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Phnom Penh: My stay at Naga World

Naga World is a huge casino resort/entertainment complex near the river and Diamond Island in Phnom Penh. Compared to other 5-star accommodation in the city, Naga World is usually only around half the price, so when I was in Phnom Penh last time, I decided to give Naga a try. I had a lot of work to do, so when I checked in I told the receptionist that I needed a quiet room with good wifi, and that was what I got. My room was on the 13th floor and far from the escalator (which can be noisy) with a beautiful view of the city.

Naga World is first and foremost a casino, and the main reason why people come here is to gamble. There are many dining opportunities but the good places are pricey and the others do not really impress. I liked the Hong Kong restaurant which serves a nice breakfast for $6, and the teppanyaki restaurant, which has a decent set menu, but unless you have won big in the casino, you would probably find it overpriced. The food court was very cheap and it was open around the clock, but I got sick after having a bowl of noodles there, so I kept away for the rest of my visit.

The gym is located in Naga 1, which is the oldest of the two Naga buildings. It is a nice and well-equipped gym, with very enthusiastic staff. While I was on the treadmill one of the staff members came over and increased the inclination to max, which was quite annoying, and nothing I had asked him to do. Later on, he kept commenting on my weightlifting technique, until I told him that I would prefer to just do my thing, and do it in silence.

The resort’s rooftop pool is also at Naga 1, and the view up there is amazing. I would have liked to spend more time up there, but this Chinese guy kept taking photos of me, which was rather disturbing, so after shouting at him and demanding that he deleted everything, I left. 

Smoking is allowed everywhere in the casino area and in the lobby, so even though I had a non-smoking room, I could still smell cigarette smoke in my clothes after walking through the lobby and the gambling area to get to my room. Gambling is illegal for Khmer people, so it is the Chinese tourists that make up the bulk around the gambling tables, and my impression is that the large majority of the hotel guests at Naga world is also Chinese. 

The immediate neighborhood around Naga World is not very inspiring, but a short tuk-tuk ride will bring you to some of the city’s best restaurants, and nicest areas. My room was spacious and stylish, with all the comfort and amenities you would expect from a 5-star hotel. It is definitely great value for money, as long as you do not mind staying at a casino. Though if you are after a more authentic experience in Phnom Penh there are better options out there.

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