• River cruise
  • Northern Vietnam
  • Central Vietnam
  • Southern Vietnam
  • Day Trip
  • Beach Destination
  • Ecotourist Destination
  • Vietnam Discovery
  • Cambodia Wonders
  • Laos Highlights

Destinations

PHNOM PENH

Phnom Penh is the vibrant bustling capital and the largest city of Cambodia, situated at the confluence of three rivers: the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap. Phnom Penh has been the national capital since French colonization of Cambodia, and has grown to become the nation's center of economic and industrial activities, as well as the center of security, politics, cultural heritage and diplomacy of Cambodia.
Once known as the "Pearl of Asia", it was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina in the 1920s. 
The capital city still maintains considerable charm with plenty to see, reflecting a sort of provincial charm and tranquillity with French colonial mansions and tree-lined boulevards amidst monumental Angkorian architecture. Phnom Penh is a veritable oasis compared to the modernity of other Asian capitals.
 
 
 
Area: 678.46 sq.km
 
Population: 2,300,000 inhabitants
 
Topography: Phnom Penh is located in the south-central region of Cambodia, and is fully surrounded by the Kandal Province. The municipality is situated on the banks of the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac rivers. These rivers provide freshwater and other natural resources to the city. Phnom Penh and the surrounding areas consist of a typical flood plain area for Cambodia. Although Phnom Penh is situated at 11.89 metres above the river, monsoon season flooding is a problem and the river sometimes overflows its banks.
 
Administrative divisions: Phnom Penh is divided into 12 districts.
 
Climate: Phnom Penh has a tropical, wet and dry climate. The climate is hot year-round with only minor variations. Temperatures typically range from 22 to 350C and weather is subject to the tropical monsoons.
 
+ The southwest monsoon blows inland bringing moisture-laden winds from the Gulf of Thailand and Indian Ocean,  from May to October.
+ The northeast monsoon ushers in the dry season, which lasts from November to March. The city experiences the heaviest precipitation from September to October with the driest period in January and February.
 
The city has two distinct seasons:
 
+ The rainy season, which runs from May to October, sees high temperatures accompanied by high humidity.
+ The dry season lasts from November to April when temperatures can drop to 220C. But temperatures can approach 400C in April.
 
The best months to visit the city are November to February when temperatures, humidity and rainfall are lower.
 
 
Sights of interest
 
Inside the capital are many interesting tourist sites. Beside the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum, the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, the Choeng Ek Killing Fields and Wat Phnom, there are several market places selling carvings, paintings, silk, silver, gems and even antiques. Indeed, it’s an ideal destination for a leisurely day tour.
 
Royal Palace: The Royal Palace of Cambodia is a complex of buildings being built over one century ago to be the royal abode to the King of Cambodia, the royal family and the foreign guests. It’s also the place where take place the king’s audience, coronations and official ceremonies. The buildings with beautiful towering spires are a great example of classic Khmer architecture found in Cambodia today.
 
Along with numerous other interesting buildings within the 183,135 square meters (421m x 435m) compound is the Khemarin Palace, also known as Prasat Khemarin or the "Palace of the Khmer King." This is officially the residence of His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni.
 
The visit to the Royal Palace includes  the Throne Hall, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Stupas, a Royal Dining Hall, the Chan Chhaya Pavilion and a French-style building that was a gift from Napoleon III French King.
 
 
                                             Prasat  Khemarin                                                                       Throne  Hall
 
 
     Banquet  Hall                                                                               King Suramarit's  Stupa
 
Silver Pagoda, also called Emerald Pagoda: is located inside the Royal Palace complex. It is called Silver Pagoda as there are 5,329 tiles of silver inlaid on the floor, each tile of silver is handmade and weighs 1,125 grams. The pagoda has a cultural function and keeps precious religious objects more than a place of worship. There are over 1650 valuable objects in the pagoda. The statue of Buddha sit atop throne in the main temple is in emerald.
 
  
Silver  Pagoda
 
 
National Museum, located at the North of the Royal Palace, is the largest museum of cultural history and is the country's leading historical and archaeological museum.
 
The museum houses one of the world's largest collections of Khmer art, including sculptural, ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects. The Museum’s collection includes over 14,000 items, from prehistoric times to periods before, during, and after the Khmer Empire, which at its height stretched from Thailand across present-day Cambodia, to southern Vietnam. The Museum buildings, inspired by Khmer temple architecture, were constructed between 1917 and 1924, the museum was officially inaugurated in 1920, and renovated in 1968.
 
   
National  Museum 
 
 
Wat Phnom pagoda, translated as "hill temple" - is the tallest and most important temple in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. The temple, first constructed in 1373, was erected on a man made, 27-metre-tall mound overlooking the city. It is the tallest religious structure in the city. Legend relates that Daun Penh, a wealthy widow, found a large koki tree in the river. Inside the tree she found four bronze statues of the Buddha. Lady Penh constructed a small shrine on an artificial hill made by the people living in the village to protect the sacred statues. Eventually this became a sacred site and sanctuary where people would make blessings and pray.
 
