Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia, first city of the country with its more 1 500 000 inhabitants, followed by Battambang and Siem Reap. Phnom Penh is located in the south of the country between the mythique Mekong river and the Tonle Sap.
« Phnom » means hills in Khmer and « Penh » is the name of a lady that found 4 Buddha statues and 1 of Vishnu inside of a floating tree on the Mekong. She then immediately builds a hill and a pagoda called « Wat Phnom » in order to protect them.
Phnom Penh became the capital of Cambodia during the French Indochina. Oudong was the former capital of Cambodia in the middle of the 19th century.
Must-see attractions in Phnom Penh, Cambodia:
Visit the royal palace located next to the riverside of Phnom Penh. The royal palace is a complex of building, seat of the king of Cambodia.
At the national museum of Cambodia, you will discover an important collection of Khmer art and a library with beautiful old and rare books and publications. The museum was conceived by the French archeologist Georges Groslier and was inaugurated in 1918. It is located in the north of the royal palace.
Don’t miss a visit to the genocide museum Tuol Sleng, better known as S21 and the killing field Choeung Ek. During the Khmer Rouge regime, Tuol Sleng was a former high school converted into a detention center where more than 14 000 people were tortured before being executed in the killing field Choeung Ek. During this regime, more than 2 million people were killed.
If you want to relax, go to riverside and have a walk by the river. This is a beautiful area with a wide riverside walk where you can observe the Tonle sap river as well as colonial buildings and find a wide range of restaurants, rooftops and café available.
To get around Phnom Penh, there are two main ways of transportations: the motodup and the tuktuk. The public transportation system remains underdeveloped. The public buses system were launched in 2014 but remains little used by the locals that opt for their moto or cars.
This post is also available in Français.