Phnom Penh, City Of Cambodia
Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia. Located on the banks of the Tonlé Sap and Mekong River, 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. Phnom Penh, along with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, are significant global and domestic tourist destinations for Cambodia. Founded in 1434, the city is noted for its beautiful and historical architecture and attractions. There are a number of surviving French colonial buildings scattered along the grand boulevards.
Situated on the banks of the Tonlé Sap, Mekong and Bassac rivers, the Phnom Penh metropolitan area is home to about 2.2 million of Cambodia's population of over 14.8 million, up from about 1.9 million in 2008
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia. Its full name in the Khmer language is Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol. The Kings of Cambodia have occupied it since it was built in 1860s, with a period of absence when the country came into turmoil during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge.
The palace was constructed after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-19th century. It was built atop an old citadel called Banteay Kev. It faces towards the East and is situated at the Western bank of the cross division of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River called Chaktomuk (an allusion to Brahma).
The Silver Pagoda
Also called the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha, it is located in the compound of the Royal Palace. Inside, its floor is constructed of 5000 silver blocks. In the center of the pagoda, there is a magnificent 17th-century emerald Buddha statue made of baccarat crystal.
The National Museum
The National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh is Cambodia's largest museum of cultural history and is the country's leading historical and archaeological museum.
The museum houses is 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 National Museum of Cambodia is located on Street 13 in central Phnom Penh, to the north of the Royal Palace and on the west side of Veal Preah Man square. The visitor’s entrance to the compound are at the corner of Streets 13 and 178. The Royal University of Fine Arts is located on the west side of the museum. The museum is under the authority of Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. 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.
Wat Phnom is a Buddhist temple located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was built in 1373, and stands 27 metres (88.5 ft) above the ground. It is the tallest religious structure in the city. The pagoda was given the name of Wat Preah Chedey Borapaut. Wat Phnom is the central point of Phnom Penh.
Legend relates that a wealthy widow called Penh (commonly referred to as Daun Penh – Grandmother Penh – in Khmer) found a large koki tree in the river. Inside the tree she found four bronze statues of the Buddha. Penh constructed a small shrine on an artificial hill made by the people living in the village to protect the sacred statues.
Then it came to the year of the snake 1437 suggests King PonheaYat ordered His Excellency Decho Srei to raise the mount even higher when he finished building the new Royal Palace in the new city he then named Krong Chaktomok Mongkol or simply known as Phnom Penh. The prominent stupa immediately west of the sanctuary contains the ashes of the king and his royal family.
Today, many people come here to pray for good luck and success in school exams or business affairs. When a wish is granted, the faithful return to deliver on the offering promised, such as a garland of jasmine flowers or a bunch of bananas (of which the spirits are said to be especially fond).
Wat Phnom is the center of celebration during Khmer New Year, and Pchum Ben.
Visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison)
An important part of Phnom Penh's brutal and bloody history under the Khmer Rouge, S-21 Prison stands as a monument to the 14,000 men, women and children who were murdered or imprisoned here, as well as the only eight survivors. The former school, converted to house those persecuted by the bloodthirsty regime in 1975, is easily reached by tuk tuk. A driver can be hired for the day to take you to both S-21 and the Killing Fields. Be wary of touts selling fake Rolex watches inside the compound; head to the Cambodian Handicrafts Association shop across the road for more authentic souvenirs.
Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
Between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women, children and infants who had been detained and tortured at S-21 were transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek. They were often bludgeoned to death to avoid wasting precious bullets.
The remains of 8985 people, many of whom were bound and blindfolded, were exhumed in 1980 from mass graves in this one-time longan orchard; 43 of the 129 communal graves here have been left untouched. Fragments of human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. More than 8000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988. It is a peaceful place today, masking the horrors that unfolded here several decades ago.
The audio tour includes stories by those who survived the Khmer Rouge, plus a chilling account by Him Huy, a Choeung Ek guard and executioner, about some of the techniques they used to kill innocent and defenceless prisoners, including women and children. There's also a museum here with some interesting information on the Khmer Rouge leadership and the ongoing trial. A memorial ceremony is held annually at Choeung Ek on 9 May.
Sunset cruise on the Mekong and Tonlesap
A one-hour cruise from the capital takes you along the river to watch the daily life of the people living on and around the rivers. You'll enjoy a magnificent sunset, when the reflected rays of the setting sun cast a golden glow across the river.
Traditional Cambodian Dance Show
See a traditional dance show presented by Cambodian Living Arts on Stage (formerly known as Plae Pakaa) and discover Cambodian traditions of dance, live music and the arts in the splendid gardens of the National Museum of Phnom Penh.
The beautiful gardens of the museum are the setting for each 60-minute (Start at 7:00pm, open its gate by 6:45pm) choreographed performance, showcasing more than just typical Apsara dances. Discover the diversity of Cambodian culture and traditional arts through original and enjoyable pieces. Monday through Saturday Monodok Komar Bassac Performing Arts (The Dancers of Bassac) A vivid display of both classical and folk dance. Sunday Rotating performances which may feature rare art forms like Sbaek Thom, ancient large shadow puppetry and/or Yike, Cambodian musical theater, drama and as well as new creative artistic work. As part of Cambodian Living Arts, Artists Development program, Sunday programming is dedicated to the development of diverse art forms and aspiring arts practitioners, geared towards local audiences but accessible to all. In addition to providing a unique opportunity to experience Cambodian culture up-close, the dancers aim to keep the traditions alive for future generations.