5 Phnom Penh Attractions You Can’t Afford to Miss
With numerous historical buildings and wats with intricately carved spires piercing the skies, Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, standing ashore the mighty Mekong, shows its first looks as an amazing miniature cityscape created by the hands of an extremely skilled artist. Those who don’t take a stop at this lovely city while heading to or from Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat miss so much that they can’t forgive themselves.
The city is full of temples, sanctuaries, islands, museums and lovely performances, all of which are easily accessible and reasonably priced. All in all, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have a Phnom Penh itinerary in your Asia travel.
Here are just a few of the Phnom Penh attractions that will make you understand why this city is a must-visit.
1. Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda
Set next to each other, the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are spread over 174,870 sq. meters of scenic green landscapes. The Khmer architecture is stunning and you can explore the many buildings though the King still resides in the palace infrequently. Guided tours are available too. Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion are must-visits. And in the Silver Pagoda, you shouldn’t miss the 17th century Emerald Buddha made with Baccarat crystals.
2. Ta Prohm Temple
The 12th century Ta Prohm Temple at Tonle Bati shows amazing stone carvings and bas-reliefs of Hindu mythology and has a style similar to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. The temple is within an hour’s drive from the city centre and you can also visit other Tonle Bati attractions like Tonle Bati Lake, Yey Peo Temple and more.
3. Independence Monument
In the heart of Phnom Penh city, the Independence Monument is a spectacular landmark that commemorates freedom from the French rule. On the occasions like Independence Day (9th November) and Constitution Day (24th September) vibrant celebrations are held here.
4. Apsara and Traditional Khmer Dance
A non-profit organization, Cambodian Living Arts, arranges the stunning Apsara and 18th century traditional Khmer dances at the National Museum of Cambodia. The traditional dances have been revived by the Cambodian Living Arts by bringing the living master artists together to let younger generations know about the tradition. These performances too are a must-watch.
5. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Before getting turned into a torture, interrogation and execution centre during the Khmer Rouge rule, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was Tuol Svay Pray High School. Also called S-21 Prison, this infamous place was entered by around 17,000 Cambodians of which only 7 could survive after the rule. Most rooms have been maintained in the same state as they were found in January 1979. The 6,000 poignant portraits of its prisoners are displayed in the museum.
All in all, you must have understood by now that you cannot and you should not miss Phnom Penh if you want to take the true pleasure of your Asia trip. So, be ready for an incredibly beautiful experience.