Once considered the ‘gem’ of Asia, Phnom Penh has overcome its tragic past and sprung back to life. Located on the banks of the Mekong River (and accessible by speedboat from Vietnam), the nation’s energetic capital is noted for its beautiful colonial architecture, historic sites and lively nightlife. Despite the usual hustle and bustle of a capital city, Phnom Penh retains an old world charm and tranquil atmosphere, with stilted villages lining the river front and colourful local markets. Prominent city landmarks include the iconic Silver Pagoda with its emerald and solid gold Buddha, within the Royal Palace complex and Wat Phnom which provides wonderful views over the city. Other sites of interest include the National Museum, the Orchid Garden and the Phnom Temple.
A sobering but essential experience is a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which became a Khmer Rouge prison and torture chamber where over 30,000 Cambodian’s were killed between 1975-79. An excursion to the infamous Killing Fields of Choeung Ek (9kms away) also provides an insight into the country’s harrowing history, during Pol Pot’s reign of terror. Whilst a visit to these two sites is very disturbing, it helps to gain a true understanding and appreciation of the past and present of this remarkable country, which has overcome civil war, political upheaval and the horrific genocide of approximately 21% of the population (1.7 million people). Today thanks to the people's spirit, the country's future looks brighter than ever.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Phnom Penh, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Southeast Asia