Phnom Penh: what the capital of Cambodia looks like and what to see here

Phnom Penh (Cambodia) is located on the banks of three rivers, covers an area of ​​292 square meters. km, where 1.5 million inhabitants live. The settlement is the main city of the state, but apparently it does not correspond to such a high status. There are practically no skyscrapers and modern buildings, the central square is quite modest, and the promenade is not crowded in comparison with other Asian capitals. Phnom Penh is far from comfortable beaches and the sea, so it is impossible to enjoy relaxation here under the warm sun on white sand. They come to the capital of Cambodia for 2-3 days to see the sights and outline a further route. Most often, tourists go to Siem Reap and closer to the sea – to Sihanoukville.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Photo: Cambodia, Phnom Penh.

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Historical excursion

Statue of Lady Pen

For the first time about the city of Phnom Penh (Cambodia) became known in 1373. The village is shrouded in legends and myths, according to one of them it was founded by the nun Peña. Walking along the shore, a woman saw a boat with four Buddha statues – three gold and one bronze. Near the house, the nun made a hill, erected an altar on it, and placed statues. Then, a temple and the Wat Phnom pagoda were built on the site of the altar.

Interesting fact! The name in translation means – a nun’s hill (Phnom – a hill, Stump – a nun).

At the beginning of the 15th century, Phnom Penh, by decree of the Khmer king, first received the status of the capital. Subsequently, it was transferred to different settlements where the monarchs lived. Only at the end of the 17th century did the monarch Norod I make Phnom Penh the permanent capital of Cambodia and the seat of the royal palace.

Central Market in 1960

The capital of Cambodia – Phnom Penh – actively developed during the French rule. The buildings erected during this historical period have survived to this day. Until 1970, the capital of Cambodia was considered Asian Paris. Phnom Penh, with its beauty and color, resembled the capital of France. Here important events were held in the country, nightlife was in full swing, wealthy residents built houses.

Pol Pot

The years from 1975 to 1979 became a terrible and tragic period in the history of Phnom Penh. Khmer Rouge came to power under the leadership of Pol Pot. During the years of his reign, millions of people were destroyed, mainly representatives of the intelligentsia – doctors, teachers, engineers.

Now Phnom Penh is gradually being revived and equipped, roads are being put in order, modern shopping centers, hotels are opening, but along with this, many sights, historical, architectural structures have been preserved.

Interesting fact! The capital of Cambodia can unpleasantly surprise with noise and a huge amount of garbage.

Phnom Penh City

Photo: Phnom Penh city.

What to see in Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

In Phnom Penh there are not many attractions, but the peculiarity of the main settlement of Cambodia is that there are historical places that are traditional and uncharacteristic for Asian countries.

450 corpses were found on a small patch of land.

Death fields

Death fields are located throughout the country, they can not be fully called a tourist attraction, rather, it is a reminder of the tragic history of Cambodia. Many tourists note that there is a heavy, oppressive atmosphere, so you should tune in before visiting the sights. Massacres were committed on the death fields, thousands of civilians, including women and children, died here. The size of the tragedy was so widespread that it was recognized as a genocide of the inhabitants of Cambodia.

Memorial stupa

In 1988, a memorial stupa was built 15 km from Phnom Penh, where more than 8 thousand skulls of people injured as a result of the bloody regime of the Khmer Rouge were placed.

Interesting fact! About the attraction of Phnom Penh, you can watch the movie “Fields of Death”.

Thousands of Broken Skulls

According to historical data, more than 17 thousand inhabitants are buried here. That is why the glass stupa has 17 floors. Around the memorial are numerous mass graves. You can see the historical place any day. Of course, you should not come here with young children, and it is better for especially impressionable people to refuse to visit.

Good to know! Choeng Ek – Phnom Penh Death Field – is Cambodia’s largest. Every year in May, near the memorial, a ceremony is held for the repose of all the dead.

There is an attraction near the 271st street. Follow southwest of the bus depot along Monivong Boulevard. The easiest way to rent a tuk-tuk. The trip takes 30 minutes, and the cost is $ 5.

