See the highlights of Phnom Penh and learn more about the history of Cambodia, starting with the Royal Palace, built by the French in 1866 after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong.
Explore the palace complex to admire the Khmer architecture on the banks of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River. See the magnificent Silver Pagoda made of 5,329 silver tiles, and hear about different Khmer kings, resident at all times, except during the rule of the Khmer Rouge. Gaze in awe at the jeweled Buddha statues and the Angkor Wat-style Bell Tower.
Gleaming in gold, the Royal Palace is one of Phnom Penh?s most splendid architectural achievements. It is home to His Majesty Preah Bat smdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and Her Majesty Preah Reach Akka-Mohesey Norodom Monineath. The palace was built in 1866 by His Majeaty Preah Bat Norodom, great grandfather to our current King.
The National Museum of Cambodia is housed in a graceful terracotta structure of traditional design (built 1917-20) just north of the Royal Palace. It is open daily from 8 to 11 am and from 2 to 5 pm; entry is $5. Photography is prohibited inside. The School of Fine Arts (École des Beaux-arts) has its headquarters in a structure behind the main building.
Set on top of a tree-covered knoll 27m high, Wat Phnom is the only hill in town. According to legend, the first pagoda on this site was erected in 1373 to house four statues of Buddha deposited here by the waters of the Mekong and discovered by a woman name Penh. The main entrance to Wat Phnom is via the grand eastern staircase, which is guarded by lions and naga (snake) balustrades.
Wat PhnomThe vihara (temple sanctuary) was rebuilt in 1434, 1806 , 1894, and, most recently, in 1926. West of the vihara is an enormous stupa containing the ashes of King Ponhea Yat (reigned 1405 to 1467) . In a small pavilion on the south side of the passage between the vihara and the stupa is a statue of the smiling and rather plump Madame Penh.
The dark-yellow Art Deco Phsa Thmei (New Market) is also referred to as the Central Market, a reference to its location and size. It was constructed in 1935 37. The Art deco building is shaped in the form of a cross with a nice central dome. And has four wings filled with shops selling gold and silver jewelry, antique coins, fake name-brand watches and other such items.
Central Market is undoubtedly the best of Phnom Penh’s markets for browsing. It is the cleanest and has the widest range of products for sale. Opening hours are from early morning until early evening.