In and around Phnom Penh

Below we have listed some of the attractions in and around Phnom Penh. You may find time to visit some of these during your extra stay in Phnom Penh.

Local shopping

Explore the authentic shopping experience at the Russian Market, a short ride from the hotel. This popular market is offers a wide range of Cambodia's finest hand crafts, silks, paintings and antiquities. You will also find a wide variety of reasonably priced clothes, shoes and accessories.

Historical landmarks

The Royal palace (Preah Barum Reacha Veak Nei Preah Reacha Nayeak Kampuchea) was built in 1866. A visit to the palace is an excursion into Cambodia's Royal history.

Preah Sihanouk Boulevard some of the best-preserved colonial mansions and gardens in Phnom Penh line this and Norodom Boulevard just around the corner. To the west stands the Independence Monument, erected by the famous Cambodian architect Van Molyvann after independence from French colonial rule. This Khmer-style prasat (tower) was built in 1958, and has since assumed the role of a war memorial. Like the towers of Angkor Wat and the four-headed spires of the Bayon, the monument is a national symbol.

From Independence Monument detour about 300 meters south to the Prayuvong Buddha factory. In the grounds of Wat Prayuvong, a whole neighbourhood of workshops produces statues and "spare parts" used to renovate historical temples all over the country. The workshops turn out stupas and Buddhist artefacts, including gaudy cement Buddhas, Bayon heads, Nagas and other mythological figures. Walk around the various workshops and watch the artisans at work.

National museum

Take half a day to visit treasured archeologist collections and a range of unique artefacts collected throughout the country.

Silk

Buy local made silk & bring back souvenirs for your loved ones, for example at Sentosa Silk. Please contact the Front Desk for details on the shop location.

Oudong

An hour's car ride will bring you to Oudong, the royal capital between 1618 and 1866 before it was moved to Phnom Penh. Several temples cover three hills, huge stupas can be seen from miles away. They contain the remains of several Khmer Kings including King Monivong (1927-1941) and King Ang Duong (1845-1859). The walk up the hill provides an outstanding view. These hills were also the site of some of the Khmer Rouge's most ferocious resistance against the Vietnamese army in 1979. A memorial was later built at the site, one of only a few that have been.

Temples

Wat Botum is known as the "Temple of the Lotus Blossoms". The original site was a small island surrounded by a lotus-filled pond. This temple is the centre of the Thammayut (royalist) sect of Buddhism in Cambodia. This royalist sect has been revived since the return of King father Sihanouk after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime; about 85 monks reside at Wat Botum. In July 1992, more than 150 monks were ordained here. At the front entrance to the temple is a cluster of ceremonial stupas which hold the ashes of members of the royal family.

Wat Ounalom is a Mahanikai Buddhist temple and a highly respected institute of learning, with 50 monks in residence; before 1975, more then 500 monks lived here. It is the residence of the supreme Patriarch of the Mahanikai sect. The temple was founded in the 15th century, but a large number of its buildings were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime, including its library. The temple has since been partially restored. The compound contains two residences and a three-floor building which functions as the main temple; the interior is stark and bare.

On the ground floor is a marble Buddha presented by Burma, destroyed and pieced together again in 1979. On the second floor stands a brass statue of the patriarch of Cambodian Buddhism, Somdech Huot Tat. The statue, made in 1971, was thrown into the Tonle Sap river and only retrieved in 1979. The painted walls on the third floor depict scenes from the Jataka tales.

Koki Beach

Koki Beach is about 12km east of Phnom Penh following the Saigon route, a popular weekend and public holiday destination. Residents of Phnom Penh enjoy the banks of the river, huts raised on stilts can be rented for a day of picnicking. Cafes sell fresh fish and chicken. Hire a boat to tour the lake, vendors in barges may join you to offer food. If you go during the week you may enjoy a very relaxed afternoon as it might get crowded on weekends.

Mekong trip

Mekong Island (Oknha Teyn Island) takes about an hour by boat to reach from Phnom Penh. The island today is like a small theme park with many samples of Cambodian culture - a village where handcraft and silk is processed, a zoo, traditional dance and music ensembles and restaurants. Another, longer trip is to Koh Dach, a silk weaving village northeast of Phnom Penh, reachable via a three hour (round trip) boat ride. Enjoy a visit to the fishing villages and observe the river life flow past you along the way.

Takeo

The town of Takeo is 75km south of Phnom Penh on Route 2. It can also be reached by Route 3; well worth a day trip as travel time adds up to approximately five hours by taxi. About 20km east of Takeo is the village of Angkor Borei, which is thought to have been the site of Vyadhapura, the latest capital of the ancient Funan Kingdom. South of town is a historical site called Phnom Da, which was re-discovered by French archaeologists and is seen as the first stage of pre-Angkorian culture. Artefacts from the Phnom Da period are also displayed at Phnom Penh's National Museum.

Tonle Bati

About 33km south of Phnom Penh on Road No. 2 is a turnoff leading to Tonle Bati. A popular picnic spot with a lake and two temples, Ta Prohm and Yeay Peau, the site is humming with food stalls and picnic guests. The 12th-century Ta Prohm Temple, similar to the Angkor Wat temple in style, is attributed by some to being the result of a visit by King Jayavarman VII, who ruled Angkor from 1181. While travelling through Tonle Bati, the Angkorian King fell in love with Yeay Pov, the beautiful daughter of a fisherman. He spent three month with her, and upon leaving back to Angkor, gave her a ring with instructions to send the child she carried to Angkor. When her son, Prohm, duly presented the ring at Angkor, he was welcomed at his father's palace and given the best available education. The King later sent him back to govern Takeo province. Prohm built a temple similar to those he'd seen at Angkor, and named it after himself. For his mother, he built Yeay Pov temple.

Phnom Chisor

Some 20km south of Tonle Bati lies a hilltop ruin dating from the Angkorian period. The road to Phnom Chisor splits 55km south of Phnom Penh; the temple can be found about 4km from Route 2. The main sanctuary that is left today is an 11th century structure dedicated to Brahma. The site is quite isolated, it is recommended to bring a local guide with you. The temple can be reached via a staircase on the northern side of the hill. From the top, enjoy expansive views over the countryside, and see other temple ruins to the east. Leave the hilltop again via the southern staircase. Phnom Chisor makes an ideal excursion combined with Tonle Bati/Ta Prohm Temple.

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