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PHNOM PENH CAPITAL

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Phnom Penh is the vibrant bustling capital of Cambodia. Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap, what was once considered the 'Gem' of Indochina. The capital city still maintains considerable charm with plenty to see. It exudes a sort of provincial charm and tranquillity with French colonial mansions and tree-lined boulevards amidst monumental Angkorian architecture. Phnom Penh is a veritable oasis compared to the modernity of other Asian capitals. A mixture of Asian exotica, the famous Cambodian hospitality awaits the visitors to the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
 
Here in the capital, are many interesting touristy sites. Beside the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum, the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, the Choeng Ek Killing Fields and Wat Phnom, there are several market places selling carvings, paintings, silk, silver, gems and even antiques. Indeed, an ideal destination for a leisurely day tour. The whole area including the outskirts of Phnom Penh is about 376 square kilometres big. There are currently 2,009,264 people living in Phnom Penh.
 
The city takes its name from the re-known Wat Phnom Daun Penh (nowadays: Wat Phnom or Hill Temple), which was built in 1373 to house five statues of Buddha on a man made hill 27 meters high. These five statues were floating down the Mekong in a Koki tree and an old wealthy widow named Daun Penh (Grandma Penh) saved them and set them up on this very hill for worshiping. Phnom Penh was also previously known as Krong Chaktomuk (Chaturmukha) meaning "City of Four Faces". This name refers to the confluence where the Mekong, Bassac, and Tonle Sap rivers cross to form an "X" where the capital is situated. 

Phnom Penh is also the gateway to an exotic land - the world heritage site, the largest religious complex in the world, the temples of Angkor in the west, the beaches of the southern coast and the ethnic minorities of the North-eastern provinces. There are also a wide variety of services including five star hotels and budget guest houses, fine international dining, sidewalk noodle shops, neighbourhood pubs international discos and more. 

Phnom Penh, like other Asian-City tourist destinations, is in the midst of rapid change. Over the past few years the number of restaurants and hotels have grown considerably and in the last year there had been a huge increase in the number of visitors. Come and see a real original as it won't be the same in a few years.
GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE
Phnom Penh is located in the southern heard of the country and fully surrounded by the Kandal Province. The municipality consists of the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The province also features three of the biggest rivers of the country the Tonle Bassac, the Tonle Sap and the mighty Mekong.
 
All three rivers cross to form an "X" at their confluence, where the capital is situated. These rivers provide potential freshwater and other resources. The city, located at 11.55 N 104.91667? E (11?33' North, 104?55' East) covers an area of 375 square kilometres (145 sq mi) which some 11,401 hectares (28,172 acres) in the municipality and 26,106 hectares (64,509 acres) of roads. The agricultural land in the municipality amounts to 34.685 square kilometres (13 sq mi) with some 1.476 square kilometres (365 acres) under irrigation.

The country has a tropical climate - warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travellers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.

Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.

General information about the provincial climate:
- Cool season: November - March (22-28c)
- Hot season: March - May (28c-38c)
- Rainy season: May - October (24-32c, with humidity up to 90%.)

The city temperatures range from 15 to 38 C and experiences tropical monsoons. Monsoons blow from the Southwest inland, bringing moisture-laden winds from the Gulf of Thailand and Indian Ocean from May to October. The northeast monsoon ushers in the dry season, which lasts from November to March. The city experiences the heaviest precipitation from September to October with the driest period occurring from January to February.
HOW TO GET THERE ?
Phom Penh can be reached by either domestic flights, international flights or overland and speedboat from neighbouring provinces. Phnom Penh is a fairly easy city to get around. Though traffic is getting more congested these days, you can still travel the length of the city in less than 40 minutes. Regarding the economical boom these days, the traffic increases significantly.
 
Phnom Penh International Airport:
On arrival, taxis and motorcycle taxis (motodups) can be hired just outside the arrival lobby. There are no meter taxis (just developing this service). Taxis cost $7.00 for the 20-30 minute ride into the city centre. Cheaper, slower and less comfortable, motorcycle taxis can be hired for $2.00 into town. A usual taxi to the airport from town costs about $5-$7. Allow a minimum of 30-40 minutes to get to the airport, as you might get into some traffic jams during the rush hour.
 
Port of Phnom Penh:
The ferry port in Phnom Penh is on Sisowath Quay (the riverfront road) at Street 104, just north of the main riverfront park/restaurant area. If you are arriving in Phnom Penh, there are always motor taxis and car taxis waiting for fares. Motorcycle taxis run about R1500-R3000 and car taxis about $3-$5 to downtown hotels.
 
Cars and Taxis:
More common are un-metered, unmarked taxis, which can be arranged through your hotel or travel agent, and can also be found outside hotels along the Monivong Blvd. near Kampuchea Krom. A car plus driver costs you $20-$30/day. Shorter jaunts, for a minimum of $2-$3. 4WD vehicles will give you a ride for $60/day and up.
 
Short and long term rental of a wide variety of vehicles:
 
Motorcycle Taxis (Motodup):
The omnipresent motos are the most common and fastest form of public transportation but are certainly not the safest. They are more prone to accidents and robberies than cars. Motos cost from 1000R-4000R for a trip in town and $6-$10 per day. Prices go surely up at night.
 
Bicycle Rental:
A few guesthouses, (e.g. Capitol Guesthouse) have bicycles for rent for around $1-1.5/day. Bicycle stores are clustered near the intersection of Streets 182 and 107. They do not rent bikes, but a used bike can be bought for about $30-40 and resold for around $20.
 
Motorcycle Rental:
Motorcycles (100cc - 125cc) can be rented for $3 - $5/day. Tourists often rent 250cc dirt bikes, even if it's a bit too much power and weight for the slow city traffic (250cc for $10-13). For in-city driving, a 100cc is recommended. A 250cc is perfect for the poor roads outside Phnom Penh. Chaotic traffic makes cycling in the city challenging in the extreme. Roads outside the city vary dramatically in condition. If you do decide to ride, drive slowly, stay right, wear a helmet and remember that medical services are quite limited.
 
Buses:
Ho Wah Genting offers bus service to nearby destinations using modern air-conditioned buses. Get off or on at any point along the line. Buses depart every 15 minutes to one hour, daily from 6am-6pm. 1200R-12000R. The station is at the corner of the Central Market. Route #1: Koki, Kien Svay, Neak Luong, And Route #2: Takhmao, Takeo, And Route #4: Kampong Speu, Sihanoukville, And Route #5: Oudong, Kampong Chhnang, Route #6: Raw Kakong, Kampong Cham.  Also near the central market (Southwest corner) you may find the biggest bus station in town. Sorya Bus Company takes you almost everywhere in the country where a paved road is available. The buses are a little bit older than from some other companies, but still featuring air-con and usual seats. The prices are reasonable (approx. $1 for 70-80km).
 