Entrance to the territory of the Death Fields is $ 6, the ticket price includes an audio guide in Russian, you can also watch a documentary lasting 20 minutes.

Museum of Genocide

Museum of genocide "Tülsleng"

The most tragic and gloomy attraction of Phnom Penh is the museum of genocide, which during the reign of the Khmer Rouge was an S-21 prison. Political prisoners were held here, most of them tortured to death. According to historical data, more than 20 thousand prisoners visited the prison.

Interesting fact! Of all the prisoners, only seven were able to survive. There are 14 graves in the courtyard of the prison – these are the last victims found in the cells after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Security Prison Cameras 21

The prison is organized on the school grounds, and excursions are conducted by relatives of former prisoners. Guests are shown cameras, shackles and instruments of torture. Photos posted in the museum amaze with cruelty and inhumanity. In addition, there are drawings made by one of the surviving prisoners.

Kang Kek Yeh

Political prisoners were held in the cell for up to 7 months, and ordinary prisoners – from 2 to 4 months. The prison was led by Kang Kek Yeu, who taught children math in the past. He stood trial and was charged with crimes against humanity. Sentence – 35 years in prison.

The entrance is in the western part of 113th street (northbound from 350th street). Address: st. 113, SangkatbeoungKengKang III, KhanCharmkarmorn. The attraction works from 7-00 to 17-30, in the afternoon the museum closes for a siesta. Ticket price $ 3, if you need an audio guide, you will need to pay extra, but there is no Russian-speaking accompaniment.

Center for the Daughters of Cambodia (Daughters of Cambodia Visitor Center)

Center "Daughters of Cambodia"

This is an interesting and original attraction of Phnom Penh, which deserves the attention of tourists. This is an unusual Center, which consists of three parts. There is a boutique on the ground floor where handmade souvenirs are presented. All products are unique, it is impossible to find anything similar in the market or in stores. Here you can buy toys, accessories, upholstered furniture, holiday decorations, t-shirts.

Lunch at the Daughters of Cambodia

On the second floor you can relax in a cool cafe and enjoy a cup of excellent coffee or freshly squeezed juice. The menu is quite voluminous and varied. Guests are offered a light snack or a full meal. Chocolate cakes are in great demand, they are especially loved by children. It offers beautiful views of the Phnom Penh River in Cambodia. The cafe’s design is thought out to the smallest detail, there is free Wi-Fi and air conditioning.

Pedicure procedures

The SPA center attracts women who fall into the experienced hands of massage therapists and cosmetologists. Guests are offered manicure and pedicure treatments, a variety of massages, relaxing treatments for the head, shoulders, legs and arms.

You can visit the Center at: 321, Sisowath Quay daily except Sunday from 9-00 to 17-30.

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) is located next to the promenade and the National Museum, is a unique monument of Khmer culture and architecture.

Royal Palace

The most ancient part of the complex is the walls, which depict scenes of Ramana. The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh was built at the end of the 19th century. After completion of construction work, this place became the permanent residence of the royal family. Guests can see only the main rooms.

Silver pagoda

The most interesting in the palace is the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh or the Diamond Buddha Temple. The flooring is made of five thousand silver plates weighing 1 kg each. Previously, there were 5 thousand plates, but during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, the appearance of the pagoda changed. The most interesting exhibits:

  • emerald Buddha statue, created in the 17th century;
  • Golden Buddha statue – made in full size, decorated with diamonds.

The steps to the pagoda of the palace are made of marble. In addition, guests are attracted by the footprint of the Buddha, and the walls are decorated with unique frescoes – the largest collection in Southeast Asia.

The Royal Palace is located at the corner of 184th and 240th streets, you can watch it every day from 8-00 to 11-00 and from 14-00 to 17-00. Tickets cost $ 6. To see the royal palace, you need to wear clothes that cover your elbows and knees, items made from translucent materials are forbidden.

Throne room

The main attraction of the Royal Palace is the coronation hall. Religious and cultural events are held here. The construction was built in 1917. The Royal Palace is crowned with three spiers, the height of the central one is almost 60 m. The throne room of the Royal Palace is decorated with busts of the ruling monarchs in the country, three thrones are installed in the room. In addition to the throne room of the Royal Palace, tourists can visit the Lunar Pavilion. Banquets and social events are held here.

