Best Places to Visit in Phnom Penh
Cambodia is famous for its ancient and unique pagodas and has many attractive places. And capital Phnom Penh is the cradle of its ancient Khmer culture. Many mysterious things make many international tourists curious. Here are the Top 15 best places to visit in Phnom Penh.
1. Royal Palace
One of the most must-see places to visit in Phnom Penh is the Royal Palace.
The Cambodia Royal Palace, with a complex of many splendid buildings, is located right in the centre of Phnom Penh. The whole building is separated from the road by a wall with many unique sculptures. Currently, other places in the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are open to visitors except for the royal living area.
The Royal Palace of Cambodia has a lot of stately and magnificently designed works, with many sophisticated decorative motifs and patterns imbued with the culture of Cambodia. When visiting the Royal Palace, you should dress discreetly and politely and not wear short pants and slippers. Women also should not wear short skirts to avoid being not allowed to come in.
Royal Palace is always a must-see destination in Cambodia
2. Silver Pagoda
Silver Pagoda is the next destination on the list of places to visit in Phnom Penh.
It is a famous temple on the left of the Palace in the architectural complex of the Royal Palace of Cambodia. Here is one of the most famous temples in Cambodia that every tourist should visit once!
The exterior of the Silver Pagoda is no different from other temples in Cambodia. Still, when visitors step inside the main hall, they will be overwhelmed by the treasures kept inside. At the top of the main entrance is an emerald Buddha statue. Below is a Maitreya Buddha statue cast from pure gold and diamonds.
The library is the unique feature of Silver Pagoda. The library is home to precious, sacred scriptures with pictures of the elephant Nandi and other Buddha statues.
The pagoda was also used for the king to pray and meditate without the abbot. The king invited monks from temples around Phnom Penh to worship or preach when there were significant Buddhist ceremonies.
Sliver Pagoda is inside of Royal Palace complex
3. Cambodia National Museum
The National Museum of Cambodia is on 13th Street and is open from 8:00 to 17:00 on weekdays. The entrance price for each visitor is $10 for adults and 5$ for foreigners aged 10-17. It may be one of Cambodia's most significant historical places to visit in Phnom Penh
The National Museum is Cambodia's premier historical and cultural museum. The museum is unique and magnificent, with the world's largest collections- 5000 specimens. All kinds of archaeological, religious, and artistic items of the Khmer from the Ancient Age can be on display anytime.
Besides storing works of art, the museum is also a place to record historical times and war remnants. With the architecture harmonised by the Khmer and the French and built by engineers during the French colonial period, it is not surprising to discover this place.
Over a millennium, the museum has been restored and embellished many times but still retains its delicate beauty and inherent tradition. Visitors are very impressed with the space in the museum; the open garden with many trees and the lake create a feeling of serenity.
Unique structures of Cambodia National Museum
Besides Cambodia National Museum, you can find other famous sights at Phnom Penh City Tours 2022
4. Tuol Sleng Museum
Toul Sleng Genocide Museum is a museum of genocide committed by the Khmer Rouge during its rule from 1975 to 1979. It was a high school before it became a concentration camp of a genocidal regime.
During the four years of the Khmer Rouge's rule, it housed about 17,000 people, most of them members or former soldiers of the Khmer Rouge convicted of treason. The site has been renovated, including building an electric fence, an interrogation room and a torture room.
Located in the south of Phnom Penh, Toul Sleng Genocide Museum is a place to store all the evidence of a dark period of the genocide of the Khmer Rouge government. Every visitor, when visiting this place, arouses feelings of pity with horror at the pain that the Cambodians have to endure. The 4-storey building is entirely out of place with the surrounding scenery of eerie silence.
In particular, there was a picture of a map of Cambodia made of human skulls. However, it is no longer on display due to international controversy.
Foreigner travellers visit a gallery in Toul Sleng Museum.
5. Choeung Ek Genocidal Center - The Killing Fields
The Killing Fields is the place that gives visitors the most honest and poignant view of the horrors that happened in Cambodia when it was under the Khmer Rouge.
Although the range is only in the area of a football field, there are many mass graves found in Choeng Ek. Tourists visiting the field often walk very lightly because underneath that layer of soil may still be the remains of the unfortunate victims. In the rainy season, the white bones are still washed away by the ground and exposed.
In the centre of the field of death, there is a memorial to unfortunate victims, including about 8,000 skulls inside. Some of them also bear traces of cruel torture with knives, axes, and logs. Looking closely, you will see broken lines with slits running vertically and horizontally on the skull. The brutal method of killing that the Khmer Rouge applied was to save ammo and not waste too much on slaughtering people.
