to move the capital city from Angkor to Phnom Penh. In 1865, King Norodom established Phnom Penh as his administrative and commercial capital. The city was built around the Royal Palace. The city is a major contributor to Cambodia’s economy. The main economic activities in the city include garment trade, real estate developments, and tourism. Phnom Penh has the highest Human Development Index in Cambodia. Additionally, the city has a rapidly increasing population which is expected to strain the limited resources in the city in future.


Battambang is on the banks of Sangkae River in the Northwestern region of Cambodia. The city has an estimated population of 196,700 residents. It was established as a major trading city in the 18th century. When France colonized Cambodia in the early 20th century, they modernized the city by creating a clear urban layout for Battambang. Two bridges were built across the Sangkae River, and a railway line connecting Battambang to Phnom Penh was built. Later, the rail line was extended to Poipet on the Thai border. Garment factories, schools, exhibition centers, and museums were some of the establishments in the city. The Battambang region has remained the largest rice producer in Cambodia. The city’s main attractions include the Baset temple, Sek Sak Resort, Battambang Circus, and Kamping Puoy Lake. The majority of the occupants of Battambang are of Khmer origin. There are a few Chinese traders and Vietnamese people in the city.

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a tourist city in the North West of Cambodia. The city has a population of close to 189, 300 residents. The name ‘Siem Reap’ loosely translates to ‘defeat of Siem.' Legend has it that King Ang Chan of Cambodia gave the city its name after successfully repulsing an army invasion from Thailand in the 16th century. The Siem Reap region is comprised of a cluster of tiny villages along the River Siem Reap. In the city, are numerous hotels, resorts, restaurants, and businesses that support the tourism industry. The city acts as the gateway to the world famous Angkor ruins. Among the attractions in Siem Reap are the floating villages. A large expatriate community resides in Siem Reap.

Kâmpóng Cham

Kâmpóng Cham is situated on the right banks of the Mekong River in the south-central region of Cambodia. It has a population of more than 118,700 residents. The city was established in the early 20th century after the discovery of the fertile grounds near the Chub Hill area. A privately owned rubber plantation was started in the area in 1921. The area developed into an agricultural region with rice farms, cotton plantations, fruit trees, maize farms among others growing in Kâmpóng Cham. The Kizuna Bridge connects Kâmpóng Cham to Tbong khmum district on the other side of the Mekong. The city thrives on fishing along the Mekong River. Another economic activity in the city is the timber industry from the ironwood, rosewood, and rubber trees in the area. Overfishing threatens the fish in the Mekong River. Equally, trees in the area have reduced due to the uncontrolled logging. Conservationists need to establish rules to help in preserving the wildlife and vegetation in Kâmpóng Cham.

Threats To Cambodian Cities

Cambodian cities are popular tourist destinations. The cities host millions of visitors every year. As a result of the growing tourism sector, the cities have experienced rapid development. The uncontrolled development may lead to the depletion of resources such as fish in the rivers and natural vegetation. The Cambodian authorities need to ensure that the development of the cities is sustainable.

Biggest Cities In Cambodia

Rank Biggest Cities in Cambodia Population in 2008 Census
1 Phnom Penh 1,242,992
2 Ta Khmau 195,898
3 Battambang 180,853
4 Serei Saophoan 181,396
5 Siem Reap 174,265
6 Kampong Cham 118,242
7 Poipet
8 Preah Sihanouk 89,447
9 Chbar Mon 54,505
10 Kampot 48,274

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