Places To Visit in Phnom Penh
There are quite a few interesting places to visit in Phnom Penh and some other great places which are only a short distance from the city and these can easily be visited in day trips.
Places of interest to the visitor include Historical sites, Wats and Pagodas, River cruises, landmarks, monuments, Fun parks and more. There are certainly enough places to visit and you would need a good week in the capital to see them all. Most of the Moto and Taxi drivers know the popular points of interest in and around the city and there is definitely something to cater to anyone’s taste.
The Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
Address: Sothearos Blvd
Admission: 25,000 riel with a guide per hr US$10
Open: 7.30am – 11am and 2.30pm – 5pm daily
Visitors will have to wear shorts that reach to the knee, and T-shirts or blouses that reach to the elbow; otherwise they will have to rent an appropriate covering. On Weekends The palace can get a little busy, due to local Khmers coming to visit and pay their respects. Mingling with Crowds of locals, however, can be a fun way to experience the place.
The Palace is now home to the King and Queen of Cambodia, built in 1866 by King Norodom. The Royal Palace stands on the original citadel, Banteay Kev (built in 1813). Visitors have only been welcomed to view the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda’s surrounding compound since King Sihanouk’s return to Cambodia.
Admission: Is included with the price to visit The Royal Palace.
Opening hours: 7.30-11am & 2-5pm
Named the Silver Pagoda due to its 5000 silver tiles that cover its floor, each weighing 1kg.This remarkable structure was rebuilt in 1962. Its origin was constructed of wood, inspired by Bangkok’s Wat Phra Keo in 1892 during the rule of King Norodom.
The Khmer Rouge preserved the Silver Pagoda in its quest to demonstrate the need for conserving the Cambodian culture and it’s riches to the outside world. However, at the same time, over 50% of its contents were destroyed under Pol Pot. Here remains one of the rare reminders in Cambodia of the Khmer civilisation.
With its staircase entrance made of Italian marble, the Silver Pagoda is undoubtedly an amazing place to visit. An Emerald Buddha sits high on the dais, which is said to be made of Baccarat crystal. Gold, Bronze and Silver Buddha’s all varying in size, are all housed within this amazing structure, along with its rich elegance, and dazzling diamond covered decorations. Bejeweled masks used in classical dance and solid and hollow gold Buddha’s can be seen along the walls of this extraordinary Pagoda, all are magnificent examples of the Khmer artistic realm.
The Silver Pagoda has many other interesting sites to view, all a must see, including the Mondap library which is home to the richly illuminated sacred texts written on palm leaves. Among the many shrines here are those of King Norodom, an equestrian statue, who reigned from 1860 –1904; a pavilion that is home to a huge footprint of the Buddha, the shrine of King An Dong (1845-59); a pavilion of celebrations held by the royal family, a shrine dedicated to the daughter of Prince Sihanouk and a shrine for his father, King Norodom Suramarit (1955-60). Here also stands the Bell Tower, which is used to order the opening and closing of the gates to the sound of its bell.
Chan Chaya Pavillion
The Chan Chaya pavilion where Classical Cambodian dance performances were once staged.
Cambodian monarchs viewed these traditional Dances and also used the pavilion to review parades during festivals and anniversaries. At night the pavilion is sometimes lit up which makes for a beautiful photo if you’re lucky enough to be there at the time this usually happens during festivals and anniversaries.
Diplomats used the Throne Hall for coronations and ceremonies such as the presentations of credentials. This magnificent structure was originally constructed in timber on this site, built in 1869. King Sisowath inaugurated the cement structure we see today in 1919. The 59m-high tower was an inspiration of the Bayon at Angkor. The Khmer Rouge was responsible for the destruction of the many items that were once displayed here. The courtyard however still houses an unusual but interesting house made of iron, given to King Norodom by Napoleon 111 of France.
National Museum of Cambodia
Address: corner St 13 & St 178
Admission: US$5 Open: 8am – 5.00pm daily (except national holidays)
More information www.cambodiamuseum.info
Photography here is not permitted, however a booklet of its exhibits is available onsite.
Situated north of the Royal Palace the National Museum is a traditional terracotta structure in all its elegance. Courtyards, all of which are facing onto a garden, display an extraordinary array of sculptures including those dating back to the 6th and 7th century to its left and at its entrance.
Pottery and bronze artifacts are also on display in the museum, dating back to the 4th to the 9th centuries, the 9th to the 10th centuries and the 10th to the 14th centuries as well as more recent works. Post-Angkorian Buddha’s (10th – 14th century), in which many of them were rescued from the Angkor Wat when the civil war erupted, are a permanent collection here on display.
Tuol Sleng Museum
Admission: US$2 with a guide US$6 Open: 7am-5.30am daily
Video cameras an extra $US5
Address: Cnr St 113 & St 350
Not for the squeamish, Tuol Sleng Museum holds years of depressing history, from what once was Tuol Prey School (taken over by Pol Pot’s security forces), to a prison then known as Security Prison S-21 which became one the largest detention and torture prisons in the country; to the Museum it is today; a testament to the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.
Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
Choeung Ek Genocidal Center is located at Roluos Village, Choeung Ek Commune, Dangkor District, Phnom Penh, the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Telephone: ( 855) 23 305 371
Mobile phone: (855) 12 341 237
General Admission entitles visitors entry into the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center to see all scenes and perform all activities with the center’s facilities
The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center opens from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm every day.
Admission Ticket Price
Local Khmer Free of charge
Foreigner $6.00 (Included Audio Tour in 15 Languages*
Children (Under 12) Free of Charge
*There are 15 languages: Khmer, English, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, Thai, Italian, Vietnamese, Swedish, Malay, Russian.
The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek is situated 15klm from central Phnom Penh. Here is the devastating reminder of the torturous and barbaric reign of the Khmer Rouge. Thousands upon thousands of men, women, infants and children were transported here from Security Prison S-21 after being detained and tortured. A Memorial Stupa, built in 1988, displays the remains of human skulls arranged in age and sex behind glass panels. A memorial day, 9th May of each year is held at Choeung Ek.