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.
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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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.
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With an eye to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Luang Prabang in 2018, Rosewood opens its first Asia hotel of the year in Phnom Penh.
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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