Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s bustling capital, sits at the intersection of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap waterways. It was a central point for both the Khmer Empire and French colonialists. With a long and rich history, the country has faced a lot of turmoil for decades. The reminiscent exist in the form of museums and ruins — the city has indeed come a long way to where it is now. Here are some of the things you can do in Phnom Penh.
Admire the ancient beauty of Phnom Penh
Go out for a stroll through eminence in the Royal Palace
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With its intricate Khmer rooftops and lavish plating, the Royal Palace rules the small horizon of Phnom Penh. It’s a striking structure close to the riverfront, bearing a surprising similarity to its partner in Bangkok. Being the formal living arrangement of King Sihamoni, parts of the massive royal residence compound are shut to general society. Guests are permitted to visit the corridor of the position of authority and to understand the structures encompassing it. Guests need to wear pants that are at least knee-length, and a shirt that covers the upper arm. Otherwise, they should purchase a proper sarong to cover themselves at the ticket office.
Evoke on the history of Cambodia in the National Museum of Cambodia
A stone’s throw from the Royal Palace, the National Museum of Cambodia is housed in a beautiful terracotta building (built 1917 to 1920), with a beautiful garden. With artefacts dating back millennia ago, the gallery is now home to the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculptures. Major attractions at the museum include an eight-armed Vishnu statue from the 6th century found at Phnom Da, and a staring Harihara, combining the attributes of Shiva and Vishnu, from Prasat Andet in Kompong Thom Province.
Dig into the appalling past of Cambodia at Choeung Ek Genocidal Center
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Go back in time at the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center that stands out amongst the most important pockets of history there. Choeung Ek Genocidal Center honours a heartbreaking yet crucial period in Cambodia’s history. In 1975 and 1978, a lot of Cambodians were kept hostage, tormented and executed under the Khmer Rouge administration. Rumour says that only seven out of nearly 17,000 casualties have survived. In 1980, the remaining parts of about 9,000 casualties were unearthed from the grounds of this previous plantation. Of the 129 common graves found here, 43 remain untouched. It can get quite unnerving wading through the mounts of skull and bones, but this is the best place to learn about the horror and nightmare Cambodia had to go through.
Get up close at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre
CC BY 2.0 / Adam Visser
This exceptional natural life asylum for protected creatures is home to gibbons, sun bears, elephants, tigers, lions, deer, gigantic pythons and an enormous winged creature walled in area. All of them were taken from poachers or oppressive proprietors. These animals are released into the wild once they have regained their health and strength.
Catching a Movie at the Cinemas
Being one of the oldest (renovated) cinema theatres, Legend Cinema hosts a myriad of films ranging from the latest Hollywood blockbuster to successful local films. Legend Cinema is fun, and it offers an evening of leisure for adults and kids. Sovanna Phum Theatre stands out among all the theatres in Phnom Penh and is quite well-known in the city. Local artists and directors often showcase some of their memorable shows at Sovanna Phum Theatre. It is a perfect place for people who like to learn about Cambodian culture and traditions.
Eating in Phnom Penh
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Although you may rarely hear of Cambodian food, eating out in Phnom Penh is doing to be enjoyable! Cambodian food has strong influences from nearby countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Malaysia. There are a lot of fantastic eateries serving different types of cuisines from South East Asian to European to American food. A few noted restaurants such as Lucky Pho, The FCC (The Foreign Correspondents’ Club), and Khmer Surin Restaurant serve some of the best food in Cambodia. Even street side vendors serve delicious snacks and finger foods for more adventurous foodies out there.
Resting at the Parks
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Walking around exploring the various parts of Phnom Penh may be exhausting to most of us. Don’t forget to get some well-deserved rest at the urban parks around the city. Some of the popular ones are Santepheap Garden, Riverfront Park and the Preah Sihanouk Garden. The parks gate is often dotted with vendors selling light bites to nibble on as well as fresh pressed juices.
Playing Gold at the Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club
Golf enthusiasts also can sign up for a few golfing lessons from the locals at the Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club. What’s more, you can now combine a historical tour with a game of golf at the Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club. It is also a great place to rub shoulders with higher-ranking officials of the city if you would like to know their lifestyles.
Where to stay in Phnom Penh
Although Phnom Penh is comparatively a smaller city as compared to other major cities across the globe, there is no dearth of living quarters available here. Accommodation options in Phnom Penh can suit all kinds of travellers from budget stays to luxury hotels.
Mane La Residence in Phnom Penh exceeds all expectations when it comes to service and comfort. The contemporary rooms are exceptionally well maintained with a homely feeling and warmth to it. The service provided by the staff is impeccable as they go over and beyond to make sure that guests have a memorable stay.
Sun & Moon Urban Hotel is located right in the middle of the city with a view of the urban layout. With eclectic design and modern amenities, the hotel is highly recommended by both business and leisure travellers. Well ventilated rooms with designer toiletries and facilities are the pulling factor of this modern hotel. The food served in the restaurant in-house is also well curated and delicious.
Cambodia is a beautiful country with amazing people who are ready to welcome tourists into their hearts, as much as we welcome Cambodia into our hearts.