1.Wat Phnom (Wat Phnom Daun Penh): Wat Phnom, the namesake and symbol of the capital city of Phnom Penh, sets prominently atop an artificial 27 meter hill (or 'Phnom') in the northeastern section of the city. Legend has it that Daun Penh, a wealthy widow, retrieved a large koki tree trunk from the river. She had hoped to use it for a house, but inside a hollow of the trunk, she found four statues of the Buddha. She then ordered for a section of her property to be elevated for a small shrine to be erected to revere the statues. This became a sacred site and people started to settle around the hill; eventually, this became the city it now is. It is here that the city gets its name: ‘Phnom’ means hill in Khmer and ‘Penh’ is of course the name of the lady.
Royal palace Phnom penh
The Royal Palace of Cambodia is a complex of buildings, even though it is generally understood to be the royal abode of the King of Cambodia. The compound was the citadel of King Ponhea Yat (1393-1463) and rebuilt to its present state in 1886, when King Norodom (1834-1904) relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh. The buildings with beautiful towering spires are a great example of classic Khmer architecture found in Cambodia today.
Along with numerous other interesting buildings, within the 183,135 square meters (421m x 435m) compound is The Khemarin Palace, also known as Prasat Khemarin or the "Palace of the Khmer King." This is officially the residence of His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni.
3, Silver Pagoda:
Silver pagoda in Phnompenh
The Silver Pagoda, also known as the Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morokat (the Emerald Pagoda) to Cambodians, lies within the grounds of the Royal Palace, which is situated near the banks of the Mighty Mekong.
Originally a wooden structure, the palace was initially constructed in 1892 during the reign of King Norodom, but rebuilt to its present grandeur by King Norodom Sihanouk in 1962. The king spared no effort to make this a true embodiment of brilliant Khmer art. More than 5300 pcs of 1.125 kilo silver tiles are used to cover the floor of the Silver Pagoda, and the silver pieces collectively weigh over six tons.
4. Phnom Penh National Museum: The National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh is the country’s leading historical and archaeological museum. It was officially inaugurated by King Sisowat in 1920.
5,Independence Monument (Vimean Ekareach) built in 1958 as a memorial to Cambodia's war dead and to celebrate independence from foreign rule, the monument stands majestically on the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard in the centre of the city. It is designed by the influential Cambodian modern architect Vann Molyvann in the form of a lotus-shaped stupa in the same style seen at the great Khmer temple at Angkor Wat and other Khmer historical sites.
6.Phsar Thmey (Central Market) :Phsar Thmey, also known as Central Market, is a unique colonial style building constructed in 1937. The location where the Central Market now sits was once a swamp area and occupied by a lake known as Beng Decho. Today, this beautiful market has become a prominent landmark in Phnom Penh. In the Khmer language, Phsar Thmey literally means ‘New Market’.
7.Phsar Toul Tum Poung (Russian Market):Toul Tum Poung market is often referred to as the Russian market because of its popularity among Russian expatriates during the 1980s. This market is popular to collectors of genuine antiques; also for those looking for good reproductions.
8. Night Market:No shopping experience is complete without the thrills and satisfaction of shopping at night--especially one as a tourist in an exotic destination.The night market in Phnom Penh, located in front of the Phsar Chas (Old Market) near the riverside, is perpetually crowded with tourists in search of a good bargain. At the moment, there are more than 150 stalls selling an array of items from clothing and ornaments to furniture and souvenirs. The entire setting of the Phnom Penh night market is made from natural material, and there are occasionally music performances and entertainment acts.
The riverfront offers some of the city’s most interesting sites including dozens of pubs, galleries, cafés, restaurants and shops that sit along one side of Sisowath Quay overlooking the Chaktomuk (the confluence of the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers).The park-like riverside is a great place to absorb local flavours and watch the locals unwind and enjoy a late afternoon stroll on the esplanade. Early risers may wish to check out the spectacular sunrise over the river in front of the Royal Palace.
River Cruise:The mighty Mekong River is indeed, in more ways than one, the lifeline that runs through the heart of southeast Asia. Rising from the Himalayan mountain of Tibet, it trickles and gradually winds its way through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam before spilling into the South China Sea. In its course, the mighty Mekong meets the Tonle Sap Lake which is the largest lake in South East Asia and effectively, the heartbeat of Cambodia. The annual pulsation of the flooding seasons has been a huge contribution to Cambodia’s existence for millenniums.
10. Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21)
Prior to 1975, Toul Sleng was a high school. When the Khmer Rouge came to power it was converted into the S-21 prison and interrogation facility. Inmates were systematically tortured to extract confessions, after which they were executed at the killing fields of Choeung Ek. S-21 processed over 17,000 people, less than a dozen of whom survived. The building now serves as a museum, a memorial and a testament to the madness of the Khmer Rouge regime.
11.Choeung Ek Memorial (The Killing Fields)
Located about 17km south of Phnom Penh, Choeung Ek was once an orchard and a Chinese graveyard. It was used by the Khmer Rouge regime as an execution ground to put down thousands of people between 1975 and 1979. The site is now better known as the Killing Fields. Mass graves containing thousands of bodies were discovered at Choeung Ek after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. Many of the dead were former inmates in the Tuol Sleng prison.
12. Ounalom Monastery
The origin of the Ounalom Pagoda can be traced to as far back as the 15th Century. It was built in 1422 by King Ponyea Yat, the last king of the Khmer empire. It is one of the five original monasteries in Phnom Penh that King Ponhea Yat had built.
Street 240's tree shaded avenue harbors a unique collection of quality boutiques and souvenir shops, offering Cambodian silks and silk fashions, Southeast Asian art, handicrafts, curios andfurniture. There are a few restaurants, bars, wine shops, bookstores, and travel agencies interspersed along the way. After visiting the Royal Palace, stroll around the corner to explore Street 240. Most of the shops are concentrated along the couple of blocks between Street 19 and Norodom Blvd. At the corner of Street 240 next to the Royal Palace, the Council of Ministers building sits distinctively, particularly photogenic in the late afternoon. Before heading up 240, consider taking a short detour through the park to Wat Botum to see the towering white 'Buddha Relic Stupa'. As you are walking up Street 240 from the Palace area note the well preserved colonial era villas on the south side of the street.
Boeung Keng Kang 1 (BKK1), bordered by Sihanouk, Norodom, Mao Tse Toung, and Monivong Boulevards, has been considered the city's 'foreigner quarter' since the 80s. The area is the base for many NGOs, embassies, expatriate residences and hotels catering to long-term visitors. The whole of Boeung Keng Kang 1 is dotted with visitor-oriented businesses hotels, restaurants, bars, silk shops, massage spas, travel agents and realtors, with the greatest concentration of businesses at the northern end in the Street 278/282 area, particularly between Streets 51 and 63. Street 278 is lined with restaurants, bars, shops and small hotels frequented by an interesting mix of NGO and IO workers as well as tourists and expatriates. The Street 278 area is well worth a visit and a stroll anytime of day, but especially for lunch or dinner, or even better, in the early evening when the bars are cafés are full and the street is at its liveliest.