Choeung Ek Genocidal Center building in The Killing Fields
6. Central Market - Psar Thmei
Psar Thmei Central Market is a large market built in 1937 in the form of a giant yellow dome with four arms divided into a large corridor. Such a unique artwork!
The Market has many rich stalls, so if you come here, pay attention to travel to avoid getting lost. What makes this Market well-known is the diverse and beautiful cuisine. They can say Central Market is a paradise for those passionate about food. Guests will enjoy the specialties with a distinct taste that will surely leave an unforgettable aftertaste.
Besides, the Market is full of countless stalls selling antique coins, clothes, and traditional souvenirs. Visitors have the opportunity to take many favourite items. You can buy souvenirs and dried food as gifts after your trip to Cambodia for your loved ones.
Many shores with local goods in Psar Thmei
7. Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom is the birthplace of the name of the city of Phnom Penh, located on a high hill north of the town. "Wat" literally means pagoda, and "Phnom" means hill. The legendary Lady Penh built this temple.
Right at the entrance are a shaman and fortuneteller. Visitors to fortune-telling will hold a bundle of cards placed on their foreheads to pray and then set on their heads to draw cards. The fortuneteller will interpret the hexagrams. When finished, the guest will put the money in the copper tray.
To the west is a towering stone stupa; the whole body is intricately carved and seen from afar. The tower is where keeps the king's ashes.
Wat Phnom is also one of the sacred places of worship, so pay your respects and do not dress modestly here. However, when going to the temple, you should note one thing: do not ask for a predestined relationship because it probably comes from a personal situation.
The Wat Phnom at the top through many stairs
8. Russian Market
In the 80s of the last century, many Russians came to work and live in the capital Phnom Penh and only liked to shop at this Market. The beginning of the Russian Market rose during that period.
The exciting thing about the Russian Market is that it has become a shopping destination for locals and tourists. In particular, the Market is into several zones, each specialising in selling different items. Due to the variety of goods, you should consult stalls selling the same product and, of course, do not forget to bargain.
For those addicted to shopping, the Russian Market will satisfy you with clothing and accessories stalls close together.
After going around the Market, you can recharge with delicious dishes in the middle or outside the Market at highly affordable prices. In addition, there are many services that you can find in the Russian Market. Spending about 1-2 hours exploring this vibrant Market is best.
The best time for you to visit the Market is early morning or late afternoon to avoid the sweltering heat of the weather. An ideal way to see the Russian Market is to put your travel guidebooks in your backpack and freely explore the Market in your way.
Let's wait until the sun goes down!
Handicraft products for sale in Russian Market, mainly Russian souvenirs
9. Wat Ounalom
Wat Ounalom places at Sisowath St, Phnom Penh, near the Royal Palace of Cambodia. People consider Wat Ounalom one of the important temples and the centre of Cambodian Buddhism.
Ancient built the temple in the 1440s during the reign of King Ponhea Yat. Wat Ounalom is distinguished by the typical architectural style of Cambodia, with curved roofs painted in yellow and red.
It is one of the first five monasteries in Phnom Penh and the residence of the essential Zen master in the country. The fascinating history of the temple and Cambodia's main religion are valuable insights visitors can gain after a visit.
The temple attracts many visitors because of its unique architecture. The temple complex consists of 44 houses and used to have more than 500 Buddhist monks and about 30,000 books of sutras. Last, what about leaving the main building and entering the stupa behind? This stupa is 500 years old, where the Buddha's relics preserves.
Wat Ounalom consists of a variety of Buddha statues
10. Independent Monument
To commemorate the liberation of Cambodia from French colonial rule, the Independence Monument, which was started in 1958.
The Monument places on a tall foundation; all sides are the same so that all residents and tourists can see it from all directions. The memorial is designed in the shape of a relief, simulating the architecture of Angkor Wat and the famous historical sites of Cambodia.
Independence Monument during the day is a resting place that offers visitors a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Although not allowed to visit inside, the shady campus will also help visitors avoid the harsh sun. The Monument at night becomes bright with an emotional symphony of colours.
The guide will also tell visitors historical stories of mystical legends. The reports help visitors learn about the culture and history of a people who suffered a lot in wars.
Independent Monument is among hustle street
11. Sisowath Quay
Sisowath Quay is located parallel to Sisowath Avenue in the Chamkarmon district. The square is along the junction of the Mekong River and Tonlé Sap Lake, near the Royal Palace of Cambodia. The part in front of the Palace is the place to watch the boat races during the Water Festival.
