Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s biggest and wealthiest city. It’s known as the commercial, political, and cultural center of the Asian nation and is home to about a million people. The city’s approximately 260 square miles in size and sits in the nation’s south-central area, close to the Mekong, Bassac, and Tonle Sap Rivers. There are numerous historical and cultural sites to visit such as museums, temples, and the Royal Palace. There are plenty of accommodations and restaurants in all price ranges and a vibrant nightlife. These are some of the most popular attractions in the magnificent city of Phnom Penh.
1. Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom sits just to the north of the city on top of a hill. The site has been rebuilt and restored several times since the 15th century with the last time being in 1926. It’s a well-known symbol of Phnom Penh and is a place where residents visit to meditate and pray.
2. Wat Ounalom
Wat Ounalom enables visitors to experience the history, philosophies, and spiritual teachings of Buddhism in Cambodia. It’s the oldest and most prominent of the nation’s 5 pagodas and is recognized as the center of Cambodian Buddhism. It is also the home of the Mahanikai School of Buddhism’s patriarch.
3. The Tuol Sleng Museum and Choeung Ek Killing Fields
The tragic history of Cambodia can be witnessed in the nation’s war museum. It will hopefully alert people to the tragedy of war as it explains what went on during a dark part of Cambodia’s long history.
4. The Royal Palace
This Throne Hall was built in Khmer-style back in 1866. It was used by the King of Cambodia as a residence. It housed his family as well as foreign dignitaries. The magnificent palace was also used to host rituals and court ceremonies which symbolized the kingdom of Cambodia.
5. Sisowath Quay
Sisowath Quay is a wonderful two-mile long boulevard which sites between the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. It’s regarded as one of the city’s most vibrant areas and is filled with luxury hotels and modern cafes, bars, boutiques, and restaurants.
6. The Phnom Tamao Zoo
When visiting Phnom Penh, you should really make sure you take the time to visit the Phnom Tamao Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Centre. This is the biggest wildlife sanctuary and zoo in Cambodia and is situated about 45 minutes from the city.
7. The Phnom Penh Central Market
The Central Market is known by local residents as the Phsah Thmei, which translates into new market in English. It’s one of Phnom Penh most popular landmarks and features some of the city’s most beautiful architecture. This bustling spot is a great place to test your haggling prowess.
8. The National Museum of Arts
Phnom Penh’s National Museum of Arts is Cambodia’s biggest cultural history and archeological museum. It features a look into the nation’s culture and history and some of the items on display date back as far the 4th century.
9. Mekong Island
Mekong Island is also known as Koh Dach and is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a while. It’s located about 10 miles north of Phnom Penh and offers wonderful views of vegetable farms, fruit orchards, and rice paddies. It’s a wonderful location to enjoy a picnic or daytrip and soak in some authentic culture.
10. The Independence Monument
The Independence Monument is also known as Vimean Ekareach, which is what it’s called in Khmer. This fantastic structure is one of the most prominent in the city center. It was originally built to celebrate the liberation of Cambodia from France, who ruled the nation between 1863 and 1953.