Phnom Penh Attractions
Phnom Penh retains its former charm as a leafy South East Asian capital with a nice riverside promenade and numerous beautiful Cambodian Buddhist wats, palaces, and other artifacts.
A large infrastructure catering to tourists makes it easily accessible, and many consider it to be one of the friendliest capitals in Asia, as Cambodians have not yet become jaded by mass tourism.
Below you will find some of the city's "must-sees" - in addition we suggest just jumping in a tuk-tuk and soaking up the atmosphere of the "Charming City"!
The Olympia Mall is ideally located in the heart of Phnom Penh city.
Surrounded by premium residential and commercial buildings it promises to deliver an unprecedented “Food and Entertainment” experience
The Olympic Market was built in 1994 and is a local favorite with shoppers looking for wholesale fabrics, everyone day wear, religious paraphernalia and traditional Khmer dresses.
Buyers can look forward to big discounts in this market especially if they are buying in bulk.
The market is well laid out and is one of the more modern multi-story market complexes. Buyer should definitely give this market a visit.
In Cambodian called Psar Thmei - "New Market" it is a 1930s Art Deco covered market near the Riverfront (Sisowath Quay) district.
The market is well set out, and sells everything from flowers to video games.
It has recently been beautifully renovated and its architecture alone is worth admiring.
Opened in September 2009, City Mall is a western-style mall in Phnom Penh.
The 3-floor mall contains a number of clothing stores, a branch of Lucky Supermarket, some electronics, as well as a couple of local pizza, hamburger and coffee outlets.
There is also a Japanese restaurant on the third floor.
The O'Russey Market, (in Cambodian called Psar O'Russey) is very popular with the locals, particularly for buying bicycles and uniforms.
Anything you can think of (stationery, jewelry, business shirts) is sold here, wholesale.
Definitely worth a visit for the thrifty shopper.
Built in the 1960s for an Asian Games that never happened, this is an interesting complex in a modern style.
The new owners have recently renovated it and it has begun to be used once again as a venue.
In the evenings a walk around the top perimeter is worthwhile: you can see hundreds attending exercise and dance classes, and get a view of the abandoned track below.
There is also an Olympic-size swimming pool and diving pool with a 10-metre platform open to the public opposite the main building, across the track.
An attractive boulevard running along the banks of the Mekong and Tonle Sap.
It's fronted by a large, long open space with manicured lawns, palm trees and open pathways. The built-up side of the street is home to cafés and shops and the better class of bar, and is popular with tourists and expat Westerners.
The esplanade along the river is also popular with Cambodians, who come here in the cool of the evening to enjoy the quasi-carnival atmosphere.
It begins at the riverfront park opposite the Royal Palace, and is perhaps best experienced in the early evening. Dawn at Sisowath Quay is also a busy time, with locals doing calisthenics in front of the Royal Palace, and the sun rising over the river.
The Royal Palace
The Palace grounds include two magnificent pagodas: the Silver Pagoda and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
They were built in the 19th century with French technology and Cambodian designs, and have survived the traumas of the 20th century surprisingly well intact.
See them early in the day before it gets too hot.
In general, the Palace complex has a more structured, formal, organized and harmonious layout with a clear and specific architectural style compared to that in Bangkok, which has more styles.
The name means "Hill Temple".
The temple itself is notable more for its historic importance than physical structure, but the park is a pleasant green space and a popular gathering place for locals.
A few monkeys keep quarters there as well and will help themselves to any drinks you leave unattended!
Walk up the steps into a perfect little temple with some outstanding murals.
The National Museum of Cambodia
Contains an excellent collection of art from Cambodia's "golden age" of Angkor, and a lovely courtyard at the centre.
A main attraction is the statue of King Jayavarman VII (1181-1219) in mediation pose; other exhibits worth seeing include graceful statues of Hindu gods, ancient stelae (tablets) inscribed in Sanskrit and Old Khmer, and artefacts from a prehistoric burial site.
In the middle of the courtyard is the original statue of the "Leper King" (actually Yama, the Hindu god of death) from the Terrace of the Leper King in Angkor Archaeological Park.
The pleasant little park in front of the Museum is the site of the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony, at which the success or otherwise of the coming harvest is predicted.
Independence and Liberation memorials
Impressive Buddhist-style Independence Memorial, commemorating the departure of the French in 1953, dominates the centre of the city.
Nearby is the Stalin-style Liberation Memorial, marking the Vietnamese capture of the city in 1979.
The area is especially popular on weekend nights with locals when the multi-coloured fountains are activated and communal music is played
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison)
A school converted into Cambodia's most important prison in 1975. More than 14,000 people were tortured here before being killed here or at the Killing Fields; only 8 prisoners survived.
The museum is easily accessible and a must-see for everyone interested in Cambodia's horrific recent past.
The infamous "skull map" has been dismantled, although there are still skulls stacked in cabinets, implements of torture and disturbing photographs of people dying.
The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
A former Chinese cemetery, this is where the Khmer Rouge killed many thousands of their victims during their four-year reign of terror.
Today the site is marked by a Buddhist stupa packed full with over 8,000 human skulls - the sides are made of glass so the visitors can see them up close.
here are also pits in the area where mass graves were unearthed, with ominous scraps of clothing still to be found here and there.
It is a serene yet somber place. Recommended to visit after learning more about the Khmer Rouge terror at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.