The scenic cruise goes along the waterfront, and visitors can easily reach one of the many outside tables of popular cafes. The four-sided River Square is the perfect place to enjoy local beer, strong coffee and authentic French baguettes. Thus, the relaxing atmosphere allows Cambodian and foreign visitors to enjoy a delightful getaway. Sisowath Quay is at the junction of most roads leading to the city's prominent landmarks.
Sisowath Quay presents a wide range of options Cambodia offers – a must-visit if you're into handcrafted items or an exciting collection of photographs. Furthermore, it is a shopper's paradise of silk. Let yourself buy a little for friends!
Sunset view from Sisowath Quay
12. Bassac Lane
There is a place named Bassac Lane you should not miss cause it is one of the best nightclubs in Phnom Penh Nightlife. This street is home to many unique bars, restaurants, and fashion brands which will meet the needs of dining, shopping and entertainment for tourists.
Remember that Cambodia is the country with the cheapest famous spa services in Southeast Asia. Therefore, if you are tired after a day of wandering around Phnom Penh, find a spa service to relax your body.
The area in Bassac Lane is a bustling neighbourhood. Visitors will feel lost in another world- the world of vibrant music and brilliant neon lights of restaurants and bars. Why don't you choose a crowded bar, order a fantastic bottle of Angkor beer, enjoy music, chat with friends and watch the night street? All of these actions will create an unforgettable experience for you.
Tourists enjoy drinks at coffee in Bassac Lane
13. Wat Langka
Wat Langka in the Independence Monument had its name in honour of its first establishment as a sanctuary for the writings and a meeting place for Cambodian and Sri Lankan monks.
The temple is essential in Cambodian Buddhism as it was initially known as the central library for religious works. The name Langka derives from the monastery initially placing an order from Sri Lanka.
The main temple has a beautifully sculpted giant Buddha. The ceiling features the usual artwork hand-painted by artisans. Alternatively, you can try group meditation in a quiet atmosphere for a new life. The architecture of Wat Langka is quite attractive and well-preserved throughout the years.
Cambodian monk and bodyguards at Wat Langka
14. Wat Moha Monterey
Wat Moha Monterey's design follows the type of Cambodian architecture. Many works of art are in this temple, most of which are Buddha statues, and most are gold, silver, copper and other precious materials.
Wat Moha Monterey is also a place of ceremony. Significantly, a bell tower is used for various traditions and to signal the opening and closing times. In the past, people also used this bell to signal the time for monks to learn Pali.
The original structure at the gate of Wat Moha Monterey
15. The Statue of King Norodom Sihanouk
Monument to former Emperor Norodom Sihanouk is how Cambodians pay respects to and honour his achievements in ensuring independence, promoting national harmony and contributing to the country's development.
Former King Norodom Sihanouk is the most famous king in Cambodia's modern history and is revered and loved by the Cambodian people. He has held many important positions for nearly a decade.
The statue of former King Norodom Sihanouk is cast bronze, 4.5m high, and placed in a 27m high tower in the central flower garden of Phnom Penh.
This project was started on February 22, costing over one million USD. The opening ceremony of the statue of former Emperor Norodom Sihanouk took place on the first anniversary of his death.
The statue of King Norodom Sihanouk at the centre square
Phnom Penh is one of the Southeast Asian areas that thrive on tourism. It's a tourist destination with magnificent temples, ancient temples and historical sites. If you have a chance to visit Phnom Penh, you should not miss the recommended places!
If you have an idea to other places in Cambodia, refer to our Best Cambodia Tours & Holidays Packages 2022!
- Wat Phnom
- Cambodia National Museum
- Russian Market Phnom Penh
- Silver Pagoda
- Independence Monument
- Choeung Ek Genocidal Center
- Oudong Hill
- Tonle Bati
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
View location on mapRussian Market Phnom Penh Russian Market Phnom Penh Best for: Young adults, Couples, Nuclear families
View location on mapChoeung Ek Genocidal Center Choeung Ek Genocidal Center Best for: History enthusiast
View location on mapCambodia's Royal Palace Cambodia's Royal Palace Best for: Historophile, Group travel
View location on mapCambodia National Museum Cambodia National Museum Best for: Culture vulture, Pilgrim
View location on mapWat Phnom Wat Phnom Best for: Pilgrim, Group travel
View location on mapTuol Sleng Genocide Museum Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Best for: History seekers, Seniors, Group travel
View location on mapTonle Bati Tonle Bati Best for: Families with kids, Group of friends
View location on mapIndependence Monument Independence Monument Best for: Seniors, Extended families
View location on mapOudong Hill Oudong Hill Best for: Couples, Active travelers
View location on mapSilver Pagoda Silver Pagoda Best for: Culture devotee, Seniors, Young adults