Explore the fascinating historical pearl, Phnom Penh, located in the junction on Bassac, Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and see the intriguing ancient Buddha statues and incense filled temples.
Vibrant Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city, is filled with history and new development, which make an interesting mix. The city is home to some two million inhabitants and it is the largest city in whole country. Located in the south-central area of Cambodia, Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s most important economical, historical, political and cultural centre. It used to be called the Pearl of Asia in 1920s before the violent colonial and Khmer Rouge era.
What to see in Phnom Penh
There are many incense-infused temples – wats – to see such as Wat Moha Montrei and Wat Phnom. Wat Ounalom was built in 1443 and the country’s Buddhist patriarchate has its residence here, meaning that there are monks living on this remarkable complex. If you’re into ancient relics, go to the stupa located behind the main building, where you’ll find a piece of the eyebrow of Buddha himself. Wat Phnom dates back to 1373.
The National Museum of Cambodia, located in PH 13 Central Phnom Penh is worth a visit. The museum possesses some of the greatest Khmer sculptures in the country. See the preserved Khmer culture also in Silver Pagoda. The name comes from the floor that’s covered with real silver. The Buddha statues you’ll see are quite magnificent; they are made of solid gold and covered by thousands of real diamonds.
The famous white stupa in the Killing Fields has important stories to tell for a visitor. It carries dark memories from the era of Khmer Rouge as it is a mass grave for thousands of people that lost their lives during those times.
The riverfront areas are especially lively on Friday and Saturday nights. Experience the dynamic market place lying in the heart of the city centre called Phsar Thom Thmei and see the Royal Palace as well.
Travelling to and around Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is not a huge or difficult city to navigate in and you’ll get around relatively easy by rentable bikes or bike rickshaw called cyclos. There is no local bus system, so the locals use the cyclos as well. Tuk-tuks are also an option.
You can reach other Cambodian cities by bus. Trains are slower so preferably travel by bus.
Phnom Penh International Airport is where you land. The airport taxis have fixed prices for fares to the city centre, which is about half an hour ride.
When to go to Phnom Penh
November to January are in general a bit less humid and hot compared to other months. Expect tropical monsoon rains from May/June to October and really hot weather from February to May. In general, Phnom Penh is hot year-round!