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Welcome to the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. The city is one of the largest economic powerhouses of modern southeast Asia. Underneath the surface, you will also find the city’s rich inheritance from the past, from the golden ages to the darkest parts of Khmer history.
Before you fly in and absorb every experience you can find in the city, take a moment to read this introductory preview for travellers of Phnom Penh. In this article, we’ll share with you the top 5 sights in Phnom Penh.
1. The Silver Pagoda
While technically not a temple, this pagoda has been referred to as the iconic Buddhist temple that houses several magnificent statues of famous Buddhist monks. One statue is made from 80kg of bronze, another from pure gold, and next to them sits a silver-gold Buddhist monk statue. The floor is also covered in thousands of silver tiles as a gift to the Buddha, hence giving the pagoda its unique name.
Photo by id.wikipedia.org
2. Phnom Penh’s Russian Market
This market was first popularized by Russian expats in the 1980s, hence the curious name. The market used to serve primarily Russian buyers, but as it slowly develops into a sprawling market and attracts many more international tourists, some sellers make use of the unique name and sell archetypical Russian things like Russian dolls, Russian flags, and small Russian-themed novelties. Of course, you’ll find spices, carvings, artwork, clothes, garments and silk that are all 100% Cambodian handmade.
Photo by enric catala
3. Wat Phnom
Although Wat Phnom is no match for the national icon Angkor Wat temple, you won’t have to travel far (yet) to find centuries-old Khmer structures. Phnom Penh has its own temple, the Wat Phnom, which is said to have been built in the 12th century. Another thing that makes Wat Phnom unique is that it sits on a 27-meter hill.
Photo by commons.wikimedia.org
4. Sisowath Quay Boardwalk
Part of Phnom Penh’s success comes from the Mekong River. This massive river runs from South China and meets a tributary in Phnom Penh. Interestingly, during the flooding season, the river flow from the tributary reverses and shares nutrients to farms near Tonlé Sap. Sit in one of the many benches lined alongside the Quay, and enjoy the sun rising and setting over the city.
Photo by laranik / shutterstock
5. The Killing Fields
To really appreciate Khmer history to the fullest, you may also need to acknowledge its darkest parts, the Khmer Rouge Regime. The Killing Fields today stands as a museum, memorial, and a frightening reminder in order to not repeat history. Visiting this area may be difficult and emotional, and it will be even more so once you learn the full narrative when you get here.
Photo by spreadwell / shutterstock
Get closer to Phnom Penh
Start exploring Phnom Penh by choosing the perfect location for your accommodation. The Balé Phnom Penh lies right next to the Mekong River, located at the quiet side of Phnom Penh, but nevertheless very accessible to all parts of the capital city. Learn about our city and our heritage in style.