Cyclos:
The humble cyclo can be a romantic and practical form of transport though not as safe as a car or fast as a motor. Cyclos are easier than motors and during a rain they offer a drier ride. They often charge twice as much as a motos and are notorious for overcharging tourists, but keep in mind that physical work.
WHAT TO SEE ?
Central Market (Phsar Thmei)
The dark-yellow Art Deco Phsa Thmei (New Market) is also referred to as the Central Market, a reference to its location and size. It was constructed in 1935 37. The Art deco building is shaped in the form of a cross with a nice central dome. And has four wings filled with shops selling gold and silver jewelry, antique coins, fake name-brand watches and other such items.
 
Around the main buildings are stalls offering Krama (checked scarves), stationery, household items, cloth for sarongs, flowers and second hand clothes, usually from Europe and the US. For photographers, the fresh food section affords a lot of opportunities. There are a host of good value food stalls on the structure's western side, which faces Monivong Blvd. Central Market is undoubtedly the best of Phnom Penh's markets for browsing. It is the cleanest and has the widest range of products for sale. Opening hours are from early morning until early evening.
 
Shopping in Phnom Penh is a major attraction for tourists who love to buy back some souvenirs from this exotic Asian land. Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh is one of those busy bazaars that are always filled with effervescent crowd from one end to the other. The Central Market (Phsar Thmei) of Phnom Penh stocks everything right from food items to clothes, silverworks and jewelries. Where the Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh is now located was previously a swamp that was used to accumulate runoff rainwaters. The market building is a beautiful one, a spectacular instance of Cambodian architecture.Central Market (Phsar Thmei) of Phnom Penh in Cambodia also sells electronic items and there is also plenty of secondhand stuff that you can buy here at an affordable rate. The gateway to the market is lined with hawkers who sell different kinds of tidbits.
 
The jewelries are found in the interior of the market and some of the gold ornament that you will find here are really unsurpassable in design and style. Central Market (Phsar Thmei) at Phnom Penh should have been actually called the New Market for that is what "Phsar Thmei" means in English. However, today it is popular to the tourists by its present English name. Coming to Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh and then going back to your respective hotel is easy as there are plenty of transportation facilities near the marketplace. A taxi stand can be found at the northwest corner of the market and the southwest exit will take you to a bus stand.
 
Whoever loves to browse endlessly through small yet enticing shops, will find the Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh an enchanting place. Don't chuck shopping at the Phnom Penh Travel Guide! It is a great source of fun and adventure in the city. The name "Phsar Thmey" means "New Market" but in English, it is commonly called "Central Market". This may cause some come confusion because Phnom Penh also has a "Phsar Kandal" close to Wat Unalaum and the Riverside. That name would translate in English to "Central Market"In the northwest corner of the market is a taxi station for cars direction Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, Kratie etc. The bus station is in the southwest corner.
 
Chaktomuk Conference Hall
The Chaktomuk Conference Hall is located at Preah Sisowath Quay, Sangkat Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh. It designed by renowned architect Vann Molyvann, this venue was originally opened in 1961 as La Salle de Conf?rence Chaktomuk. Earmarked for redevelopment as a restaurant in 1991, it was brought back into use as a theatre in 1994 following the devastating fire at the National Theatre. The Chaktomuk Conference Hall was completely refurbished in 2000, primarily to provide international-standard facilities for conferences. Subject to programming it is still utilised from time to time as a theatre venue, but only for special programmes organised directly by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
 
Type of venue: conference hall/theatre; main use: conferences, lectures and occasional performing arts activites; seating: 592 seats total with retractable writing pallets; proscenium opening: semi-elliptical opening 14m W×5m H; performing area: irregular-shaped stage 14m W at widest point×8m D at centre×5m H to grid; wing spaces: none; suspension equipment: overhead pipe grid for suspension of masking and lighting; soft hangings: black legs and borders; lighting: RDS Dimass 30-channel control, very basic lighting rig; sound: Presis Studio 32 10-channel mixer, DAS E8 and E12 power amplifiers, DAS speakers, pa system; backstage: 25m? quick-change area to rear of stage accommodating 20 persons total, VIP lounge; climate control: air-conditioned; availability: currently used only for official programmes organised by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, not available for straight hire.
 
Phnom Penh Chaktomuk Conference Hall was opened in 1961 as La Salle de Conf?rence Chaktomuk. In 1991, it was fully renovated and was meant to be a restaurant. It was brought back in its original state as a theater in 1994 after the devastating fire at the National Theater. The auditorium has a total of 592 seats with retractable writing pallets. The performing area has an irregular-shaped stage with overhead pipe grid for suspension of masking, lighting and soft hangings and a spacious backstage area.
 
The Chaktomuk Conference Hall in Phnom Penh has undergone several changes and was completely remodeled in the year 2000 mainly to provide international standard facilities for conferences, seminars and lectures. But because of the flexible design, Chaktomuk Conference Hall, Phnom Penh is used as a theater hall only for special programs and concerts organized by Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in Cambodia. 

Chaktomuk Conference Hall, Phnom Penh is a convenient venue for hosting programs related to performing arts and music as the auditorium is fully air-conditioned with climate control system and state-of-the-art audio and lighting system. Chaktomuk Conference Hall is also the venue for Phnom Penh's famous International Music Festival.
 
The main use of the Chaktomuk Conference Hall at Phnom Penh at present is for conferences, lectures and occasional performing arts activities. The fabulous seating arrangement consist a total of 592 seats with retractable writing pallets. The hall is air-conditioned and there is a quick change area at the backstage accommodating 20 persons in all. There is also the availability of VIP Lounge in Chaktomuk Conference Hall in Phnom Penh.
 
The fan shaped Chaktomuk Conference Hall in Phnom Penh is one of the mainstays of Phnom Penh's public architecture. It is the architectural beauty and its relation with the tradition that attracts numerous tourists to visit the place. It has now become one of the important and major sightseeing in Phnom Penh. The Phnom Penh travel guide will definitely mention the Chaktomuk Conference Hall as it would be incomplete without it.
 
Cheung Ek Killing Field
Between 1975 and 1978,aabout 17,000 men, women, children and infants (including nine westerners), detained and tortured at S-21 prison (now Tuol Sleng Museum), were transported to the extermination to death to avoid wasting precious bullets.The remains of 8985 people, many of whom were bound and blindfolded, were exhumed in 1980 from mass graves in this one-time long an orchard; 43 of the 129 communal graves here have been left untouched. Fragment of Human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. Over 8000 skulls, arranged by sex, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memoral Stupa, which was erected in 1988.The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are 15 km from Central Phnom Penh. To get there, take Monireth Blvd south-westward out of the city from the Dang Kor Market bus depot. The site is 8.5 km from the bridge near 271 St. A memorial ceremony is held annually at Choeung Ek on 9 May.

Killing Fields of Cheung Ek is situated 15 kilometers south-west of Phnom Penh and made famous by the film of the same name "Killing Field". it was a place where more than 17,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves; many of them transported here after detention and torture in Toul Sleng. This place is a chilling reminder of the brutalities of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. In the center of the area is a 17 story glass stupa which houses 8000 skulls exhumed from mass graves. Open daily.Note: Both Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields exhibits may be disturbing for some and aren't suitable for younger children and adults who are easily shocked.
 
