Once known as the “Pearl of Asia” Phnom Penh was built at the confluence of the Mekong, Tonle Sap, and Bassac rivers. The Kingdom of Cambodia’s up and down past, Phnom Penh is an enchanting old-new fusion spot. Here is a list of the top tourist attractions in Phnom Penh you must visit if you have a chance to make a trip to this destination.
Tourist Attractions in Phnom Penh
1. Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda
The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are the most popular sights in the city. The compound in which these ornamental buildings lie is situated on the riverfront.
The Royal Palace serves as the King’s residence and is used as a venue for a court ceremony. The Silver Pagoda or the Wat Preah Keo Morokat is a unique temple and is mostly known for its silver floor tiles. The Royal Palace compound also has a few couples of other Royal buildings having their own significance.
2. The National Museum
The National Museum of Cambodia is home to the archaeological, religious, and artistic artifacts of the Khmer that dates back to the 4th century. The museum was built in 1917-1920 during the French colonial period. Therefore, the main architecture of the museum has a blend of two architectures: France and Cambodia. This is also a distinctive attraction of the National Museum from other famous architectural works in Cambodia.
Inside, the dazzling array of ancient Khmer artistry displays more than 1,800 objects is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in Cambodian history. The main outstanding in galleries is the Vishnu head excavated near the vast temple complex of Angkor Wat; the incredible Angkorian collection, with statues from the temples of Koh Ker and Angkor Thom; the large exhibit of pre-Angkorian artifacts that trace Cambodia’s Funan and Chenla periods.
3. Phsar Thmei (Central Market)
From beneath a shining central golden dome, four pearl-white wings full of busy vendors stretch into numerous corridors and a cloud of sounds, sights, and scents. This art deco relic of the French Colonial architectural era was once believed to be the largest market in Asia and has continued to operate since it completed construction in 1937. No matter what they are looking for, shoppers are likely to find a bargain here. From burned CDs and DVDs to discount tees, from luscious batik and brocade textiles to gold and gemstones, there is something for every taste to find here.
4. Choeung Ek Genocidal center
This is one of the tourist attractions in Phnom Penh. Choeung Ek Genocidal center is located outside the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Infamously known as the Killing Fields, this is a mass grave site built to commemorate the death of thousands of civilians during the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1978. It is one of the disturbing places to visit in Phnom Penh that showcases the mass murders of people, who were held as prisoners in S-21 prison. Tourists can get to know the entire dark history of this period on tours where they can see thousands of skulls and bones.
5. Sisowath Quay
This riverside strip has been an important commercial public region for centuries. Bordering the Mekong River and abutted by the Royal Palace, this area is full of street vendors and shops, restaurants, and hotels. It is one of the best locations to watch the boat races during Phnom Penh’s (and much of Southeast Asia’s) famed water festival, which takes place in mid-April to celebrate the Buddhist new year. Sisowath Quay has a very westernized, multinational vibe, as it is home to several colonial-style buildings as well as a number of Embassies. For those planning a boat trip to Siem Reap, the ferry terminals leave from here.
6. Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom is located on a hill north of the capital Phnom Penh, considered one of the ancient temples in the country of pagodas. Set on top of a tree-covered knoll 27m high, it is the highest point in this city. The first religious building on this spot is thought to have been constructed in the 14th century and the temple was restored and reconstructed over several years, namely in 1434, 1806, 1894, and 1926. Sacred Wat Phnom is a symbol of the Cambodian capital and is regularly visited by local devotees who either come for prayers or participate in meditation.