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Three Countries In Ten Days: Exploring Phnom Penh Part 2

August 7th, 2009 by

In a previous article, I shared some of the different attractions that the vibrant capital city of Phnom Penh has to offer.  Visitors can visit the Central Market and the Russian Market to do a bit of shopping.  Those who would like to extend some help to the less fortunate children can head to any of the orphanages located within the city and bring donations like rice or noodles.  These children will surely charm their way to anyone’s heart.  But these are not the only places that are worth visiting while touring Phnom Penh.  One can go down memory lane and explore a varied list of historical sites.

National Museum of Cambodia

The different historical sites are very accessible within the city.  The best mode of transportation would have to be the airy tuk tuk that can be found anywhere in Phnom Penh.  Anyone can get a tuk tuk near hotels like the Himawari Hotel Apartment Phnom Penh.

One of the most famous historical landmarks is the National Museum of Cambodia which was constructed sometime in the 1917 up to 1924.  It was officially opened to the public in 1920 and further renovations were done in 1968 in order to rehabilitate its recognizable rust color and original Khmer architecture.  It is considered as the foremost archaeological and historical museum in the country.  It is most distinguished because it holds a lot of priceless items that are included in the impressive collections of Khmer art.  Art pieces come in the form of fragile ceramics, interesting bronze figures, sculptures, stone carvings and a lot more that total about fourteen thousand precious pieces.  The museum plays an integral part in the preservation of local traditions and culture.  In the process it gives a sense of identity to the Cambodians.  Because of the large number of Buddhist and Hindu pieces housed within the museum, one can say that this museum also serves a religious purpose.  The National Museum opens at around 8:00 am and closes at 4:00 pm.  Each person would have to pay an entrance fee of US$ 3.00.

The Royal Palace

Located just walking distance away from the National Museum is the Royal Palace, another notable attraction in the city.  The palace, also called Preah Barom Reachea Vaeng Chaktomuk, was built in 1866 and is still considered as the official residence of the King of Cambodia.  From one’s visit, it can be observed that the place is truly overflowing with a lot of important objects.  Aside from these precious treasures, it is a refreshing experience to walk around the palace grounds and feel history pulsing through the air.  One a portion of the palace is open for the public to explore which means that there is no need to allot long hours in this stop.  Understandably, visitors must observe the proper dress codes when touring the palace.  As a rule, one must make sure that the knees and shoulders must not be exposed.  The Royal Palace is open from 7:30 – 11:00 am and 2:00 – 5:00pm.  The entrance fee is US$ 3.00 plus an additional dollar or two for those who wish to take photos.

It is important to head to the Independence Monument (Vimean Ekareach) which can really be an amazing sight at night as it is a commanding structure when all the lights are turned on.  This structure was built in 1958 following the independence of Cambodia from the colonization of the French.  It can be found within the city center specifically on the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard.    The Independence Monument was designed by Vann Molyvann, a famous Cambodian architect.  This city landmark was created to take the form of a lotus-shaped stupa which is a design that is quite evident at the different Khmer temples at Angkor Wat and other Khmer-inspired historical buildings.  It consists of five levels that are decorated with 100 nagas or snakes.  A lot of activities are held here and the flame in the interior of the monument is usually lit by a high ranking government official.  Of course, the most important celebration that is held here would be Independence Day festivities that take place every November 9.  Cambodia has gained independence from France on November 9, 1953.

Independence Monument

My partner and I felt that we have come full circle during our visit in the amazing Kingdom of Cambodia.  We got to visit the breathtaking temples in Siem Reap, traveled for five long hours on board a public bus from Siem Reap to Cambodia, paid our respects at the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, visited and made a donation to an orphanage, shopped in the markets of Phnom Penh, and immersed ourselves in Khmer art by visiting a number of historical places in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia is truly a magical place, one that you would like to experience again and again and again.  Given the chance, my partner and I will go back to take one more look.  But for now, we have memories to hold on to until that day comes when we set foot on this marvelous kingdom again.

5 Responses to “Three Countries In Ten Days: Exploring Phnom Penh Part 2”

  1. Beginning iPhone Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK | Used Review Says:

    [...] Three Countries In Ten Days: Exploring Phnom Penh Part 2 [...]

  2. Hello world! « Asiatourtravel Says:

    [...] Three Countries In Ten Days: Exploring Phnom Penh Part 2 [...]

  3. kay Says:

    Your words really paint the picture of being there!
    I looked forward of seeing Phnom Penh….

  4. Kitci Wong Says:

    Thanks for that lovely comment Kay. Please do let me know of your plans if and when you book that trip to Phnom Penh :)

  5. Mack Says:

    Very informative post. Phnom Penh is a very best place to see. They attract thousand of tourist national as well as international. You can see Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, buddha is situated in the center of the silver pagoda. Must visit National Museum near Royal palace, Cambodian art, Thunder Ranch, Cheoung Ek Mekong Island, Phnom Chiso, Koh Dach, prasat Neang Khmao, Oudong, Angkor Borei.

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