The Cheung Ek genocide museum is located in Cheung Ek commune, Dankoar district, about 15 km from the centre of Phnom Penh. This is the location where the Khmer Rouge took their prisoners for execution. The prisoners were made to wait here for 24 hours before they were killed by a blow to the head after which their throats were slit. Babies were killed by bashing their heads against a tree. There were separate graves for men, for women and for children. Former friends of Pol Pot who were executed here had separate graves too.Visitors can walk along 86 mass graves from which the remainders of 8,985 men, women and children were unearthed after the liberation of the Khmers Rouges. Some of those skulls, bones and pieces of clothing are now kept in the nearby massive stupa.
 
There were killing fields all over the country, but Cheung Ek was believed to be the largest every year on the 20th of May a ceremony is held around the stupa to bring peace to the spirits of the deceased.Sightseeing in Phnom Penh gives the tourists ample opportunity to visit the numerous places in and around the city. Cheung Ek Killing Field in Phnom Penh is a very important place in the city as it has a long history attached to it. The place is really fascinating for all those coming to visit the city. The place has a long history behind it and reminds one of the horrifying times that the people of Cambodia have gone through during the reign of Khmer and after.
 
The Cheung Ek Killing Field at Phnom Penh is one of the most prolific and historic place in Phnom Penh and stands a cruel reminder of the atrocities inflicted upon the masses of Cambodia. The place has become very popular now as it is the center of all killings which took place in the city and later got christened as the famous Killing Field. The place is really popular as tourists from all over the world come here. The place has really direct links with the horrific past of Cambodia and Phnom Penh.
 
There are many things to see while visiting the Cheung Ek Killing Field in Phnom Penh. The place has been most aptly been named as the Killing Field in Phnom Penh. The place is actually a mass grave where almost 17,000 innocents were slaughtered mercilessly for no fault of theirs. The place is really frightening and sends a shiver down the spine as one recalls how the place had been transformed into a grave. There is actually a stupa which stands in the middle of the area and it is this stupa which has become the place for housing the 8,000 skulls taken out from the mass graves. Cheung Ek Killing Field of Phnom Penh is open daily. All are welcome though it is advised by the authorities that children should be advised and properly guided before they come here. Cheung Ek Killing Field in Phnom Penh is located at a distance of 15 kilometers away from the south -western frontiers of Phnom Penh.
 
The Democratic of Kampuchea was led by Pol Pot, a former schoolteacher. The killing machine of S-21 was a secret prison for torturing, interrogating, and depriving those who were accused of illegal activities and accused of being traitors. The Khmer Rouge acted like savage animals with no conscience as they preyed upon the innocent and naive citizens. The Khmer Rouge had turned the peaceful and beautiful Cheung Ek village into the infamous and miserable killing fields. The Pol Pot regime slaughtered people in the thousands without mercy and buried them in mass graves. No matter how much visitors have read or been told about the Khmer Rouge brutality and the number of people killed all visitors shall understand the full process of how the tens of thousands prisoners were executed here. More importantly, visitors can learn about the chain of command established by Pol Pot.
 
Given the way that the Ultra Khmer Rouge Regime was organized, a decision for murder was most likely ordered by ?Brother Number 01 himself, Pol Pot. Everything had to meet with his approval, even thoughthere is no written proof. However, Son Sen, who was responsible for National Security and Defense and Ducha commandant at S-21, were directly responsible for killing the prisoners at S-21 and Cheung Ek Killing Field and written proof is available. At S-21 there were many documents routed to the party center and they all passed through Son Sen?s hands. Dozens of memoranda addressed to him by Duch have survived. Duch?s queries and annotations have appeared on the prisoners? confessions, often in red ink. More often, Duch denigrated what the prisoners confessed and suggested beatings and tortures to unearth truth that he thought the prisoners were hiding. These documents display how the Upper Brothers, Son Sen and Duch, were responsible for the thousands of prisoners' murders at S-21 and Cheung Ek.
 
After getting an instruction to kill from the Central Committee of the regime through Son Sen, Duch ordered his deputy, Hor, to produce a "must smash" list .Taking orders from Hor, and Suon Thy who were in charge of the documentary unit, the list was prepared. The list was submitted to Duch for his signature. Then, the signed list was sent to Peng, the head of Defense unit, who seems to have been demoted in 1978 when his duties were taken by Hyu. Peng had the keys to all of the cells in the S-21 prison. Based on the list, Peng ordered the guards to remove the "must smash" prisoners to be killed.
 
The Important and special prisoners like Keo Meas ( a veteran revolutionary), Ney Saran ( Secretary of Agriculture), Hu Nim ( Minister of Information), Kuy Thuon ( Secretary of Northern Zone), Cheng An (Deputy Minister of Industry), Von Veth ( Deputy prime Minister), and foreigners were killed and buried at the S-21 prison. As for foreigners including Canadians, Americans, Australians and British, guards were ordered to kill them and to burn their dead bodies so that no bones were left (Nic Dunlop 2005:275).
 
The majority of the victims were trucked out to Choeung Ek, at about 8 or 9 o’clock PM, to be killed. The guards took the prisoners from their cells to the main gate where a large truck waited and told them that they were being transferred to another place. This lie was created to prevent the prisoners from crying, refusing to go or from escaping. In order to be well prepared for execution, a messenger from the defense unit was sent to the Choeung Ek Killing Field in advance to inform a permanent team about the number of the prisoners to be killed that day. Usually, the messenger went to the Killing Field by motorcycle in the mornings. To ensure that a top secret was kept and also that the execution was carried out properly, Duch, Peng, and Huy were requested to attend by Son Sen, the Minister in charge of defense and security. Often times, Duch sat smoking on a mat near the pit to supervise the executions and to insure their murderous plans. 

The number of prisoners executed at Choeung Ek on a daily basis varied from a few dozen to over three hundred. The latter figure was recorded in May, 1978 at the height of the pursuits in the Eastern Zone. On a monthly basis two or three trucks would go from S-21 to Choeung Ek. Each truck held three or four guards and twenty to thirty frightened, silent prisoners. When the trucks arrived at the site, two guards seated with prisoners jumped from the canvas and took prisoners down, shoved them into a small building. The building was constructed from wood with a galvanized steel roof and its walls were built with two layers of flat wood to darken the room and also to prevent prisoners seeing each other. Then, with the electricity light supplied by a generator , Peng or Huy the heads of capturers subunit, verified prisoners? names against a "must-smash" list prepared by the head of documentation unit, Suos Thy. This list ensured that no one prisoner was missed. Prisoners were led in small groups to ditches and pits that were dug in advance by another team stationed permanently at the site.
 
