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Phnom Penh Tourist Attractions

Phnom Penh Tourist Attractions:  Sightseeing Overview

Many of Phnom Penh’s major sights of interest are close to the river, making a pleasant walking tour with plenty of places to stop for refreshment. Phnom Penh’s attractions are not as glamorous as the temples of Angkor at Siem Reap, but visitors will enjoy the sumptuous Royal Palace and the neighboring Silver Pagoda, which both survived the excesses of the Khmer Rouge. The National Museum is worth a visit to help gain an understanding of the subtle changes of style between the pre- and post-Angkorian works of art, in preparation for
a visit to Siem Reap. Wat Ounalom, the headquarters of the Khmer Buddhist faith, suffered badly at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, with much of its library being thrown into the river and statues destroyed. However, much has been done to restore it. Wat Phnom, located on the only hill in Phnom Penh, is a great people-watching place as many residents come here to pray. Tuol Sleng Museum is a moving place to visit: this former school, whose classrooms rung with the sound of young voices, became a prison in the Khmer Rouge years and is now a testimony to the brutality of that time. Note that most places of interest are open every day.

Tourist Information
No such office exists in Phnom Penh yet, although there is a desk at the airport, but this is mainly a hotel booking service. In the provinces, most towns have a tourist office but there is little in the way of handouts and they are often closed, but staff are keen to help when the office is open. However, private tour companies do have some tourist information, although most literature relates to the tours they run. Reputable companies include Exotissimo Travel, 46 Norodom Boulevard (tel: (023) 218 948; website: http://www.exotissimo.com) and Diethelm Travel, 65 Street 240 (tel: (023) 219 151; website: http://www.diethelmtravel.com). A Phnom Penh Visitors’ Guide is published quarterly and is freely available around the city.

Passes
There are no tourist passes in Phnom Penh.

Key Attractions:

Royal Palace

A stunning complex of buildings, built in traditional Khmer style, including a Throne Hall and the intriguing, very French house built with iron, which was donated by Napoleon III to King Norodom in 1876.

Samdech Sothearos Boulevard (between Streets 240 and 184)
Tel: (023) 223 724.

Silver Pagoda

A delightful pagoda next to the Royal Palace, so called because over 5,000 silver tiles cover its floor, which also houses priceless Buddhas (including the Emerald Buddha and a life-sized gold Buddha covered in thousands of precious gems).

Samdech Sothearos Boulevard (between Streets 240 and 184)
Tel: (023) 223 724.

Wat Phnom

Located on the top of a small hill reached by a flight of steps with nagas (mythical serpents) on either side, this temple marks the spot of the foundation of Phnom Penh and is the most important in the city where residents come to pray for good luck.

Intersection of Street 96 and Norodom Boulevard

National Museum

A distinctive red-brick, pseudo-Khmer style building, constructed by the French in 1917, housing an extensive collection of Khmer sculptures from the pre-Angkorian period (7th century) to the post-Angkorian period (14th century).

Street 13
Tel: (023) 211 753.

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