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by Orient-Express
La Résidence d'Angkor

Phnom Penh

If you have time during your stay with us at La Résidence d'Angkor, you may wish to take a trip to Phnom Penh, the capital city of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Phnom Penh was established in 1422 by King Podhea Yat. He abandoned the then capital city of Angkor and built five wats here on the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers.

Development continued after the independence of Cambodia in 1953 but was abruptly halted by the Khmer Rouge coup. The city was completely evacuated by the regime. It remained empty until the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979, when those who had survived the killing fields began to return. UN sponsored elections in 1993 initiated a new era of growth which continues today.

 

Highlights of the City

Royal Palace
Central Phnom Penh, located on the riverfront. The Palace was built in 1866 under the French protectorate and King Norodom.

Silver Pagoda
Within the grounds of the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda is so named for its amazing floor which is made entirely of silver tiles.

National Museum
The National Museum is located next to the Royal Palace. Its 5,000 displays include an extensive collection of Angkorian era statues and other artefacts.

 
Other Attractions

The Riverfront
Enjoy a romantic stroll along Phnom Penh's Sithowath Quay and take in the view of the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. The water level varies greatly depending upon what time of the year you visit and is at its highest at the end of the rainy season in October. The sunrise can be spectacular over the river in front of the Royal Palace. There are also regular 2-hour cruises throughout the day which are particularly memorable if combined with lunch or dinner.

Wat Phnom
Located in north Phnom Penh, Wat Phnom is an active Buddhist wat atop a small hill which was the original founding site of Phnom Penh. The legend tells of the beautiful Lady Penh who retrieved four Buddha statues from a floating koki tree and built a hill (phnom) to house them. It is a tranquil place to catch a cool breeze and watch pilgrims pay their respects and visit the many fortune-tellers.

The Markets and Shopping
If you have time you should try to visit at least one traditional market while you are in Phnom Penh. The Russian Market is located outside the centre but is the best for souvenirs, curiosities and silks, and at reasonable prices.

The 1935 art deco-style Central Market is architecturally interesting but is geared almost entirely to the tourist who has scant time to venture further afield and is prepared to pay for the convenience.

More exclusive shopping can be found along Streets 178 and 240 where there are a number of elegant boutiques and galleries displaying contemporary Cambodian art, fine silks and sculptures.

 

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