They were told to kneel down and then they were clubbed on the neck with tools such as cart axle, hoe, stick, wooden club or whatever else served as a weapon of death. They were sometimes stabbed with knives or swords to save using bullets, which were deemed to be too expensive. Duch said: ?We had instructions from the party on how to kill them, but we didn?t use bullets and usually, we slit their throats. We killed them like chickens? ( Dunlop 2005:273)Him Huy, who took the prisoners to be killed at Choeung Ek recalled,?They were ordered to kneel down at the edge of the hole. Their hands were tied behind them. They were beaten on the neck with an iron ox-cart axle, sometimes with one blow, sometimes with two… ? (David Chandler 1999:140).

Soon after prisoners were executed, the head of inspectors made sure that no one was alive. According to a witness who came to Cheung Ek just 2 days after liberation day, January 7th, 1979, said that at the site there was a small hut with chemical substances. He guessed that executioners scattered these substances over the dead bodies of the victims after execution. This action might have served two purposes: first, to eliminate the stench from the dead bodies which could potentially raise suspicion among people working near the Killing Fields and secondly, the chemicals would have killed off victims who were buried alive. Unfortunately, these poisonous substances were lost in 1979.
 
Kong San, an ex-Khmer Rouge soldier of 703 division, recalled at that time he had grown rice near Cheung Ek and when the wind blew strongly sometimes he smelt a stench. He thought the smell was just the stench of decomposing dead pets. But after the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled, he found out that Choeung Ek was a Killing Field (From winner to self- destruction 2000: 142).At the end, when the execution was completely finished, the killers washed their body and killing tools in a ditch near the site. The list at Choeung Ek was submitted to Suos Thy, to double-check that no prisoners was missed.
 
Independence Monument 
An Angkorian style tower, the inimitable place in the whole city, located in the heart of the capital. It was built in 1958 to Sybilles Cambodian Independence Day after winning back their independence from the French protectorate on the 9th of November 1953. The monument attracts many tourists for its peculiar looking but unique style distinguishes it from all the buildings in the city. It is also used as a memorial place dedicated to the Cambodian's patriot who died for the country.
 
The Independence Monument (Vimean Ekareach) was inaugurated on November 9, 1962 to celebrate the independence from the French in 1953, but now also serving as a cenotaph to Cambodia?s war dead. The 20-meter high monument was designed by Cambodian architect, Vann Molyvann, and is shaped in the form of a lotus, which also can be seen at Angkor and other Khmer historical sites. You are not allowed to enter the monument. At night it is lit with blue, red and white light (the colours of the national flag) and it should be an impressive sight - but I didn?t see it.
 
There is a big open park at the Independence Monument and it seems to be a popular place among the locals. Smacked right at the corner of Norodom and Sihanouk Blvd, this piece of landmark is hard to miss. I took a nice picture of this piece but be careful because it is located in the middle of a roundabout.The monument was built in 1962 to celebrate Cambodia's independence from the foreign rule. It also serves as a monument to Cambodias war dead. It is the site for celebrations and services.When walking around in the city of Phnom Penh, have a look on the Independence Monument,10 minutes walking behind the Royal Palace.
 
It is surrounded by very large parcs and fountains and the monument itself is not the most impressive in the city. The Independence Monument in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, was built in 1958 following the country's independence from France. It stands on the intersection of Norodom and Sihanouk Boulevards in the centre of the city. It is in the form of a lotus-shaped stupa, of the style seen at the great Khmer temple at Angkor Wat and other Khmer historical sites.The Independence Monument was inaugurated in 1958 to celebrate Cambodia's independence from foreign rule, now it also serves as a monument to Cambodia's war dead. At night the monument is illuminated by red, blue and white floodlights, the colors of the Cambodian flag. It is the site of celebrations and services on holidays such as Independence Day and Constitution Day.
 
National Museum 
The NATIONAL MUSEUM has a good collection of Khmer sculptures dating from the pre-Angkor period (4th century) to post-Ankgor period (14th century). The museum, built of red bricks by the French in 1917 in a pseudo-Khmer style, is built around a courtyard.
 
A stone's throw away from the Tonle Sap is the royal Palace built on the site of the Banteay Kev, a citadel built in 1813. The Palace grounds contain several buildings: the Throne Room of Prasat Tevea Vinichhay which is used for the coronation of kings, official receptions and traditional ceremonies; the Chan Chhaya Pavilion which is a venue for dance performances; the king's official residence called the Khemarin; the Napoleon Pavilion and the spectacular Silver Pagoda. This pagoda is worth exploring. It owes its name to the 5,000 silver tiles weighing 1kg each which cover the entire floor. The emerald Buddha sits on a pedestal high atop the dias. In front of the dias stands a life-size Buddha made of solid gold and weighs 75kg. It is decked with precious gems including diamonds, the largest of which is 25 carats. Also on display at the sides are the coronation apparel and numerous miniature Buddha in gold and silver.
 
The walls surrounding the compound which is the oldest part of the palace, are covered with frescos depicting scenes from the Khmer version of the Ramayana. A visit to the markets and market halls is a must as they give an opportunity to be acquainted with the country's local produce and also to buy textiles, antiques, gold and silver jewellery. The four wings of the yellow coloured Central Market are teeming with numerous stalls selling gold and silver jewellery, antique coins, clothing, clocks, flowers, food, fabrics, shoes and luggage. For some good paintings or if you prefer antiques, head fro the Tuol Tom Poong Market also known as the Russian Market. A word of caution though: you need to sharpen your bargaining skills as the prices here can be outrageously high.
 
The museum is open daily from 8am to 11:30am and from 2:30pm to 5pm. French and English spoken guides are available, or visitor can purchase one of the books or pamphlets available and wander the four courtyards, each facing out into a garden, and try to piece together the complex history through these magnificent work of ancient art themselves.
 
Old Market ( Phsar Chas)
Old Market (Phsar Chas) is a local market that is not at all geared to the tourist. It carries such items as fruits and vegetable, second hand cloths, hardware, motorcycle parts and religious items. In the late afternoon food vendors and fruit sellers set up mats along Street 13 in preparation for the evening market. The dinner rush hour makes for a confusing, dirty potentially photogenic scene.Located on the river at the south end of the Old French Quarter, Old Market ( Phsar Chas), Phnom Penh is one of the popular markets open to the local people and the tourists as well. Phnom Penh Old Market ( Phsar Chas) is one of the most crowded markets in the city. From fruits and vegetables to motorcycle parts, you can find it all in this market. In the late afternoon food vendors and fruit sellers spread mats along Street 13 and sit with their stocks for the evening market. So, the tourists will find Old Market ( Phsar Chas), Phnom Penh in every aspect a traditional market place to browse and shop.
 
