Phnom Penh best attractions
1 – Choeung Ek killing fields: about 15 km from Phnom Penh center, it is a site where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the violent Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. Walking along the path you’ll see a series of mass graves containing the body of the victims and glass cases with items of clothing, skulls and bones. Close to the entrance there is a big memorial Stupa filled with the skulls of hundreds people. Entrance fees: 6 USD. The Choeung Ek killing field is open every day from 7 am to 17.30 pm.
2 – Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (known as S-21): it is know also as S-21 and it was an high school that Khmer Rouge converted into a prison and torture center where over 17.000 people were prepared for death. The interesting visit consist in 4 buildings where you can see the interrogation chambers with their original torture items, single cells, mass detention cells and a serious of touching pictures of all those people imprisoned inside the S.21. The Museum is open every day from 7 a.m. to 17.30 p.m. Entrance fee: 3 USD.
3 – Independence Monument: Situated in the heart of the city between Norodom and Sihanouk boulevard (Sangkat Boeng Keng Kang Ti Muoy), it was inaugurated in 1962 after taking back their independence from the French protectorate. The monument is the site of celebrations and services on important public holidays such as Independence Day and Constitution Day. To the east of the Monument along Sihanouk Blv towards the river there is one of Phnom Penh’s most popular public parks that with its fountains it is a favorite spot for wedding photos.
4 – Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda: Located in Sothearos Blvd. between Streets 240 & 184, the beautiful Royal Palace complex is a must for the traveller and it worth the visit. The Royal Palace was built over a century ago to serve as the residence of the King of Cambodia, his family and foreign dignitaries, as a venue for the performance of court ceremony and ritual and as a symbol of the Kingdom. In the southern area of the Royal Palace complex, there is also the beautiful Wat Preah Keo Morakot, known as the Silver Pagoda, which takes its name for the covered floor with more than 5000 silver tiles. Entrance fees for the whole complex: 25.000 R (around 6.5 USD). It is open every day, from 8 am – 5 pm.
5 – National Museum: The National Museum is located in the city centre on 13th Street, next to the Royal Palace and houses thousands of artefacts of Cambodian history. The Museum is open every day from 8 a.m. until 17 p.m. every day and the entrance fee is 5 $. Guided tours can be arranged for 3 $ (usually group tour).
6 – Wat Phnom: It is a Buddhist temple located along Preah Norodom Blvd, on the top of a small hill covered with trees and about 27 meters high. According to legend, the first pagoda on this site was erected in 1373 to house four Buddha statues deposited here by the waters of the Mekong and discovered by a wealthy widow named Penh. It thus became a sacred site where people went to be blessed and to pray. The main entrance to Wat Phnom is through the large eastern staircase, which is guarded by lions and balustrades with naga snakes. At the bottom of the hill, on the north-west side of the complex, it is also possible to visit a museum with some statues and ancient artefacts. Entrance fees- Temple: 1 USD, Hours: 7 am – 6.30 pm.
7 – Wat Ounalom: located near the Royal Palace, Wat Ounalom is one of the most significant pagodas in the country and above all the center of Cambodian Buddhism. The pagoda is spread over three floors and has a very interesting collection of beautiful paintings and cultural relics that shed light on the life of the Buddha. The Patriarch of Cambodian Buddhism and other important monks live within this complex. It also housed the Bouddhique Institute and the library that were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge during their dictatorship. The temple is open every day from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm and is free.
8 – Cambodian Living Arts – Apsara and Traditional Khmer Dance: it is a non-profit organization where you can admire an interesting show with dances typical of the different regions of the country, representations of battles, mythological characters and much more. It is located on the corner of 178 street and 13 street. Entrance tickets: 15 – 30 $. Day and time: Monday, Wednesday and weekend from 19:00. Entrance fees: 15 $. Day and hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and weekends from 19:00 p.m.( anyways they can change the showtime).
9 – Phsar Thmey (Central Market): If you love to see how the real life of the country is the right place. Phsar Thmey is indoor market, designated by French architects and it is one of the largest in Asia. The central market (street 130) is open every day from 6.00 until 18.00. Without a doubt, for those who love photography and the daily life of local people is a place not to be missed. Here you can find stalls of any kind: street food, meat, fresh fish, fruit, vegetables, flowers, clothes, jewelry and much more. The best time to visit the market is early in the morning when it is really crowded and quaint.
10 – Phsar Tuol Tom Pong (Russian Market): it is a very popular market located along street 155 (between Monivong and Mao Tse Tung Boulevard), not far from the Tuol Sleng genocide museum. As the central market is full of stalls of all kinds, but especially here you can find original brand clothes made in local factories and sold for a few dollars. The market is open from 6:00 to 17:00.