 
 
Independence Monument. Built in 1958 as a memorial to Cambodia's war dead and to celebrate independence from foreign rule, the monument stands majestically on the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard in the centre of the city. It is designed by the influential Cambodian modern architect Vann Molyvann in the form of a lotus-shaped stupa in the same style seen at the great Khmer temple at Angkor Wat and other Khmer historical sites. The monument consists of five tiers decorated with 100 Nagas and is most impressive in the late afternoon hours when the sun casts shadows over the sculptures.Cambodia celebrates Independence Day on 9 November each year. On that day, His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni leads the annual jubilation by ceremoniously lighting a giant torch placed inside the monument in front of a huge spectator of high officials from the government, private sectors and members of the Cambodian public.
 
 
Independence  Monument
 
 
 
The Cambodia- Vietnam Friendship Monument  is a large concrete monument commemorating the former alliance between Vietnam and Cambodia. It was built in the late 1970s by the communist regime that took power after the Cambodian-Vietnamese War, which overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime.
 
The monument is located in the centre of Phnom Penh not far from the Royal Palace. It features heroic statues of Vietnamese and Cambodian soldiers in the "Socialist realist “ style developed in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, together with images of a woman and baby representing Cambodian civilians. The monument is in a popular park in the middle of the city.
 
 
 
Toul Sleng Genocide Museum: Prior to 1975, Toul Sleng was a high school. When the Khmer Rouge came to power, it was converted into the S-21 prison and interrogation facility. Inmates were systematically tortured to extract confessions, after which they were executed at the killing fields of Choeung Ek. S-21 processed over 17,000 people, only less than a dozen of whom survived. The building now serves as a museum, a memorial and a testament to the madness of the Khmer Rouge regime.
 
  
 
 
Choeng Ek Killing Fields, located about 17km south of Phnom Penh, Choeung Ek was once an orchard and a Chinese graveyard. It was used by the Khmer Rouge regime as an execution ground to put down thousands of people between 1975 and 1979. The site is now better known as the Killing Fields. Mass graves containing thousands of bodies were discovered at Choeung Ek after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. Many of the dead were former inmates in the Toul Sleng prison.
 
Today, Choeung Ek is a memorial, marked by a Buddhist stupa. The stupa has acrylic glass sides and is filled with more than 5,000 human skulls; many of which are either shattered or had evidently been smashed. It is believed that the Khmer Rouge soldiers kill their victims by smashing them on the head, in order to save on bullets.
 
Choeng  Ek  Killing  Fields  Memorial
 
 
Riverfront: the riverfront offers some of the city’s most interesting sites including dozens of pubs, galleries, cafes, restaurants and shops that sit along one side of Sisowath Quay overlooking the Chaktomuk (the confluence of the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers).The park-like riverside is a great place to absorb local flavours and watch the locals unwind and enjoy a late afternoon stroll on the esplanade. Early risers may wish to check out the spectacular sunrise over the river in front of the Royal Palace.
 
Sisowath  Quay overlooking the Chaktomuk 
 
 
Markets:
 
Old Market (Phsar Chas) Located on the river at the south end of the Old French Quarter, Old Market ( Phsar Chas), Phnom Penh is one of the popular markets open to the local people and the tourists as well. Phnom Penh Old Market is one of the most crowded markets in the city.
 
 
New market (Phsar Kandal) located on Street 13 in Phsar Kandal 1 Commune, Daun Penh district.
 
Kandal Market is a genuine local market in the center of Phnom Penh close to the riverside. The Khmer name of the market is Phsar Kandal which is translated to “market in the middle” or “central market”, not to be confused with the “real” Central Market, Phsar Thmey. Kandal Market does not look like much from the outside but when you get further in it is relatively clean and fresh, even though the walkways are small and narrow. The Market is filled with goods like clothes, jewelry, shoes, bags but the majority of it is fresh food for the locals.
 
The Market is open from early morning until late evening but some of the stalls inside the market close at 5-6pm.
 
 
                                               Phsar  Chas                                                                              Phsar  Thmey
 
Central Market (Phsar Thmey) is a unique colonial style building constructed in 1937. The actual location of the Central Market was once a swamp area and a lake. Today, this beautiful market has become a prominent landmark in Phnom Penh. In the Khmer language, Phsar Thmey literally means ‘New Market’.
 
Phsar Themey features a stylish Art Decor rotunda with wings extending in four different directions symbolizing the Chaktomouk (Confluence of four rivers). The Dome, symbolizing the economic center, is said to be amongst the largest in the world. The four broad wings constructed without obstructing pillars and the huge beamless dome are very well ventilated by the high ceiling.
 
This market is crowded with activity on any given day, and visitors can purchase almost anything from fresh produces to cooked food, jewelry, watches, shoes, stationery, flowers, clothes including t-shirts and lots of tourist souvenirs.
 
 
Russian Market (Phsar Toul Tom Poung): Toul Tum Poung market is often referred to as the Russian market because of its popularity among Russian expatriates during the 1980s. This market is popular to collectors of genuine antiques; also, for those looking for good reproductions.
 
Filled with stalls selling all kinds of souvenir items (silk scarves and bags, woodcarvings, etc.) and clothing, Toul Tum Poung is a well-frequented market among tourists.
 
    
 
                     
The Night Market: located in front of the Phsar Chas (Old Market) near the riverside, is perpetually crowded with tourists in search of a good bargain. At the moment, there are more than 150 stalls selling an array of items from clothing and ornaments to furniture and souvenirs. The entire setting of the Phnom Penh night market is made from natural material, and there are occasionally music performances and entertainment acts.
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