Although there is not much of interest to the tourists, Old Market ( Phsar Chas), Phnom Penh is still a must see during Phnom Penh tour. The Old Market ( Phsar Chas) in Phnom Penh offers a great selection of antiques and curios. The Old Market are ifs filled with various shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, massage parlors and many more. Apart from that, the market has stores for foodstuffs, fruits and clothes. Second hand clothes are also sold here. Hardware items include motorcycle parts. Starting from morning till early evening, the south side of the market near the river becomes alive with hawkers and vendors selling souvenir, silk and a wide variety of Cambodian handicrafts, textiles, statues and curios. The Old Market ( Phsar Chas), Phnom Penh is also a good place to choose post cards, tee-shirts and other items that people buy when they visit the temple nearby.
 
The northern end of the market is mainly geared to the the locals selling vegetables, fruit, meats, clothes, home appliance stuffs, etc. The shopping streets in the surrounding area house a number of galleries and boutiques, each with its own style, collection and specialty. These boutiques and galleries are more comfortable air-conditioned shopping venues with quality items to sell. For food buffs, Old Market ( Phsar Chas), Phnom Penh is an ideal place to try some local cuisine. There are several small food stalls offering tasty but sometimes unhygienically prepared food. To stay fit you should try the dishes at the street side restaurants and pubs at the Old Market area. Though the Old Market closes after the sunset officially you will find many of the souvenir vendors at the south section of the market till 8 PM.
 
If you wish to plunge in to the heady excitement of shopping in Phnom Penh and feel the pulse of the city, you should definitely visit the Old Market! Offering a glimpse in to the rich cultural traditions of the region, the Old Market (Phsar Chas) in Phnom Penh is one of the places that always ranks at the top of the Phnom Penh Travel Guide for anyone visiting this exotic city! It is easy to spot this bustling market area along the river bank in Phnom Penh. You only have to get near the south end of the Old French Quarter and you'll be greeted by the sights and sounds of this popular market! For the best experience, visit the Old Market (Phsar Chas) of Phnom Penh when it opens in the morning. Spend all day exploring the fascinating charms of the market. The place begins shutting down at sun set, but the souvenir vendors at the south end of the market are open way in to the evening, beyond 8 pm. Tee-shirts, picture post cards of the city, locally produced vegetables, fruits - Old Market (Phsar Chas) at Phnom Penh in Cambodia beckons both locals and visitors to sample its various delights!The market area is choc-a-bloc with art galleries, bars, mssage parlors, inexpensive eateries selling delicious local fare and lots more
 
Orussey Market
Orussey Market is Centrally located, Orussey Market is much more geared towards locals than tourists; hence you will not find as much in the way of souvenirs as the other markets mentioned. A huge array of foodstuffs is on offer including the wet market with fresh meat, poultry and seafood. Other items in abundance include house ware, hardware and electronic goods.
 
There are a wide variety of items available for purchase in Orussey Market, Phnom Penh. This is one of the not so famous Tourist Attractions in Phnom Penh. The market is more frequented by the locals than the tourists in the city. The shops in the market generally sell essential items rather than souvenirs. That is why, tourists do not take much interest in visiting this market. Still, a visit to Orussey Market, Phnom Penh give you an opportunity to interact with the local people and get an idea of their food habits and daily life.
 
The shops at Orussey Market in Phnom Penh generally sell foodstuffs, household items, electronic goods and hardware. Orussey Market, Phnom Penh is one of the most traditional markets located at the heart of the city. This old market in located just one block away from one block away from Monivong Boulevard, one of the main avenues and shopping centers in the city. The market is housed at a closed, big square. The structure, painted with white and blue feature many colorful knickknacks.
 
A huge array of foodstuffs is sold including the wet market with vegetables, fresh meat, poultry and a wide variety of seafood. The range of household items include utensil, cutlery, crockery, dinner set, bed sheets and soft furnishing. In Phnom Penh Orussey Market you can shop for electronics goods at a surprisingly cheaper rate. The range include video games, calculators, electronic watches, torch, radio and toys. Bargaining is allowed at the market.
 
Apart from Orussey Market, Phnom Penh there are several other markets in Phnom Penh. Those who have a taste of handicrafts and artifacts and want to buy something special must visit the markets located around Orussey Market including Russian Market and Central Market.
 
Got inspired the other day and decided to blitz a local market with my cameras. Things start early in Cambodia, and I wanted to catch some of the crazy Saturday morning market action. Rolled out of bed at 5:30 and took a moto over to the Orussey Market, which was just starting to get busy. Took about 150 shots in all, 66 of which made the final cut.
 
The streets around Orussey teem with life. The whole area comes across as one massive bazaar as the market spills out to the adjacent buildings and beyond. Rubbish, potholes and chaotic traffic are de rigueur while goods are packed and unpacked everywhere. This is a place of business, not a tourist market. That said, some of Phnom Penh?s oldest guesthouses are also to be found in the area, catering to some very seasoned budget travellers.
 
In true local style, vendors of the same goods have monopolised sectors around the market. The northern end of Street 113 is lined with shop after shop selling similar textiles ? most also offer basic tailoring services. The stock includes a large amount of patterned synthetic fabrics as well as heavier cotton materials.
 
Capitol Guesthouse, at the corner of bike street and Orussey Market is a famed old-timer. Opened in 1991, the guesthouse seems a relic from the era when Phnom Penh was still ?Off the Rails?. Rooms start at US$3. Despite the bargain basement price they are relatively clean on the backpacker scale, while the restaurant serves basic, if unremarkable, Khmer fare. Capitol also organises a variety of day trips that are good value for lone travellers. All trips require a minimum amount of participants and the sign-up sheets at the guesthouse are empty most of the time. Groups are generally better off organising trips for themselves ? the ?sunset on the Tonle Sap? cruise costs US$6 per person for a minimum of six. Capitol also operates reasonably priced buses to several destinations in Cambodia and beyond.
 
Ounalom Pagoda
Wat Ounalom is another of Phnom Penh's five original monasteries (1422). it housed the Institute Bouddhique and library. On the riverfront about 250 meters north of the National Museum, facing the Tonle Sap River near the Royal Palace, this pagoda serves as the headquarters for one of Cambodia?s most revered Buddhist patriarchs.Ounalom Pagoda, Phnom Penh is one of the major tourist attractions in Phnom Penh. With respect to the numerous pagodas, parks, monuments and museums, the city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia is an idea destination for the vacationers. A visit to the Ounalom Pagoda, Phnom Penh will render a pleasurable experience to your trip to this city.
 
Situated in the Corner Sothearos, the Ounalom Pagoda in Phnom Penh is one of the most significant pagodas featuring Cambodian Buddhism. This pagoda comprises of the country's religious establishment. It is here where the top monk of the nation resides. In the earlier years, this pagoda served as the library of the Buddhist Institute. At that time, this place has cumulated about 30, 000 titles. However, it was later ruined by the Khmer Rouge. Over the years, the structure has been regained from its ruins caused by the Vietnamese invasion in 1979. In the recent times, this old institute has been re-positioned to more spacious areas on the Sihanouk Boulevard. The most important and eminent attribute related to this wat or pagoda is a hair from Buddha's eyebrow which is referred to as 'ounalom'. At present, it has been conserved carefully in a building situated behind the main wat of the Ounalom Pagoda.
 
