Phnom Penh offers a heady mix of bustling city life and a sincere cultural experience. Once revered as the Pearl of Asia, this lovely French colonial city suffered significantly at the hands of the Khmer Route. Yet, you can still find relics from the city’s golden era around every corner, from the sparkling spires of the Royal Palace and friendly saffron-clad monks, to the picturesque waterfront and architectural gems of a bygone era. Phnom Penh has risen from its ashes like the proverbial phoenix in the last few decades has become a harmonious blend of the past and present, tempered with delicious Khmer and French cuisine.
Visit Udong, the former capital between 1618-1866, home to impressive Khmer architecture. The ruins are scattered over 2 ridges – the smaller having 2 ruined buildings, several stupas and Ta San Mosque remains. Around the ruins are smaller yet intact pagodas, stupas and Buddha statues.
Situated 17km from Phnom Penh, Cheung Ek became famous by the movie ‘The Killing Fields’, a graphic depiction of the horrors that took place. Now, a large memorial has been built to commemorate the 17,000 victims who died here under the reign of Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot. The remnants inside the memorial and the mass graves dotting the area, are a journey into Cambodia’s past suffering under the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge regime, and allows you to appreciate the struggles of the Cambodians.
Explore the finest examples of Khmer architecture with this marvellous city tour. The Royal Palace is a grand building overlooking a tranquil plaza and still houses Cambodia’s royalty, King Sihamoni. On the south side of the palace lies the Silver Pagoda, which is aptly named as it has been crafted out of 5,329 solid silver tiles. Wander along to Wat Preah Keo Morokat, the Buddhist temple where Royal ceremonies are performed, or Wat Phmom, the namesake of the city. You can also visit The National Museum, which houses many fascinating and historical relics, and King Ang Doung Stupa, the burial site of King Norodom Sihanouk, the 20th century monarch. To respect local customs, please dress conservatively.
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