Phnom Penh is the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia . Situated at the confluence of four rivers, the Upper Mekong, the Lower Mekong, the Bassac and the Tonle Sap. The capital city still maintains considerable charm with plenty to see.

Independence Monument

Standing tall in the city center at the intersection of Norodom and Sihanouk Boulevards, it is the Independence Monument. Inaugurated in 1958 to commemorate the declaration of Cambodia’s independence from foreign rule, it now serves also as monument to Cambodia’s war dead. Walking in the Monument is not permitted, but it is best viewed from across the street on the west however.

The Royal Palace and The Silver Pagoda

The Silver Pagoda is located within the compound of the Royal Palace. Inside the gleaming yellow walls of the palace compound are the Throne Hall; the Chanchhaya Pavilion which is especially made for performances of classical Cambodian dance; the Napoleon III Pavilion, offered to King Norodom by Queen Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III and the royal residential quarters.

Wat Phnom

Located at the intersection of Street 96 and Norodom Boulevard, this is the legendary founding place of the name Phnom Penh. Legend has it that in 1372, a wealthy widow named Penh fished a floating Koki tree out of the mighty Mekong River. Inside the hollow of the tree, she found five statues of Buddha; four in bronze and one is stone. She then located an suspicious place and elevated the location to construct a shrine to house her statues. Hence the name Wat Phnom; Wat for shrine or pagoda in the Khmer language and Phnom literally means mountain.

National Museum

Located next to the Royal Palace, the National Museum is easily recognized by its distinctive rusty-red exterior and traditional Cambodian terra-cotta roof. Build between 1917 and 1920, the Museum offers a charming setting for a stunning collection of ancient Khmer artifacts. There are more than 5,000 interesting items, including and eight armed statue of Vishnu ( 7th Century), a statue of Shiva ( 9th Century) and a statue of the Buddha from pre-Angkor period.

Surrounding Phnom Penh

Tonle Bati

Set on a small peninsular jutting into the Bati River, this is a famous picnic destination just around the corner from the Ta Prohm temple.

On Sundays, many locals come to sit in the small huts perched over the water and picnic on local delicacies such as chicken and grilled frogs provided by local vendor. Boats can be hired from here, and many people enjoy swimming as well. Because it is favourite holiday spot for holiday makers from Phnom Penh, things are often a little more expensive here; so before buying remember to ask for the price first and try bargaining for the fun of it.

Oudong Mountain

About 40 kilometers north of Phnom Penh along National Route 5, a mountain topped with spires of stupas roars from the plain like a fairytale castle. This is Phnom Oudong; at one time an ancient capital, bombed and desecrated by the Americans and then the Khmer Rouge, but still possessing and eerie beauty that no war has been able to steal from.


Independence Monument, Phnom Penh

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

National Museum , Phnom Penh

Wat Phnom , Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh during the Water Festival

Mekong River Bank during the Water Festival


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The Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Canberra
5 Canterbury Crescent, Deakin, ACT 2600, Australia
Telephone: +61 2 6273 1259 or +61 2 6273 1154, Fax: +61 2 6273 1053
Email: CambodianEmbassy@ozemail.com.au