This pagoda lies in front of the Tonle Sap River. The Royal Palace is also quite close to the wat. The area features a pleasant ambience where tourists can take a stroll. Now this pagoda serves as the headquarters of the Cambodian Buddhism.The Wat Ounalom or the Ounalom Pagoda can be regarded as the most important pagoda in all of Phnom Penh, since it is the headquarters of the Buddhist patriarchate of Phnom Penh and was also the home of the Buddhist Institute and library until 1999. Wat Ounalom was one of the five initial monasteries to be built in Phnom Penh, way back in the year 1422 during the reign of Ponhea Yat. Before 1974, the pagoda housed over 500 Buddhist monks and also the library of the Buddhist Institute which had a collection of over 30,000 titles. The library was unfortunately destroyed with many other buildings during the years of the Khmer Rogue. The Institute is now re-established and was moved to the Sihanouk Boulevard, where it enjoys a much larger area.
 
Relaxing Places
In additional to the main tourist attractions above, Phnom Penh offers a number of other cultural sites and place to relaxe. They include Chaktomuk Hall, south of the Royal Palace and along the riverfront, where dancers perform traditional Cambodian dance. Independence Monument, near down town, is the site of many ceremonial events. It adjoints a long mall that streches east toward the riverfront, where it meets Hun Sen Park, near the Naga Casino Resort Complex. There are also numerous popular bars and nightclubs for visitors looking for something todo after dark.
 
Riverfront Park 
A stroll or Cyclo ride along the park-lined riverfront is a must pubs, restaurants, shops and tourist boats line the way. Chhrouy Changva park is another newly attraction at the other side of the river opposite the Royal Palace. The view of the confluence of Mekong and the Tonle Sap is geographically unique. Early risers, check out the spectacular sunrise over the river in front of the Royal Palace.
 
Royal Palace 
Gleaming in gold, the Royal Palace is one of Phnom Penh?s most splendid architectural achievements. It is home to His Majesty Preah Bat smdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and Her Majesty Preah Reach Akka-Mohesey Norodom Monineath. The palace was built in 1866 by His Majeaty Preah Bat Norodom, great grandfather to our current King. The Royal Palace is built on the site of the old town. This site was especially chosen by a Commission of Royal Ministers and Astrologers because it had great geographical significance in relation to the King, who was regarded as a direct descendant of the gods, whose role it was to live and govern on earth under the influence of heaven.
 
The Royal Palace contains some spectacular buildings. Not least of which is the Throne Hall, situated to the left of the main entrance. It boasts a 59-meter tower. The tower roof is beautiful, having been decoratively tiered with golden coloured tiles. This building is used for high official celebrations, coronations and audiences with foreign dignitaries and government officials.
 
The Roy al Treasury and the Napoleon II villa lie south to the Royal Throne Hall. North to this stands the Silver pagoda enclosure, otherwise known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha. The Pagoda’s steps are crafted from Italian marble, and within the throne room the regal floor consists of more than 500 solid silver blocks. If calculated together, they weigh nearly six tones. Displayed a round the room, surrounding the main area, stand plush presents from foreign dignitaries.
 
The magnificent 17th century emerald Buddha statue is made of Baccarat cuystal and solid gold. It weighs 90 kilograms and is adorned with 9,584 diamonds. Bronze statues stand to it?s left and right sides. Next to these, encased under a glass cover, reside a golden locus. Within this area other ancient treasures include a large Buddha?s footprint, representing the 108 past lives of the Buddha before he was re-incarnated as Prince Siddharta, who subsequently gained enlightenment. On the wall, surrounding the Pagoda compound, (the oldest par of the palace) are hundreds of meters of frescos depicting an episode of the Indian epic Ramayana. These are the biggest mural frescos in South East Asia.
 
The Royal Palace sits between streets 184 and 240. The main entrance is situated on Samdech Sothearos Boulevard via the Pavilion of Dancers. Opposite the entrance sits another almost equally stunning Royal spectacle. The Royal Residence, along with their Royal Highnesses, houses the sacred white elephant, the most auspicious and reverd symbol of royal beneficence within Cambodia.
 
Silver Pagoda
Wat Preah Keo Morakot (Silver Pagoda) is located in the southern portion of the Royal Palace complex. The pagoda was formerly known as Wat Uborsoth Rotannaram because it is where the King worshiped, prayed and practiced every Buddhist Silas Day. In the additional, the royal family and officials also held Buddhist ceremonies there.This pagoda has no monks. However, this Majestic King Norodom Sihanouk lived there for one year when he entered the monkhood on July 31, 1947. Because the pagoda has no monks, visitors usually refer to it as Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot. When the King celebrates Buddhist ceremonies, monks from other pagoda such as Wat Unaloam and Wat Botumvattey are invited to attend the ceremonies. Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot was built between 1892 and 1902, during the region of King Norodom, but at that time it was constructed of wood and brick. Its design is base on Cambodian architectural style. Then Banhchos Khan Seima ceremony was held on Feb 5, 1903.
 
The temple was later damaged, and Queen Kosamak Neary Rath asked that it be repaired. Under the direction of her son Samdach Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who at that time was the head of state, the old temple was dismantled and reconstructed in 1962 on the same site with reinforced concrete. The floor was laid with silver tiles, and the columns were covered with glass stone imported from Italy. The architecture, however, remained the same.This temple is called Pheah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot because the main Buddha statue is made of priceless emerald, which Cambodians call Keo Morakot. Westerners, however, prefer to call the temple the Silver Pagoda because of the 5,329 genuine silver tiles that cover the floor.
 
There are 1,650 art objects housed in this temple. Most of them are Buddha figures. They are made of gold, silver, bronze and other valuable materials. Some are decorated with diamonds. They are gifts from the King, the royal family, dignitaries and other people who worship at Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot, where they pray for peace and prosperity, for happiness and for the preservation of Cambodian cultural heritage for the next generation. In front of the throne, site a Buddha statue made of gold, weighing 90 kilograms (about 200 pounds) and decorated with 2,086 diamonds. The biggest diamond is on the crown. It is 25 millimeters. This statue was commissioned in 1904 by King Sisowath, following the suggestion of King Norodom. King Norodom said, after his body was cremated the gold casket should be melted to make Buddha statue representing Preah Srei Araymetrey. This Buddha statue is named Preah Chin Raingsei Rachik Norodom.
 