Central market

Cambodia is a paradise for shoppers. If you don’t know where to shop in Phnom Penh, visit Central Market. This is not just a place where a wide variety of goods are sold and bought, it is an amazing landmark of the city no less atmospheric and fascinating than the Royal Palace. People come here to see Cambodia’s exclusive products and, of course, buy souvenirs.

Inside the central market, Phnom Penh

The market is a unique building, bright yellow, built at the beginning of the last century by French architects. Here is the largest market in Asia. There used to be a lake, small floods remind of this fact.

It is interesting! In 2011, the building was reconstructed with funds provided by France.

Phnom Penh Central Market Building

Today, the market is a construction of bright lemon colors, decorated in the style of art deco. It has a cruciform shape, consists of four parts. The diameter of the market dome is 50 m.

You can visit the attraction daily from 5-00 to 17-00, the most underpopulated hours from 11-00 to 14-00. An amazing fact – even in the summer, the inside of the building is cool and comfortable.

Without exaggeration, you can buy everything here – products, clothes, souvenirs, dishes, fabrics, books, electronics, watches, old coins, jewelry.

Interesting fact! In the capital of Cambodia, the production of fabrics has been developed, therefore, quality silk and cotton are bought here. Prices for the material are low. Silk shawls are in the greatest demand. If you plan to purchase antiques, make sure that you do not have problems with departure from the country.

The market is located in a convenient place – on the west side it borders with Monivong Street, and in the east – with Norod boulevard. The distance to the promenade is only 2 km. The easiest way to get there is tuk tuk. It is easy to walk from Wat Phnom Temple, the distance is only 1.5 km.

Central promenade

What to see in Phnom Penh? Of course, it is better to start exploring the city from the Embankment, which is located between 104th and 178th streets, just 10 km from the international airport. From here it is easy to get to any attraction – the Royal Palace, the market. This is the noisiest area of ​​the capital of Cambodia, the best boutiques work here, guests are welcomed by hotels and restaurants.

Central promenade

Interesting fact! Sisovat Embankment is a three-kilometer boulevard where roads leading to all of Phnom Penh’s main attractions connect.

Happy Painting Gallery

The promenade is decorated with fresh flowers that create a relaxing atmosphere. Art lovers can visit the Happy Painting gallery, which presents paintings about the life of Cambodians. You can also see here to buy handmade souvenirs. The best silk and bedding sets are sold in stores on Sisovata.

Restaurants, cafes and fast-food establishments offer guests dishes of national (Khmer) cuisine, as well as a huge selection of Mexican, French, Italian and Indian dishes.

At night, the promenade is transformed – there is an almost carnival atmosphere here, from many nightclubs come cheerful music.

Interesting fact! Near the promenade, not far from 104th street, the port of Phnom Penh is located, from here follow the ferry to Siem Reap. Mekong Express buses depart from the main street and go to all cities of the country.

Temple at Wat Phnom

The hill, 27 meters high, is a natural elevation, completely covered by forest. Locals love to walk here and, of course, guests of the capital come. The forest was landscaped and turned into a beautiful park.

Wat Phnom Temple

A Buddhist temple is a popular place among Cambodians, people come here to ask for protection and mercy. If the situation develops well, they always bring gifts to the gods – jasmine garlands, bundles of bananas.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a Buddhist monastery was built at the place of worship of gods and spirits, where the remains of the monarch Poneyyata are stored. The temple still has Buddha statues found by the nun Stump.

Inside the temple of Wat Phnom

In addition to the remains of the monarch Poneyyata and a small pavilion built in honor of the nun Peny, the park has a sanctuary of Preychau spirit, the room is decorated with images of Confucius, other sages, a Vishnu sculpture is installed.

Wat Phnom Hill is a picturesque architectural and natural complex, the central entrance to which is located on the east side. Guests climb stairs with railings adorned with figures of snakes. At the foot there are two sculptures of lions guarding the park.

