Must see attractions in Phnom Penh

  • Top ChoiceSights in Phnom Penh

    Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

    In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot’s security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21); it soon became the largest centre of detention and torture in the country. S-21 has been turned into the Tuol Sleng museum, which serves as a testament to the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Phnom Penh

    National Museum of Cambodia

    The National Museum of Cambodia is home to the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculpture: a millennium’s worth and more of masterful Khmer design. It's housed in a graceful terracotta structure of traditional design (built from 1917 to 1920) with an inviting courtyard garden, just north of the Royal Palace.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Phnom Penh

    Royal Palace

    With its classic Khmer roofs and ornate gilding, the Royal Palace once dominated the skyline of Phnom Penh. It's a striking structure near the riverfront, bearing a remarkable likeness to its counterpart in Bangkok. Being the official residence of King Sihamoni, parts of the massive palace compound are closed to the public. The adjacent Silver Pagoda is open to visitors.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Phnom Penh

    Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

    Between 1975 and 1978, about 20,000 men, women, children and infants who had been detained and tortured at S-21 prison were transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek. It is a peaceful place today, where visitors can learn of the horrors that unfolded here decades ago. Admission includes an excellent audio tour, available in several languages.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Phnom Penh

    Silver Pagoda

    Within the Royal Palace compound is this extravagant temple, also known as Wat Preah Keo or Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Silver Pagoda is so named for its floor, which is covered with 5 tonnes of gleaming silver. You can sneak a peek at some of the 5000 tiles near the entrance, but most are covered for protection. Inside is a series of lavish Buddha statues made of precious metals.

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    Psar Thmei

    A landmark building in the capital, the art deco Psar Thmei (literally 'New Market') is often called the Central Market, a reference to its location and size. The huge domed hall resembles a Babylonian ziggurat and some claim it ranks as one of the 10 largest domes in the world.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Phnom Penh

    Kbach Arts

    Cambodia finally got a sizable contemporary arts space in 2019, when Kbach moved into three galleries covering 400 sq metres of Factory Phnom Penh. The mission is to provide a platform for young Khmer artists to showcase their work, while also inviting resident artists from abroad to serve as mentors. Dazzling murals cover the exterior, and the interior houses urban and mixed-medium art. A small art market with original works and limited edition prints was set to open by 2020.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Phnom Penh

    Factory Phnom Penh

    This 3.4-hectare Levi's garment factory, 2km south of town, was completely transformed in 2018 into a graffiti-covered hub for entrepreneurs, artists and creative thinkers. On a ride through the sprawling campus (there are 50 free-to-use bikes) you'll encounter four art galleries, most run by Kbach Arts, as well as a skate park, trampoline park, craft brewery, stage, cinema, market and the Workspace 1 coworking space. It's virtually impossible to visit this aspirational complex and leave uninspired.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Ramayana Mural

    The Silver Pagoda complex is enclosed by walls plastered with an extensive and, in parts, spectacular mural depicting the classic Indian epic of the Ramayana (known as the Reamker in Cambodia). The story begins just south of the east gate and includes vivid images of the Battle of Lanka. The mural was created around 1900 and parts of it have recently undergone restoration.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Throne Hall

    The main attraction in the palace compound is the Throne Hall. Topped by a 59m-high tower inspired by the Bayon at Angkor, it was inaugurated in 1919 by King Sisowath. The hall is used for coronations and ceremonies such as the presentation of credentials by diplomats. Many of the items once displayed here were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Wat Phnom

    Set on top of a 27m-high tree-covered knoll, Wat Phnom is on the only ‘hill’ in town. According to legend, the first pagoda on this site was erected in 1372 to house four statues of Buddha deposited here by the waters of the Mekong River and discovered by Lady Penh. Hence the city name Phnom Penh or 'hill of Penh'.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Wat Ounalom

    This wat is the headquarters of Cambodian Buddhism. It was founded in 1443 and comprises 44 structures. The wat received a battering during the Pol Pot era, but today it has come back to life. The head of the country’s Buddhist brotherhood lives here, along with a large number of monks.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    French Embassy

    Located at the northern end of Monivong Blvd, the French embassy played a significant role in the dramas that unfolded after the fall of Phnom Penh on 17 April 1975. About 800 foreigners and 600 Cambodians took refuge in the embassy. Within 48 hours, the Khmer Rouge informed the French vice-consul that they did not recognise diplomatic privileges – and if the Cambodians in the compound were not handed over, the lives of the foreigners inside would also be forfeited.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Olympic Stadium

    Despite the lofty name, this multipurpose sports complex has never hosted an Olympic Games. Nevertheless, it's a striking example of 1960s 'New Khmer' architecture, with an arena and facilities for boxing, gymnastics, volleyball and other sports. Turn up after 5pm to see countless football matches, pétanque duels or badminton games. It's also a popular spot for sunrise or sunset mass musical aerobics.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Independence Monument

    Modelled on the central tower of Angkor Wat, Independence Monument was built in 1958 to commemorate the country’s independence from France in 1953. It also serves as a memorial to Cambodia’s war dead. Wreaths are laid here on national holidays.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Wat Moha Montrei

    Wat Moha Montrei was named in honour of one of King Monivong’s ministers, Chakrue Ponn, who initiated the founding of the pagoda ( moha montrei means ‘the great minister’). The cement vihara (temple sanctuary), topped with a 35m-high tower, was completed in 1970. Between 1975 and 1979, it was used by the Khmer Rouge to store rice and corn.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Futures Factory

    Helmed by the ever-popular Friends restaurant, this new community space aims to become the cultural heart of central Phnom Penh with a regular lineup of live music, family activities and gallery exhibitions, plus a market with indie shops, a bar and plenty of pallet furniture to lounge around in.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    National Library

    The National Library is in a graceful old building constructed in 1924, near Wat Phnom. During its rule, the Khmer Rouge turned the building into a stable and destroyed most of the books. Many were thrown out into the streets, where they were picked up by people, some of whom donated them back to the library after 1979; others used them as food wrappings. Today it houses, among other things, a time-worn collection of English and French titles.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Napoleon III Pavilion

    Check out this curious iron pavilion, located south of the Throne Hall. Given to King Norodom by Napoleon III of France in 1876, it was hardly designed with the Cambodian climate in mind. In fact, it was originally built for the inauguration of the Suez Canal in 1869, before being shipped to Cambodia in pieces.

  • Sights in Phnom Penh

    Shrine of Princess Kantha Bopha

    This shrine is dedicated to Kantha Bopha, one of former King Father Sihanouk’s daughters, who died of leukemia when she was just four years old. There are now five Kantha Bopha children’s hospitals in Cambodia, which take care of 80% of the nation's sick children, free of charge.