Objects of particular interest in the Preah Vihear Keo Morakot include: The Preah Keo Morakot, the Emerald Buddha, which sits atop throne in the center of the temple. There is a small glass cabinet that contains what Buddhists believe are ashes of the Buddha. The ashes were brought from Sri Lanka in 1956 by Samdech Head Monk Lvea Em, who stayed in Wat Langka in Phnom Penh. In a nearby cabinet sits a gold Buddha figure offered by Queen Kosamak Nearyrath, mother of King Norodom Shihanouk, in 1969. This Buddha figure is protected by naga. It represents when Buddha stayed at the Muchalonti Pond. Objects in other cabinets are the keepsakes and decorated objects for royal and Buddhist ceremonies. The temple is surrounded by lofty gallery. On the wall of the gallery, there are traditional paintings of the entire Ream Ke epic. These paintings were done by 40 Cambodian artists between 1903 and 104 under the direction of Oknha Tep Nimit. The Ream Ke painting is 642 meters long and 3meters high. It starts from the south of the eastern gallery and winds its way around the gallery. This means that visitors must walk in a circle to see the entire story.
 
The ancient epic Ream Ke along the gallery shows a unique scene not copied completely from Indian Ramayana. Because some plots of Cambodian Ream Ke are so mysterious, visitors mush look at the painting carefully. Visitors who are familiar with Indian Ramayana will understand the Cambodian Reap Ke easily, even thought the two versions are different. Some themes are also depicted by La Khon Khaol or depicted in Sbek Thom and other sculpted figures. Astrologers also use the story to tell fortunes. Weather, structural damage and destruction by visitors over the years have caused the paintings to deteriorate. In 1985, the Cambodian government was cooperating with the government of Poland to restore, protect and maintain the paintings. The venture lasted only five years, however, because the budget was terminated. Today the Cambodian government is looking for way to conserve, restore and maintain this cultural heritage.
 
Monks from Phnom Penh and other provinces once studied the Pali language in classes that were held along the gallery before the Pali School was opened in Phnom Penh on Dec 16, 1930. In front of Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot, are two stupas and a statue under the roof. The south stupas hold the cremains of King Ang Doung, the great-great grandfather of King Sihanouk. The north stupas hold cremains of King Norodom, the great grandfather of King Shihanouk. Both stupas were dedicated on March 13, 1980. The statue of King Norodom riding a horse was erected in 1875. It was the keepsake of the French King Napoleon III. It was kept in front of Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot in 1892, but at that time there was no roof. During King Sihanouk?s crusade to win independence fron France, he prayed in front of the statue. After Cambodia won its dependence on Nov 11, 1953, King Sihanouk had the roof built in honor of King Norodom.
 
South of Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot beside Thamma Hall, a place for praying, and the stupa of King Sihanouk?s father, King Norodom Soramrith, which was built in 1960, visitor find: Keung Prah BatKeung Preah Bat houses the footprints of the four Buddhas who have already reached enlightenment. Those Buddhas are Kok Santhor, Neak Komonor, Kasabor and Damonakodom. In additional to the four Buddha, Preah Srei Araynetrey, whom Buddhist believe has not yet been born. They believe that he will come 5,000 years after the fourth Buddha reaches Nirvana. Buddhists believe that Preah Srei Araymetrey will come and help the people. Phnom Khan Malineati Borapat Kailasha Phnom Khan Malineati Borapat Kailasha or Phnom Mondul is the manmade hill that represents Phnom Kailasha, where the Buddha left his footprints on the stone. On the Phnom Mondul, there is a statue of the Buddha and 108 blessings of life before the Buddha reaches enlightenment.
 
Kunthabopha Stupa was built in 1960 as the resting place for the ashes of Princess Norodom Kunthaboph, the daughter of King Norodom Sihanouk. She was 4years old when she died of dengue fever. The stupa?s design is base on the ancient Banteay Srei temple in Siem Reap. West of Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot is a bell hall. The bell is used in the various ceremonies and to mark the opening and closing of the Silver Pagoda. In the past, the bell was also used to call the monks who studied Pali in the palace. To the north, is a building that houses. Tipitaka, the fundamental scriptural canon of Buddhism. They include: Sutta Pitaka
 
The Sutta Pitaka, a collection of discourses, is primarily composed of dialogues between the Buddha and other people. It consists of five groups of texts: Digha Nikaya(Collection of long discourses), Mijjhima Nikaya (collection of medium discourses), Samyutta Nikaya (collection of grouped discourses), Anguttara Nikaya (collection of discourses on numbered topics), and Khuddaka Nikaya(collection of miscellaneous texts). In the fifth group, the Jatakas, comprising stories of former lives of the Buddha, and the Dhammapada (religious sentences), a summary of the Buddha?s teachings on mental discipline and morality, are especially popular. The Vinaya Pitaka, the code of monastic discipline, consists of more than 225 rules governing the conducts of Buddhist monks and nuns. Each is accompanied by a story explaining the original reason for the rule. The rule are arranged according to the seriousness of the offense resulting from their violation. Abhidharma Patika.
 
The Abhidharma Patika contains philosophical, psychological, and doctrinal discussions and classifications. It consists of seven separate works. They include detailed classifications of psychological phenomena, metaphysical analysis, and a thesaurus of technical vocabulary. The Building also houses a Shiva?s mount Nandi. This figure was found buried in Koh Thom district in Kandal province in 1983. It is estimated to be 80percent silver and 20percent bronze, copper, lead, Iron and zinc.
 
Toul Sleng Genocidal Museum (S-21)
In 1975, Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot's security force and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). It soon became the largest such center of detention and torture in the country. Over 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek to be executed; detainees who died during torture were buried in mass graves in the prison grounds. S-21 has been turned into the Tuol Sleng Museum, which serves as a testament to the crimes of the Khmer Rough.
 
The museum's entrance is on the western side of 113 St just north of 350 St, and it is open daily from 7 to 11.30 am and from 2 to 5.30 pm; entry is US$2.Like the Nazis, the Khmer Rough was meticulous in keeping records of their barbarism. Each prisoner who passed through S.21 was photographed, sometimes before and after being tortured. The museum displays include room after room in which such photographs of men, women and children cover the walls from floor to ceiling; virtually all the people pictured were later killed.
 
You can tell in what year a picture was taken by the style of number board that appears on the prisoner's chest. Several foreigners from Australia, France and the USA were held here before being murdered. Their documents are on display. As the Khmer 'revolution' reached ever-greater heights of insanity, it began devouring its own children. Generations of tortures and executioners and were in turn killed by those who took their places. During the first part of 1977, S-21 claimed an average of 100 victims a day. When the Vietnamese army liberated Phnom Penh in early 1979, they found only seven prisoners alive at S-21. Fourteen others had been tortured to death as Vietnamese forces were closing in on the city. Photographs of their decomposing corpses were found. Their graves are nearby in the courtyard.
 
Altogether, a visit to Tuol Sleng is a profoundly depressing experience. There is something about the sheer ordinariness of the place that make it even more horrific; the suburban setting, the plain school buildings, the grassy playing area where several children kick around a ball, ousted beds, instruments of torture and wall after wall of harrowing black-and-white portraits conjure up images of humanity at its worst. Tuol Sleng is not for the squeamish.
 
