Top 5 Places to Visit in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Top 5 Places to Visit in Phnom Penh Reviews
Oct 16, 2006
Phnom Penh is rather a small city compared to it's neighbours and other Asian countries. However Phnom Penh is still unique and charming. It lacks the modern day sky scraper but the Government are currently working with international companies to improve and expand Phnom Penh.
So if you wanted to visit the little Phnom Penh city before all the changes take place, now is the best bet. As they have already started Area 1 of the proposed Camkor Satellite city within a city project!
The TOP 5 places within Phnom Penh to visit would be:
1. Royal Palace - built in the 19th Century, goes by the full name of Preah Barum Reachea Vaeng Chaktomuk in Khmer. It is located on the riverfront where the three rivers meet. The ground consists of some very interesting architecture and of the unique and world famed Silver Pagoda. The Silver Pagoda got it's name from the 5000 Silver tiles laid on the ground. A few of the other structures within the grounds are the Khemarain Palace, Chan Chhaya Pavilian, the Theatre, Royal Dining Hall and a French styled building given as a gift by Napoleon III.
2. National Museum - located near the Royal Palace, the National Museum is currently housing the most Khmer/Angkor artefacts. It houses all styles of Khmer art from the Funan period through to Contemporary. However it is being dwarfed in size with the new Angkor Museum in Siemreap which will surely take some of the better pieces from the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
3. Tuol Sleng Museum - Tuol Sleng Museum was a former High School in Phnom Penh, until it was transformed into a Torture Prison during the Communist years of the Khmer Rouge. During the Khmer Rouge 17,000 people were imprisoned and only 7 survived. Men, woman and even children were imprisoned, tortured, starved and then killed once they told the prison guards what they wanted to hear, even if they had to make up the stories so they would stop torturing them. Once they told their stories they were then loaded onto trucks like cattle and taken to the infamous Killing Fields on the outskirts of town and were systematically killed with a bludgeon blow to the back of the head.
4. Russian Market - Or also known as Psar Tuol Tompoung, is where you can find many bargains. This local market sells everything from souveniers to food, clothes and even electronics and jewerly. Local handicrafts, small and large can be bargained down to next to nothing, if you bargain with a smile and with an easy and friendly joking attitude.
5. Wat Phnom - Located at the very centre of town, this little temple and stupa was originally built in 1373. The birth of Phnom Penh began here. According to legend, a old lady, Daun Penh, saw some Buddha statues floating along the river, she then fished them out and asked some of the locals to help build a hill and temple to house the statues in. That's also how Phnom Penh got her name, as the Khmers consider Daun Penh to be the founder of Phnom Penh City.
All in all there are a few other sites in and around Phnom Penh that are worthy of visiting, but unlike its neighboring countries it does lack some sites.
A few other sites include;
- the River Front
- Many of the original temples that were constructed in the 14th Century
- Wat Ounalom
- Wat Moha Montrei
- Psar Thmei - the New Market - one of the largest Domed structures in the world
- Independence Monument
- Boat cruise along the River
- Chrouy Changvar Bridge
- Royal University of Fine Arts
- The very few original buildings left from the 1960's (many are being destroyed, MODERN KHMER ARCHITECTURE being lost for cheap concrete constructions)
- The French Embassy
- The National Library
- Olympic Stadium
- Boueng Kak Lake - for Sunset and a few beers
- Chatomuk Theatre
- Khmer Classical Dance and Shadow Puppetry performance at Suvanaphum Art School
Part of the Southeast Asia 2006-07 travel blog
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