. Phnom Penh formerly romanized as Panomping is the capital and largest city of Cambodia.Located on the banks of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since French colonization of Cambodia, and has grown to become the nation 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.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a museum, chronicling genocide, in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.The site is a former high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S 21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979.Tuol Sleng (Khmer) means Hill of the Poisonous Trees or Strychnine Hill.Tuol Sleng was only one of at least 150 execution centers in the country, and as many as 20,000 prisoners there were later killed.
. The Royal Palace, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 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).
. Choeung Ek, the site of a former orchard and mass grave of victims of the Khmer Rouge killed between 1975 and 1979 about 17 km south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is the best known of the sites known as The Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge regime executed over one million people between 1975 and 1979.Mass graves containing 8,895 bodies were discovered at Choeung Ek after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.Many of the dead were former political prisoners who were kept by the Khmer Rouge in their Tuol Sleng detention center.Today, Choeung Ek is a memorial, marked by a Buddhist stupa.The stupa has acrylic glass sides and is filled with more than 5,000 human skulls.Some of the lower levels are opened during the day so that the skulls can be seen directly.Many have been shattered or smashed in.
. Wat Phnom is a Buddhist temple (wat) 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 charming central point of Phnom Penh.
. Wat Ounalom (also Wat Unnalom and several other spellings) is a wat located on Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, near the Royal Palace of Cambodia.As the seat of Cambodia Mohanikay order, it is the most important wat of Phnom Penh, and the center of Cambodian Buddhism.It was established in 1443 and consists of 44 structures.It was damaged during the Khmer Rouge but has since been restored.The main complex houses a stupa that contains what is believed to be an eyebrow hair of Buddha and an inscription in Pali.
. The Silver Pagoda is located on the south side of the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh.Formerly, it was known as Wat Ubosoth Ratanaram.The temple official name is Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot in Khmer.The vihara houses many national treasures including gold and jeweled Buddha statues.Most notable is a small 17th century baccarat crystal Buddha (the Emerald Buddha of Cambodia) and a life sized gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9584 diamonds, the largest of which weighs 25 carats.It was created in the palace workshops during 1906 and 1907, the gold Buddha weighs in at 90kg and is dressed in royal regalia commissioned by King Sisowath.During King Norodom Sihanouk pre Khmer Rouge reign, the Silver Pagoda was inlaid with more than 5,000 silver tiles and some of its outer facade was remodeled with Italian marble.However only a small area of these tiles are available to be viewed by the public on entering the pagoda.
. The Independence Monument in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, was built in 1958 for Cambodia independence from France in 1953.It stands on the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard in the centre of the city.It is in the form of a lotus shaped stupa, of the style seen at the great Khmer temple at Angkor Wat and other Khmer historical sites.The Independence Monument was designed by the influential Cambodian modern architect Vann Molyvann.During national celebrations, The Independence Monument is the center of activity.A ceremonial flame on the interior pedestal is often lit by a royal or high official on these occasions, and floral tributes line the stairs.Every year, The Independence Monument is visited by foreigners and locals alike.
. Sisowath Quay is a historic riverside located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, parallel to Sisowath Boulevard in the Chamkarmon district.The quay is situated along the junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap River and is situated near the Royal Palace of Cambodia.The portion in front of the palace was used for watching boat races during the Water Festival.The Foreign Correspondent Club of Cambodia is located in this district.The quay is a 3km strip filled with vendors, locals, tourists and are lined with hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.
Cambodia Vietnam Friendship Monument
. The Cambodia Vietnam Friendship Monument in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, is a large concrete monument commemorating the former alliance between Vietnam and Cambodia.It was built in the late 1970s by the communist regime that took power after the Cambodian Vietnamese War, which overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime.The monument is located at the Botum Park near the centre of Phnom Penh not far from the Royal Palace.It features heroic statues of Vietnamese and Cambodian soldiers in the Socialist realist style developed in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, together with images of a woman and baby representing Cambodian civilians.The monument is in a popular park in the middle of the city.
National Museum of Cambodia
. The National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh is Cambodia largest museum of cultural history and is the country leading historical and archaeological museum.The museum houses is one of the world largest collections of Khmer art, including sculptural, ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects.The Museum 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.
