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Beauty of Phnom Penh and its surrounding


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 or 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. 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 century).

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 Penh.

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.



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