Phnom Penh

The capital of Phnom Penh The capital of Phnom Penh offers tourists a combination of Asian typical characteristics, the gracefulness of ...

The capital of Phnom Penh

The capital of Phnom Penh offers tourists a combination of Asian typical characteristics, the gracefulness of Indochina and the hospitality of the Cambodian people. Located on the confluence of three major rivers: the Mekong, the Bassac and the Tonle Sap river,Phnom Penh is known as a city of three rivers that Khmer called by strange names “Chaktomuk” or four faces. In addition to the capital of theKingdom of Cambodia, Phnom Penh is the center of politics, economy and trade of the country.


The French influence can be felt today in the city, a legacy of a 90 year period that saw the construction of many lovely colonial era residences for French administrators. However, Phnom Penh’s era of modern development and planning took place after independence in 1953, with the addition of tree lined avenues, gardens with fountains and several distinctive monuments reflecting the city’s new found sense of freedom. Nowadays Phnom Penh is a vibrant and bustling capital city with around 2,000,000 residents with motorbikes and cars and a culture of sidewalk cafes established in recent years.

Considered a fairly risky venture, the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh is slowly-evolving city that carries the weight of the Khmer genocide on its back. Phnom Penh-ites rise early. Be prepared to be awakened by the strains of Buddhist music playing in the street, motorbikes tooting their horns, and a rooster crowing. Of course, when one goes to Cambodia, one has to go to Siem Reap (about four hours drive from Phnom Penh) to visit the Angkor Wat and the other ancient temples. But the capital Phnom Penh also has a lot to offer on its own.

One of the favorite tourist places in Phnom Penh is the Royal Palace, which could rival the palaces in other Asian countries as well as in Europe. Built in 1866 by King Norodom, the Royal Palace is now home to His Majesty Sihamoni, King of Cambodia. Located within the Royal Palace compound, the Silver Pagoda is so named because of its floor, which is made up of 5,000 silver tiles. On display inside are hundreds of Royal gifts received by the Royal family over the years. Among the Treasures are a solid gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds and weighing 90 kilos and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha. There is also the National Museum which houses Angkorian artifacts. The Museum was opened in 1920, and displays over 5,000 objects ranging from Angkor-era statuary to post-Angkor Buddha figures. Outside the Museum, a large selection of art galleries can be found on Street. In order to explore Cambodia’s dark history during the Khmer Rouge era, visitors should visit the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields. These sites are witness to the horrific and brutal period of the Khmer Rouge regime. The Independence Monument (Vimean Ekareach) was built in 1958 for Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. It stands on the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard in the centre of the city. It is in the form of a lotus-shaped stupa, of the style seen at the great Khmer temple at Angkor Wat and other Khmer historical sites.

One place which most of tourists always enjoy is the Toul Tompong (or the Russian Market) where you could buy Cambodian souvenirs such as semi-precious stones, silk, silver, and wood products. Garments is one of Cambodia’s major exports and tourists could also buy authentic branded clothes such as Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, etc. from this market at rock-bottom prices. The waterfront of the city has been rejuvenated in recent years and now countless al fresco restaurants and bars, with views stretching across the Mekong, have made this area one of the Indochina’s in vogue ‘places to be’. Outside Phnom Penh is a choice of pleasant half day and full day trips to ancient hilltop temples with far reaching vistas and enchanting countryside waiting to be explored.

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