. Tonle Bati is a small lake about 30 km south of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.It is a popular weekend destination for the local population.It is also a popular fishing spot for both tourists and people who live locally.Close to the lake, there is a temple, Ta Prohm, built in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII.It is located off the highway to Takeo.20 minutes south of the lake there is another temple called Phnom Chisor.It is situated on a mountain top which requires a visitor to climb 461 steps.
. Kingdom Breweries is Cambodia craft beer brewery, located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia founded by Leopard Capital.The brewery sits alongside the banks of the Tonle Sap river on the north end of Cambodia capital, and is housed in a renovated factory formerly occupied by Nestle.The company is co owned by Leopard Cambodia Fund, Cambodia first private equity fund operated by frontier markets private equity firm Leopard Capital, and Charles Street International.Kingdom launched its first beer, Clouded Leopard Pilsener in September 2010, which was awarded a Belgian Monde Selection Gold Quality Award in 2011.However, Monde Selection awards are non competitive and only products that pay to enter are judged.
. Wat Botum Vathey is a wat located at Oknha Suor Srun Street 7, Sangkat Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.It is located to the south of the Royal Palace of Cambodia, on the western side of Wat Botum Park.
Khmer Architecture Tours
. Khmer Architecture Tours run regular visits to Phnom Penh fascinating but rapidly vanishing modern architectural sites.From Vann Molyvann high density housing project now slated for pull down (his national theatre has already gone, sadly), to imposing but crumbling university buildings, and the enormous, Colosseum esque Olympic Stadium, the tours will let you catch a glimpse of Cambodia modern heritage some of it very little known before it disappears under the weight of Hun Sen wrath.Now run almost exclusively by Cambodian architecture students, it one way to say you do not want to see this happen and help people who care fight for the survival of important sites.Some tours are made by cyclo, some by bus and some just on foot.You can also download a high res map from the site and make a tour on your own.
Post Office Square
. Phnom Penh Post Office Square was made famous by the film City of Ghosts, recommended viewing for any visitor to Cambodia on a rainy afternoon when sightseeing is off the agenda.A short detour from riverside and Wat Phnom, the area deserves a visit in person, too.The Post Office, built in 1890 and restored and fully reopened in 2004, fronts a small square on Street 13 (really just a widening of the road) surrounded by other examples of colonial architecture in various states of upkeep.Historically, this area was central to the French Quarter, where the business of administering and financing the territory was conducted.
Sunrise at Angkor Wat
. Siem Reap Cambodia Everyone does it you had be amazed by how many tourists show up at 5.30am.You just have to know how to beat the crowds and where to sit for optimal unobstructed viewing.(Hint get off the main walkway and sit on the steps of the outpost buildings).Angkor Wat, built over the course of thirty years in the 1100 as a home for King Suryavarman II after his death, was unknown and undiscovered until France colonized Cambodia in the mid 1800.What they uncovered in the midst of the jungle, both overgrown and somewhat well preserved, is now considered one of the Wonders of the World.A good tour guide will direct you to the magnificent bas relief walls depicting many levels of heaven and hell some quite gruesome and to some of the 1,800 seductive Dancing Maidens carvings.One warning beware of monkeys.They swarm the place and will grab stuff out of your hands (a few were enjoying tearing up a guidebook when we visited), and come after you if you dis them.
. Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia.Locals pronounce this temple Uncle Tom, and though it has not been restored to the degree of Angkor Wat, it does have several interesting elements.Angkor Thom defining feature is an entry bridge flanked by 54 stone warriors who seem to be playing tug of war with the sacred Naga Snake.Most of the warrior heads are missing (pop up head, great photo op!), taken by looters after the Vietnam War.Bas reliefs here have less to do with the afterlife and more of the day to day aspect of this one men playing chess, women cooking and having babies, a Monkey 69.That would have never been on my father Metropolitan Museum of Art Tour, quipped a friend.
. Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia The Tomb Raider Temple, which was left as found crumbling walls intertwined with tree roots to show tourists the state in which the rest of the surrounding temples were discovered.
