Tourism is a rising industry in Phnom Penh. Also known as the Pearl of Asia, it is home to historical architecture and a number of surviving French colonial buildings along the grant boulevards. The Royal Palace is one of the gems of the kingdom. It is the royal residence of the Cambodian king, which has been since it was built in the 1860’s. It houses two magnificent pagodas, namely the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the the Wat Preah Keo. The most notable are the crystal Buddha and the life-sized diamond adorned Maitreya Buddha. The Royal Palace also features the Throne Hall, where the king, his adviser and the royal officials make the decisions for Cambodia; the Khemarin Palace, magnificent gardens, and many other breath-taking structures.
The National Museum of Cambodia or Sala Rachana is a perfect way to drink in the history, the culture and lifestyle of the nation. It houses the largest collection of artifacts of the country and it is worth seeing. The museum features Khmer sculptures and paintings, works of art in bronzes and ceramics and many ethnographic objects. The building itself is a national heritage, having been built in 1917 using the blueprint of Khmer architecture. The latest addition to the museum’s glass cases is the Post-Angkorian Buddha, which is an important Buddhist and Hindu vestige.
Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
A visit to Phnom Penh will not be complete if one had not seen The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. It is a about 15 kilometers from the city and it is easily accessible by bus from the the DangKor Market bus depot. Although a place of grim history, the place is treated with respect as homage to the victims of the Khmer Rouge killing. It will be recalled that the story of the journalist Dith Pran was turned into a film and was titled “The Killing Fields” which was how the term was coined.
Phnom Penh’s central market
Phnom Penh’s central market is the place to shop when in Cambodia. Forget the malls and have an authentic feel of the Asian city and even get to interact with the locals. It is teeming in local delicacies, bargain finds, souvenirs and almost anything under the sun. Although it had gone through a major renovation in 2011, the market had stood in the same place since 1937. It is said to be the biggest market in Asia today. It was re-desgined by French architect Louis Chauchon and the construction work was supervised by the French.