A stone's throw away from the Tonle Sap is the
royal Palace built on the site of the Banteay Kev, a citadel built
The Palace grounds contain several buildings: the
Throne Room or Prasat Tevea Vinichhay which is used for the coronation
of kings, official receptions and traditional ceremonies; the Chan
which is a venue for dance performances;
the king's official residence called the Khemarin; the Napoleon
Pavilion and the spectacular Silver Pagoda. 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 are the coronation
apparel and numerous miniature Buddha in gold and silver.
Wat Phnom Daun Penh
If you are observant enough, you may find names of "Phnom
Penh" and Wat "Phnom" share some common words. Yes.
The capital city's name of Phnom Penh of Cambodia is more or less
interrelated with a small hill-top Cambodian temple of Wat Phnom
with "Wat Phnom Daun Penh" in its full name.
Wat means temple. Phnom, in native Khmer is equivalent to a "hill";
so, most people referred it as hilltop temple or a temple on the
hill. The temple's location on this greenery hill is also the highest
spot in the capital city but the hill was actually a man-made formation.
The legend said a wealthy widow lady whom the local affectionately
referred her as Grandma (or Madam) Daun Penh who was settled on
a high land at the west river bank of Sap River had uncovered four
bronze and one stone Buddha statues inside a hole of a floating
big Koki tree down from upstream which hit her compound during high
flooding season; in respect of the belief, she thought it was a
good omen and has decided Lord Buddha should be placed over the
ordinary, hence, she ordered her people to piled up earth to create
a man-made hill and used the original Koki tree trunk to construct
a small temple on top to house the discovered Buddha statues and
that was how the original shrine was constructed.
Phnom Penh Markets
Phnom Penh is located at the confluence of three rivers - the Mekong,
the Bassac and Tonle Sap. The city is divided into three sections
- the north, an attractive residential area; the south or the French
part of the city with its ministries, banks and colonial houses;
and the centre or the heart with its narrow lanes, markets, foods
stalls and shops.
Over the past years, the city has undergone tremendous changes
- businesses are springing up constantly and tourism is once again
booming. Phnom Penh has managed to retain its charm and character.
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 from the
The National Museum
The National Museum has a good collection of Khmer sculptures dating
from the pre-Angkor period (4th century) to post-Angkor period (14th
Toul Sleng Museum
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 centre of detention and
torture in the country. S-21 has been turned into the Tuol Sleng
Museum, which serves as a testament to the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.
Kirirom National Park
Initially established as a holiday resort and tourist city in 1945,
the area was named Kirirom namely "Mountain of joy" by
the King at the suggestion of a monk from Phnom Penh. A hill of
700m covers an area of 35,000 hectares, located 88 km from Phnom
This beautiful national park area was once a favorite resort for
the influential, the powerful and wealthy and a retreat for King
Sihanouk himself in the 1960’s.
There are not many types of larger wildlife in evidence on Kirirom,
but it is an ideal spot to glimpse some of the Kingdom's unique
birdlife and birdwatchers even come from overseas to visit.