Phnom Penh was founded in 1434 to succeed Angkor Thom as the capital of Khmer nation. It was once known as the “Pearl of Asia” with wide boulevards, impressive French colonial buildings, a cultural and historical center.
Being a buzzing place, coming Phnom Penh, visitors are immersed in exciting architecture, amazing tuk tuk tours as well as trying café culture and delicious cuisine. Bustling markets, history museums as well as ancient monuments will give you insights into this beautiful city. Especially, you will have chance to discover the mighty Mekong River, Tonle Sap Lake to understand about the local lifestyle here as well as discovering diverse fauna and flora because it lies at the confluence of Mekong Delta, Tonle Sap Lake and Bassic River.

Being the cultural commercial and political center in the country, Phnom Penh is considered as the biggest and wealthiest city in Cambodia. Located in south-central region and covering an area of 345 sq km. Phnom Penh is the confluence of the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassic rivers.

When is the best time to visit Phnom Penh?

The ideal time of the year to visit Phnom Penh is during December and January, which are the driest, least humid and coolest months. The Water Festival is the biggest festival in the Cambodia calendar and occurs on the full moon in the middle of November.

How to get to Phnom Penh?

By flight: the best way to reach Phnom Penh is by air. There is Phnom Penh International Airport, located 7km west of the city and a lot of Asian airlines fly to and from Phnom Penh.

By Bus: You can travel to Phnom Penh from nearby cities like Siem Reap, Battambang, etc by bus. There are two bus stations in the city: one near the Central Market, and another near the Night Market.

By Waterways: You can reach Phnom Penh from Siem Reap and Mekong Delta (Vietnam) by ferries.

Local transport in Phnom Penh: The most popular way to get around city by tuk-tuk or remork-moto, cyclo or motorbike or taxi.

What to see and do in Phnom Penh?

Royal Palace: Constructed over a century a ago to serve as the residence of the King of Cambodia, Royal Palace is one of the most popular places to visit in Phnom Penh. The Royal Palace complex and attached “Silver Pagoda” compound consist of several buildings, structures and gardens all located within 500*800 meter walled grounds overlooking a riverfront park.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum: The most notorious of the 189 known interrogation centers in Cambodia was S-21 prison, housed in a former school and now called Toul Sleng Genocide Museum for the hill on which it stands. It is believed that about 14,000 to 17,000 prisoners were detained there, often in brick cells buil in former classrooms. And only about 12 prisoners survived. Toul Sleng Genocide Museum is a place to understand about Khmer Rouge in the past. Located in the heart of Phnom Penh, it preserves a tragic period in history with the aim to encourage visitors to be messengers of peace.

The Killing Fields: At the edge of Phnom Penh is Choeung Ek – also known as the Killing Fields – where 17,000 prisoners from S-21 were killed. The Khmer Rouge are said to have executed more than a million people here between 1975 and 1979. Nowadays, the outdoor green space is a tranquil spot and it’s an important place to learn about this tragic time in history. A memorial made up of more than 8,000 skulls was added to the site in the 1980s.

Wat Phnom is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Phnom Penh, and its location is said to be where the name of the city originates from. In 1372, the wealthy widow called Lady Penh found a tree floating down the river containing four bronze Buddha statues and a stone statue of Vishnu. She subsequently raised the height of a hill near her house and built a temple on it to house the Buddhas and Vishnu statues. The temple became known as Wat Phnom, while Phnom Penh literally means ‘Penh’s Hill’. Nowadays, the 27-metre high hill is the only hill in the city. The temple is regularly visited by locals, who come to pay their respects and pray for good luck. Impressive artworks, monuments and artefacts are all on display too.

The Independence Monument is also worth visiting. It celebrates Cambodia’s independence from France in 1953 and is designed as a 57-metre high stupa in a lotus design. When any national celebrations and festivals are taking place, this is a spot in the city many people flock to in order to celebrate.

Source: Collected

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