Tuol Tompoung Market
So-named because of the prevalence of items from the Eastern Bloc in past times, the Toul Tom Poung Market today is a treasure trove for tourists. Particular items worth seeking out include CDs, fabrics, jewelry, carved handicrafts and ceramics. There are also a large number of clothing outlets and on site tailors and seamstresses can make alteration quickly. The food and drinks stalls are a good place to take a refreshment break between the bargaining.
 
Wat Phnom Hill
Set on top of a tree-covered knoll 27m high, Wat Phnom is the only hill in town. According to legend, the first pagoda on this site was erected in 1373 to house four statues of Buddha deposited here by the waters of the Mekong and discovered by a woman name, Penh. The main entrance to Wat Phnom is via the grand eastern staircase, which is guarded by lions and naga (snake) balustrades. Today, many people come here to pray for good luck and success in school exams or business affairs. When a petitioner's wish is granted, he or she returns to make the offering (such as a garland of jasmine flowers or bananas, of which the spirits are said to be especially fond) promised when the request was made.
 
The vihara (temple sanctuary) was rebuilt in 1434, 1806, 1894, and, most recently, in 1926. West of the vihara is an enormous stupa containing the ashes of King Ponhea Vat (reigned 1405 to 1467). In a small pavilion on the south side of the passage between the vihara and the stupa is a statue of the smiling and rather plump Madame Penh.A bit to the north of the vihara and below it is an eclectic shrine dedicated to the genie Preah Chau, who is especially revered by the Vietnamese. On either side ofthe entrance to the chamber in which a statue of Preah Chau sits are guardian spirits bearing iron bats. On the tile table in front of the two guardian spirits are drawings of Confucius, and two Chinese-style figures of the sages Thang Cheng (on the right) and Thang Thay (on the left). To the left of the central altar is an eight-armed statue of Vishnu.
 
Down the hill from the shrine is a royal stupa sprouting full-size trees from its roof. For now, the roots are holding the bricks together in their net-like grip, but when the trees die the tower will slowly crumble. If you can't make it out to Angkor, this stupa gives a pretty good idea of what the jungle can do (and is doing) to Cambodia's monuments. Curiously, Wat Phnom is the only attraction in Phnom Penh that is in danger of turning into a circus. Beggars, street urchins, women selling drinks and children selling birds in cages (you pay to set the bird free locals claim the birds are trained to return to their cage afterwards) pester everyone who turns up to slog the 27m to the summit. Fortunately it's all high-spirited stuff, and it's difficult to be annoyed by the vendors, who after all, are only trying to eke out a living. trip on this road you will get the fresh air from the Mekong and Bassac rivers, especially around the garden in front of the Royal Palace. Furthermore, you will have the special chance to relax and chat with your lovely friends at the riverside. And just sit on the benches or walking through the riverbanks you can absorb the fresh air from the river and see the whole view of beautiful river, in order to reduce stress or complicate.
WHERE TO EAT ?
Cambodia ranks among the world's poorest countries, so it comes as a pleasure surprise to find that Phnom Penh has a vast range of restaurants to suit all pockets and tastes, from noodle shops and market stalls to sophisticated, pricey Western places; even guesthouses often have small restaurants offering Western style fare, including American breakfasts, and Khmer and Chinese dishes.

Many of the restaurants catering to tourists and visitors line the riverfront dining and shopping area near the Royal Palace. Street 278 (near Independence Monument) and Boeng Keng Kang 1 is dotted with local and foreign restaurants. Budget restaurants and relaxing bars can be found along Street 93 next to the Boeung Kak Lake, an area popular with backpackers.
 
The Corner Restaurant and Bar:
Is mainly catering the local Khmer Food,  the Fresh Fruit Shake and Juices specialties for this hot month from Oct to May. It is located at the first floor of Mittapheap Hotel, corner street 174 next to Wat Koh high school and Pagoda.
 
Foreign Correspondents Club of Cambodia (FCC):
This famous international bar and restaurant is still as much a journalist?s meeting. It is located on the second floor of a beautiful old Colonial era building with open balcony providing a spectacular, sweeping view of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. The FCC kitchen offers a good selection of nicely prepared contemporary, modern, and mainstream western dishes as well as some of the best wood-fired oven pizza in town. Also displaying photo shows and exhibitions. Fresco Delicatessen on the ground floor. Upper price limit. St. 363 on the riverside.
 
Garden Center Caf 2:
This international restaurant is the Street 278 area annex of the very popular Garden Center Caf, offering the same excellent western meals like steaks, baked ham, baked salmon, burgers, sloppy joes, Asian dishes and a great selection of salads and vegetarian dishes. All home cooking and generous portions. Relaxed, clean, green and family atmosphere. Conveniently located on Street 57 just around the corner from the Boeng Keng Kang 1 Street 278 hotel area.
 
Java Caf and Gallery:
This international caf and restaurant is genially set in a nice gallery ambiance. They offer a brilliant selection of coffees, teas and muffins. Nice selections of salads, sandwiches made to order on homemade bread, fajitas, lots of veggie dishes and all-day breakfasts including omelettes, pancakes, French toast, muesli and more. Indoor gallery seating and airy balcony seating overlooking the green park and the Independence Monument. Changing art and photo exhibitions. WiFi Hotspot. St. 56, Sihanouk Blvd. (Near to the Independence Monument).
 
Lemongrass:
This is an authentic classical Thai and Khmer food restaurant with dishes at reasonable prices. Shop house sized restaurant with pleasant indoor seating. Fairly large selection of dishes. Very good preparation. Good selection of vegetarian offerings. Good reviews from patrons. Located on Street 130 just off the riverfront.
SHOPPING
New Central Market (Phsar Thmey):
Around the main buildings are stalls offering Krama's (red and white checked scarves), stationery, household items, clothes for sarongs, flowers and second hand clothes, usually from Europe and the US. For photographers, the fresh food section affords a lot of opportunities. There are a host of good value food stalls on the structure's western side, which faces Monivong Blvd. Central Market is undoubtedly one of the best of Phnom Penh's markets for browsing. It is the cleanest and has the widest range of products for sale. Opening hours are from early morning until early evening.
 
Tuol Tom Pong Market (Russian market):
More commonly referred to by foreigners as the Russian Market, this is located at the corner of St. 440 and st.163, south of Mao Tse Tung Blvd. It is the best place in town for souvenir shopping, having a large range of real and fake antiquities. Items for sale include miniature Buddha's, silk, silver jewelry, gems, video, ganja and a host of other goodies. Clothes such as t-shirts, trousers, jackets or shoes are very reasonable. It's well worth popping in for a browse.
 
Psar O Russei:
Don't be confused with the Russian Market, it's not that one even if it sounds like. The market is located in a huge yellow-bleached house looking like a shopping mall from outside next to Capitol Tours, east from the Olympic Stadium and closed to the Monivong Blvd. It features almost all kind of products focusing on luxury foodstuffs, costume jewellery, imported toiletries, second-hand and new clothes, and some electrical devises. Once you enter it you'll find a kind of labyrinth with hundreds of small overloaded stalls. It's worth popping in if you want to experience an older Khmer-style market.
 

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