According to the legend, the temple of Mrs. Penh was built around 1372, after she found 5 Buddha statues in a hollow tree on the riverbank. The hill of Wat Phnom is the highest point of the city. The name Phnom Penh means hill of Penh and goes back to this temple. Wat Phnom is the oldest and most beautiful temple of the city. The hill is the northern end of the Norodom Blvd.
The large Buddhist temple complex "Wat Botum" is located south of the "Royal Palace". The temple is surrounded by many small stupas. Previously, the temple was surrounded by a lotus field, hence the name, "temple of the opening lotus blossom".
The red-brown Independence Monument was built in 1958, its shape reminds of old Khmer architecture. It commemorates the independence, achieved by King Sihanouk in 1953 by negotiations with France. Before the Independence, Cambodia was part of the French colony Indochine Française.
King Ponhea Yat built the temple between 1422 and 1443. "Wat Ounalom" was devastated by the "Khmer Rouge". Today, Wat Ounalom is the most important temple in the country, where the Buddhist head of Cambodia resides. There are many monks in the monastery, who give the temple a great spiritual power.
The "Friendship Monument" commemorates the invasion of the Vietnamese in 1979, which ended the rule of the "Khmer Rouge". But the troops from Vietnam were not seen as liberators but as occupiers. Many Cambodians still don't like the Vietnamese. But would they prefere to live under the rule of the Khmer Rouge? The Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Monument is still important for both countries.
The "Palace of Justice" with its pointed roof, stands diagonally opposite of the "Silver Pagoda". One of the tallest buildings of Phnom Penh in the traditional style of South East Asian architecture. The "Supreme Court" is the highest court in Cambodia.
Through the many monks and students, this temple is one of the liveliest of the city. The name "Wat Moha Montrei" means "Temple of the Great Minister", because the Minister of King Monivong was very committed to the construction of the temple.
The New Market "Psah Thamay" (Central Market) was erected in 1936 by the French colonialists in Art Deco style. The two halls, which cross diagonally, are crowned by a high dome. Those who are expecting food in the market might be disappointed, only jewelery, sunglasses and clothing are things like that are sold in the markethall. Food is sold around the market. Just follow the smell. The yellow market hall is one of the most striking buildings of Phnom Penh.
The Night Market is one of the famous attractions of Phnom Penh. On the "Night Market" you can find many food stands and other goods. Many locals sit on carpets and picnic on the square. It is a very nice market, right on the riverbank.
A boat trip on the Tonle Sap to the mouth of the Mekong takes about an hour. The ride just before sunset, is very enchanting when the sun disappears behind the city and the water glitters in golden colours. The piers are located to the north of the "Night market". The boats usually depart at full hours.
Although Cambodia is a predominantly Buddhist country, there is a small Muslim community. The large mosque of Phnom Penh is worth seeing, but is somewhat hidden north of the center. The "Al-Serkal Mosque" was opened in 2014 and is a gift of the United Arab Emirates.
The street art scene of Phnom Penh is located around the mosque. In the narrow roads along street Number 93, you will find many beautiful works of street art. For more photos ceck out the picture gallery. The artists meet at the cafe SIMONE on 93 Street.
Welcome to Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and with around 1.5 million inhabitants also the largest city in the country.
The city is situated at the confluence of the Tonle Sap river and the Mekong river. The city center is located on the west bank of the river, here you will also find the sights of Phnom Penh.
The most famous buildings include the Royal Palace, the Independence Monument and the Wat Phnom temple.
Highlights of Phnom Penh include the markets and an evening cruise on the Mekong.