. Siem Reap, Cambodia watch artisans at work in this trade school for disadvantaged Cambodians, then shop in the colorful store where authentic goods fly off the shelves.We walked out with several ornamental silver plate boxes (doller17 each) and vividly colored silk scarves (doller22).You will find everything from fashion to furniture and not one bit of junk.
New Hope Restaurant
. Have lunch at New Hope Restaurant, Siem Reap.You will not only enjoy one of the best meals you will have in town, but you will feel good to know that this is a trade school for former sex workers, an elementary school for at risk kids and a local free medical clinic.The former head chef of a Siem Reap 5 star hotel runs the training restaurant,and her expertise shows.Plan to stay for a site tour and to meet the kids.They are so smart and engaging, you just want them to have a better life.
. Sunset Tour, Quad Adventures Cambodia, it is instructed to keep at hands on the handlebars of my ATV at all times, as the rural dirt roads on the outskirts of Siem Reap are rutted and mogul like, but what It really wanted to do was High Five the smiling village kids lined up, hands out.nearly hit a cow and the ubiquitous locals on bikes before stopping for one of the most stunning scenes that has ever graced my eyes sunset in the rice paddies.Eight of us on ATV with four guides (on their own rides) pulled over on a dirt road that bisected rice fields, green and fertile, with the glowing yellow orange ball descending inch by inch, casting the surrounding landscape in transcendent light.We took pictures until the last sliver of sun disappeared from the horizon then zoomed and dipped back on dusty, sandy roads.Our black clothes were tan by the time we returned.Book way in advance this is a very popular tour.
. Stay at the newly renovated Lotus Blanc, Siem Reap It was not sponsored, paid, or asked to recommend this place in any way.As a tourist, just had a great experience there and wanted to pass it on.This is not a Raffles or Four Seasons, FYI.But as a 4 star hotel with rates as low as doller75/night (booking.com), and an extremely high and friendly standard of service, It was duly impressed.Staff are overeager to please, rooms are modern chic and comfortable, and the pool is so phenomenal, you will want to plan your day around a dip or two.
Tonle Sap Lake
. Take A Boat to the Floating Villages This is an eye opening look at the abject poverty and subsistence living in the primitive fishing villages of Cambodia.You will pass shacks on stilts (in the rainy season, the lake waters rise nearly to front doors), children paddling with babies in canoes, and livestock in floating pens.Be sure to take lots of fresh fruit or school supplies.When you stop at the Temple (an oasis of flame colored serenity in the midst of the squalor), barefoot kids will start pouring in from all directions.Enterprising women selling 20 pk bags of chips for doller2 might soon approach you.Buy as many as you can and give them out, too.Seeing the way people live here, it is no surprise that life expectancy in Cambodia is 58.
Eat A Spider
. Speaking of which, Eat A Spider (or watch someone else do it) there a stop along Route 6 Cambodia that features platters of fried tarantulas, crickets and birds.There are also bananas and mangos for the non insect eater.
. Stay at The Plantation, Phnom Penh a sanctuary from the grime, crime and chaos of Phnom Penh.The staff is a bit aloof, but you will forgive them as you head to one of two pools, lie down on a cabana bed or drink a cocktail before heading upstairs to the great restaurant.Platform four poster beds in contemporary zen calm rooms complete the deception that you are actually staying in a wealthy resort town.Walk a few paces and it could not be further from the truth.If you are craving some site seeing downtime, take advantage of it here.
. Phnom Penh does well on the sunset stakes.A combination of its river setting and a low rise skyline, plus some often fabulous cloud formations, often makes for a beautiful dusk.There only one flaw the orientation of the city means that the main riverside has its back to the setting sun.But do not let that put you off! Determined sunset connoisseurs can still get their evening fix.The best place for a city side sunset is the high rise Eclipse Sky Bar.Its position and height allow for an urban sunset in swanky surroundings, with a happy hour that makes the drinks affordable on the 23rd storey rooftop.Do not confuse it with the similarly named Sky Bar at The Place, which is only on the ninth floor, with views to the Independence Monument and the river (and therefore facing the wrong way for sunset).