Located at the confluence of the Mekong, Bassac, and Tonle Sap Rivers, Phnom Penh was reputedly founded by a wealthy widow named Daun Penh, who discovered Buddha statues hidden in a hollowed out log that washed up to her doorstep during a flood of the Mekong. Throughout the centuries, Phnom Penh served as the capital of various Cambodian realms, from the ancient Khmer Empire to the French colonial administration, and finally the modern-day government of Cambodia.
Today, Phnom Penh is a chaotic, lively maze of tumbling streets, tuk-tuks, bicycles, and motorcycles. A blur of activity from morning until well after sunset, Phnom Penh's streets are dotted with a mix of colonial French buildings and traditional Cambodian architecture; with its legendary nightlife and bustling avenues, Phnom Penh has something for everyone. Highlights include the temple of Wat Phnom, where Daun Penh was said to have founded the city, and Tuol Sleng, the sobering, former prison where opponents of the Khmer Rouge were executed.
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Explore the National Museum, which has the world's top collection of Khmer sculpture and art. A majority of the exhibits are from the Angkor period (ca. 800-1431), but there are some works from as early as the 4th century.
Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
A national landmark and most important shrine in Cambodia, the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda is named for the 5,000 silver tiles that carpet the pagoda's floor. A gold Buddha weighing 200 pounds and adorned with almost 10,000 diamonds is the featured piece of this amazing structure.
Stop at the somber but revealing Tuol Sleng Museum, a former security prison of the Khmer Rouge now turned into a museum. Learn about the horrors of Pol Pot's genocide and the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.
Visit Phnom Udong, the royal capital of Cambodia from the 17th to the 19th centuries, where temples, stupas, and even a mosque cover the three lovely hills. There are great views of the Cambodian countryside here, and a walk through the area is well worth your time.
Visit Wat Phnom, the pagoda set on the only hill in town, and from which the city gets its name. Many locals climb the stairs leading up to the temple daily in order to pray for good luck in business, studies, or other matters.
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Phnom Penh Itineraries
- 16 days / 15 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $14,100
- 6 days / 5 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $4,900
Raffles Hotel Le Royal is one of Phnom Penh's premier historic properties. First established in 1929, the hotel hosted an international clientele comprising globetrotters and adventurers, writers and journalists, royalty and dignitaries. Reopened in 1997 after a careful restoration, the grand historic hotel fulfills all the requirements of a modern world-class hotel with its facilities and amenities, but imparts an old-world charm through its style and decor. Raffles Hotel Le Royal has 170 guest rooms, suites and executive apartments, which are spread over three separate but interconnecting low-rise wings, set around the garden courtyard and swimming pools. There are five distinctive restaurants and bars, encompassing traditional French and Khmer cuisine at Restaurant Le Royal, Café Monivong and Le Phnom Deli, and the Elephant Bar, the home of the Airavata, a cocktail of secret ingredients. Located in the heart of Phnom Penh, Raffles Hotel Le Royal is only a 20 minutes’ drive from Pochentong International Airport and within easy access of the city’s attractions such as the Royal Palace, Central Market, Russian Market and the National Artefacts Museum.
Rosewood Phnom Penh occupies the top 14 floors of Vattanac Capital Tower which soars 188 meters above the heart of Phnom Penh’s business district. The property has a total of 175 rooms, including 37 suites, each with unparalleled views of the city and elegantly furnished to create comfortable, residential-style living spaces. Guests can choose amongst a variety of in-house dining options, including continental, Japanese, French and Cambodia fare as well as a steak and seafood grill. Oenophiles and wine connoisseurs can sample wines or enjoy a bottle from the Wine Vault’s extensive range of fine wines. Sense, the Rosewood brand’s signature spa, will offer guests a tranquil haven and wellness getaway, while the fitness center provides wide views of the city skyline and state-of-the-art fitness equipment available 24 hours a day.
Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra
Set on a riverside among landscaped gardens, the 12-storey colonial style Sofitel offers sweeping views of the Mekong River. Each of the 201 rooms comes with audio-visual HD connectivity and complimentary WiFi access. The rooms are equipped with Egyptian cotton sheets and includes a spacious bathroom with a double sink. Choose from the hotel’s four restaurants, serving a range of Italian to Japanese cuisines. Other facilities include two swimming pools, an on-site spa, a sports club and a lounge. The Sofitel is approximately 20 minutes from Phnom Penh International Airport.
Cambodia Goes Well With
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
With an eye to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Luang Prabang in 2018, Rosewood opens its first Asia hotel of the year in Phnom Penh.
- Ronan O'Connell
Angkor Wat normally comes to mind when one thinks of Khmer architecture, but perhaps its truest modern form is found in Cambodia’s capital, where the Phnom Penh palace makes for early morning inspiration.
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