Good to know! There are many beggars in the park, so you need to carefully monitor personal belongings.

You can ride an elephant

To see the attraction, it will take from 2 to 4 hours, since this is the most pleasant place to relax in the capital of Cambodia. At the foot of the hill you can ride an elephant, entertainment costs about $ 15.

Interesting fact! Near the entrance to the Buddhist temple are local residents with cells. If you pay $ 1, you can release one bird at will. The ritual is beautiful, it is believed that it brings happiness, however, experienced tourists are advised to just watch but not touch the birds, as they are carriers of infection. In addition, each is trained to return to its owner.

Soothsayers are most in demand, who for a reasonable fee will tell you about the future in English or French.

It is best to visit the park in the evening, at this time of day the temple is beautifully illuminated with garlands.

Address: Street 96, Norodom Blvd, you can watch the temple daily from 8-00 to 18-00. The easiest way to get there is by tuk-tuk. If you travel by car, follow the road number 94, it will lead to the main entrance. You can come by bus number 106, but the stop is two blocks from the entrance.

How to get to Phnom Penh

International Airport

An international airport is located 11 km from the city of Phnom Penh, however, there are no direct flights from Ukraine, so you will have to travel by plane with a change in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong.

From the airport to the capital of Cambodia can be reached by tuk-tuk, the cost of the trip is 7-9 $.

Cambodia has a developed bus service. Flights are provided to all major cities of the country – Bangkok, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City.

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How to get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
Riding slipping bass

Tickets are sold at all travel agencies. Experienced tourists recommend not specifically looking for a bus station, since there is no difference in the cost of tickets.

Depending on the time of arrival in Sihanoukville, you can buy tickets for a night flight (slipping bass) or a day flight, there are also minibuses – the most comfortable transport.

It is important! Ticket price $ 10. The road takes from 6 to 7 hours.

There is a water connection between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, ferries run, a ticket costs $ 35, the journey takes 6-7 hours.

How to get from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh

Buses run between settlements:

  • a large bus leaves from the bus station, a ticket costs $ 6;
  • minibuses – depart from the hotel, travel about 4-5 hours, one stop on the way.

The best bus carriers:

Mekong Express Buses
  • Mekong Express (official site –;
  • Giant Ibis (official website –

Tickets can be booked online or purchased directly at the hotel. The buses are all comfortable, there is free Wi-Fi, a comfortable place is provided for the legs, air conditioning is working.

Mekong Express buses run to the center of Phnom Penh or Ou Ruessei Market. There are many inexpensive hotels nearby.

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How to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh
Bus from downtown Ho Chi Minh City

Between the cities there are buses, tickets are bought at the bus station, online (on the official website), at a hotel or at a travel agency. From Ho Chi Minh City, buses depart from the city center (from Fang Ngu Lao Street).

Tickets cost about $ 14, the journey takes from 7 to 8 hours. On the way, the bus makes a stop, during which time you can have a bite to eat. IN

It is important! It is most convenient to order a transfer between cities. The cost of a taxi is about $ 90. Big companies can travel by minibus.

How to get from Bangkok to Phnom Penh
By plane from Bangkok

The fastest way to fly by plane, the road takes 1 hour. Another way is by bus, but the route is long, you have to spend all day. On the way, you need to make a transfer in the border town of Aranyapratet.

  • From Bangkok to Aranyaprathet there are buses with a frequency of 1 hour, departure from the northern bus station. The trip takes about 5 hours, a ticket costs $ 9.
  • As a rule, all buses come to the bus station, from here you need to take a tuk-tuk to the border crossing (cost $ 1.5).
  • Here in the immigration office or in travel agencies you can apply for a Cambodian visa and travel to Phnom Penh.
  • You can rent a tuk-tuk, drive to the bus station and get to Phnom Penh for $ 15. A taxi ride will cost $ 25.

Cambodia is a colorful Asian country that attracts the attention of millions of tourists from all over the world. It would be a mistake to come to the country and not visit Phnom Penh (Cambodia).

Sights of Phnom Penh are marked on the map in Russian.

What Phnom Penh looks like from the air – watch the video.

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