Phnom Penh

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Phnom Penh has an eccentric charm. Seen from the river, palm trees and the spires of Khmer royal buildings rise over French-era shop houses.

Introduction to Phnom Penh

Central Market panoramaPhnom Penh has an eccentric charm. Seen from the river, palm trees and the spires of Khmer royal buildings rise over French-era Phnom Penh shophouses and villas. This city really grows on you.

Take time to explore Phnom Penh!

Before civil war broke out it was one of the finest cities in the region, nicknamed ‘The Pearl of Asia’. Now, Phnom Penh is regaining this reputation: yellow-ocher buildings, squares and cafes, and tree-lined boulevards give it an appealing atmosphere.

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Attractions in Cambodia’s Capital

Central Market - Psar Thmei - Phnom PenhThe capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, is located at the confluence of three rivers – the Mekong, the Bassac and Tonle Sap.

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 – cyclos that weave through traffic with ease, broad boulevards, old colonial buildings, and above all its people who always have a smile for you.

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Sights in Phnom Penh

Cell at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom PenhCambodia is a beautiful country and Phnom Penh a truly welcoming and attractive city. But Cambodia's recent history is dark and to understand the Khmers better, a visit to the genocide museum and the killing fields is a must.

Having seen the shocking exhibition, you will be even more surprised by the friendliness of the Cambodians today.

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More to do in Phnom Penh

Apsara Arts Association So, you have seen the Royal Palace, the Russian Market, Central Market, Wat Phnom and wandered around Sisowath Quay. What more can you do in Phnom Penh?

Well, as far as we are concerned, quite a lot. This city deserves a few days exploring. See our suggestions on this page. For things to see near the Cambodian capital, see our page Around Phnom Penh.

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Getting around in Phnom Penh

Cycling Phnom PenhFirst time visitors may be scared by the chaotic traffic in Phnom Penh. Well, it’s not as bad as it seems. Motorised traffic in the city is usually quite slow and rarely you’ll see drivers getting angry. On the contrary, Phnom Penh drivers are extremely tolerant.

Here we give you some ideas on how to get around Phnom Penh.

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Phnom Penh Weather & Forecast

Weather in Phnom Penh

Here you find the weather conditions and outlook for Phnom Penh constantly updated. Keep in mind when the forecast predicts rain, it is usually a heavy thunderstorm of about one hour in late afternoon, while the rest of the day is sunny and dry.

It almost never rains all day in Phnom Penh, such a pattern would be exceptional. However, on the south coast it can be raining days on end during the rainy season.

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The Flicks: a different movie experience

So, you are used to those mega super dupe movie theatres in your home country? Have a different experience in Phnom Penh’s only cinema that targets the western movie taste. Just don’t expect one of these concrete multiplex bunkers in a shopping mall, but imagine a small house.

It’s the only cinema in town which targets the local expats with western-orientated blockbusters, art house, kids movies, animations and the classics.

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Where to Shop and What to Buy

So, how do you find orginal branded clothes in Phnom Penh? My advice here is to dig-dig-dig. My mom being a QA for one of the garment factories in Cambodia taught me how to spot the original. For shirts, make sure that the stitches inside are thick and clean.

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The Changing Face of Phnom Penh

Rose Condominiums Phnom PenhWithout doubt the most obvious change to Phnom Penh in the last ten years is the building boom that is literally changing the face of the city.

There is construction work going on everywhere

The most eye catching buildings are the numerous skyscrapers going up, and not all stylish (see to the left, these Rose Condominiums would fit perfectly in North Korea).

Smaller five to ten story apartment blocks are going up in virtually every street of the Cambodian capital.

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New Khmer Architecture

Independence Monument Phnom Penh designed by Vann MolyvannIn the 1950s en 1960s Prince Norodom Sihanouk gave the impulse to an enlightened development policy encompassing the whole of the kingdom with the construction of new towns, infrastructure and architecture of the highest standard.

Undoubtedly, the most talented architect was Vann Molyvann, who completed more than a hundred buildings in just 15 years time. He contributed largely to the unique and authentic style of the New Khmer Architecture.

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Around Phnom Penh: Silk Island, Oudong


If you want to escape Phnom Penh, there are quite a few day trips to be made from the capital. You can go on a boat trip to Mekong Island, discover the ancient capital of Oudong, or visit Tonle Bati and the zoo at Phnom Tamau.

Yes, Phnom Penh and its surroundings are worth more than just a day visiting!

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Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, CambodiaCambodia’s Royal Palace complex was begun by King Norodom (1834-1904) in 1866, when the capital was moved to Phnom Penh.

Most buildings were completed before World War I, with involvement by French administrators and Thai designers and architects.

The complex is divided by walls into three main compounds,

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