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Phnom Penh

Royal Palace, Phnom Phen
Royal Palace, Phnom Phen

Phnom Penh was founded in 1432. The city offers beautiful historical architecture and attractions. There are a number of surviving French colonial buildings and french cuise scattered along the grand boulevards as a result of French occupation.

Situated on the banks of the Tonlé Sap, Mekong and Bassac rivers, the Phnom Penh metropolitan area is home to more than 2 million of Cambodia’s population of over 14 million.

Phnom Penh remained the royal capital for 73 years-from 1432 to 1505. It was abandoned for 360 years (from 1505 to 1865) due to internal fighting between the royalty. Later kings moved the capital several times and established their royal capitals at various locations. It was not until 1866, under the reign of King Norodom I, that Phnom Penh became the permanent seat of government and capital of Cambodia, and also where the current Royal Palace was built.

The old market was closed the day I tried to go (it was a national election day). The photo is from a small market somewhere near the National Museum. I went to the Russian market the day the old market was closed. It was fine, nothing spectacular but fine for a few minutes just to see. I don't like shopping so maybe if you do this is fun. But really it had very little of interest (a lot of westernish cloths, some touristy artish stuff). The most interesting part for me was the food (wet market...). The market I took this photo at was more interesting than the Russian market (for me). One or two of the markets is plenty to get a feel for them.

Fruit at an open air market in downtown Phnom Phen
Fruit at an open air market in downtown Phnom Phen

Beginning in 1870, the French Colonialists turned a riverside village into a city where they built hotels, schools, prisons, barracks, banks, public works offices, telegraph offices, law courts, and health services buildings.

The National Museum is my top pick (I like art, history and museums), of all the attractions in Phnom Pehn. Some great pieces from the temples near Siem Reap (and a few from elsewhere). Fairly small and not air conditioned. They don't let you take pictures in the galleries so I don't have any photos. I really don't like not being able to take photos.

Wat Phnom is a small Buddist temple on a hilltop. It is really nice, it would be my 2nd pick for a tourist attraction in Phnom Penh. And they let you take photos inside (which is rare). See photo below. The park around the temple is nice also. Still it is hard to spend more than an hour here. I have not visited a huge number of Buddist temples but the painting on the wall inside this one was the best I have seen.

Wat Phnom, Phnom Phen
Wat Phnom, Phnon Phen, Cambodia

Popular tourist sites include:

  • The National Museum - The top pick in my opinion of all the attractions in Phnom Pehn.
  • Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
  • Royal Palace - same location as Silver Pagoda, decent but not much there it didn't seem like to me.
  • Central Market
  • Silver Pagoda - same location as Royal Palance, nice
  • Phnom Tamao Zoo
  • Wat Phnom - fairly quick, I really liked this
The restaraunts and spas are also popular with tourists.

Good options for hotels and lodging in Phnom Penh

  • Raffles Hotel Le Royal - 5 star hotel in the heart of Phnom Penh. Leisure facilities, including sauna, massage, whirlpool, outdoor pool, steam room and fitness center, will enhance your stay. Even free wifi, that so many luxury hotels charge ludicras amounts for.
  • White Mansion Boutique Hotel - 4-star Boutique Hotel boasts 30 comfortable guestrooms with in-house movies, air conditioning, television LCD/plasma screen and hair dryer. 24 hour Room Service Restaurant. Free wifi. The hotel has an outdoor pool and garden.
  • Aqua Boutique Guesthouse - This affordable guesthouse is situated in the city center of Phnom Penh, just a short stroll to the city's popular attractions. A great choice for travelers visiting Cambodia's capital, Aqua Boutique Guesthouse allows guests to enjoy excellent accessibility to places like Independence Monument, the Royal Palace, National Museum, Central market Russian market and Riverside. Each spacious rooms are fitted with amenities like: free wifi air condition, mini bar LCD TV, DVD player and private balcony.
  • Silver River Hotel - Located in the Kandal Market, this property is just a short walk to Royal Palace, National Museum, Silver Pagoda and the beautiful views of Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers. All the spacious rooms include attached bathroom with full amenities, coffee/tea making facilities and cable TV. For dining, visit the onsite Silver Restaurant and Bar, offering a variety of international cuisine, or stroll down the road for other dining options, after which guests can unwind at the onsite Massage Spa.
  • Alibi Guesthouse - Each of the 10 rooms at this 2-star hotel offer a television, ironing board, and in room safe. Other features at the hotel include restaurant, room service, safety deposit boxes. The convenient location, a dedicated staff and good price make this hotel a favorite among travelers looking for a bargin.
  • Blue Tongue Hotel
  • Anise Hotel

Curious Cat Travels
Curious Cat Travels