When planning your Cambodia Tour, the unmissable place to visit is, of course, the Angkor Wat Complex. But many people tend to not give its right worth to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh and today we want to tell you why you should make some time on your itinerary and add at least a 1 or 2 days trip to Phnom Penh.
When in Phnom Penh, the capital, you will get to uncover the dark history of Cambodia and immerse yourself in the markets, monuments and cultural performances of today. Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s busy capital, sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. It used to be the hub for the Khmer Empire and the French colonialists. One of its characteristics and the most pleasant place is the walkable riverfront, lined with parks, restaurants, and bars.
We have made a list of attractions for you to have the complete Khmer experience when visiting Phnom Penh.
Interesting Things To Do In Cambodia’s Capital Of Phnom Penh
Visit the Beautiful Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda
This place is right in the heart of Phnom Penh and it is definitely a must-see-place. The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda complex is the official residence of the Cambodian royalty. Though several parts of the site are off limits to visitors, you can still get a good sense of the opulence and grandeur of the complex. The Silver Pagoda reveals many religious relics, including a highly revered Emerald Buddha. Several other buildings show interesting displays, including one dedicated to chariots and carriages, another of ancient pottery, and one with traditional clothing and artifacts. Our tip is to watch the sunset there, for a beautiful scene.
Pay Your Respects At Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre
The Killing Fields of Cheung Ek is situated 15 kilometers south-west of Phnom Penh and were first made famous by the film of the same name. It was a place where more than 17,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves; many of them transported here after detention and torture in Toul Sleng. This place is a chilling reminder of the brutalities of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. It is good to mention that this place might not be suitable for children of very sensitive people. But it is a very historic and profound place to relive history.
Visit The Picturesque Wat Phnom Temple On Top Of A Hill
The Wat Phnom temple is located on a grassy ar
tificial hill. It was built in 1372 and stands 27 meters (88.5 ft) above the ground. The temple contains various religious items, with both Cambodian Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism reflected in the style of the statues, artwork, and designs. There’s a lovely short walking trail next to the temple and pretty gardens at the bottom. Don’t miss the large clock at street level. Inside are bright modern murals that just about glow in the dark, depicting the lives of the Buddha and other stories.
The Wat Phnom is a beautiful Buddhist temple worth the climbing as once there you won’t feel that you are in Phnom Penh as the temple is very quiet and peaceful.
Stroll Along The Riverside By The Tonle Sap
Phnom Penh’s riverside area is a lively hangout area where you can spot locals, expats and tourists alike. At daytime, the riverside is a pleasant place for a stroll in the sunshine. And when evening falls, the area takes on even more energy as more people arrive, street vendors set up their food carts, and many people go out to eat or have a drink around here. Numerous bars and restaurants line the street alongside the river and you have a great choice for local and foreigner food.
Shop at Central Market and the Russian Market
If you are keen on markets, in Phnom Penh these two are the biggest. The Central Market is housed in an interesting Art Deco building and it is one of Phnom Penh’s main bustling markets. There, you can find clothing, footwear, jewelry but also things like fish and dried goods or household utensils.
The Russian market, on the other hand, is a great market to visit if you like shopping as they sell almost anything you can think of. But people don’t come exclusively for buying, but also to taste good Khmer specialties in the food stalls!
Check our Cambodia Travel Guide to have some more inspiration on what to eat in Cambodia.
Tuk-Tuk Ride Along the City’s Top Places
A tuk-tuk ride along the city’s most famous monuments is a great way of seeing the capital if you don´t have a lot of time there. Enjoying a tuk-tuk ride is also a must-have experience when in Cambodia. There are many monuments and statues around Phnom Penh´s wide streets and roundabouts. Among there is the pagoda-like independence Monument celebrating their independence from French colonial rule or the statue of King Father Norodom Sihanouk that pays homage to the country’s former king.
If you wish to book a tuk-tuk tour with us, contact our team here.
Watch a traditional dance show at the Cambodian Living Arts
Performed in a small theatre within the grounds of the National Museum, the Cambodian Living Arts’ dance show is a performance that showcases traditional Cambodian dance, with music and typical costumes. The show is beautifully represented, a little humorous, moving, and very esthetic. Just about right for a perfect night in Phnom Penh.
We hope you have enough information to be convinced of the variety of activities and the beauty of Phnom Penh’s monuments and riverside, as well as all of the authentic discoveries you can find when visiting Cambodia’s capital.
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