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Phnom Penh

Country
Cambodia
State
Residence de Kandal
City
Phnom Penh
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia.Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonized Cambodia,and has grown to become the nation's center of economic and industrial activities,as well as the center of security, politics,economics,cultural heritage,and diplomacy of Cambodia.

Once known as the “Pearl of Asia”, it was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina in the 1920s.Phnom Penh,along with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, are significant global and domestic tourist destinations for Cambodia.Founded in 1434, the city is noted for its beautiful and historical architecture and attractions.There are a number of surviving French colonial buildings scattered along the grand boulevards.

Situated on the banks of the Tonle Sap,Mekong and Bassac rivers,the Phnom Penh metropolitan area is home to more than 2 million of Cambodia’s population of over 14 million.The city is the wealthiest and most populous city in Cambodia and is home to the country’s political hub.Phnom Penh takes its name from the present Wat Phnom “Hill Temple”.Legend has it that in 1372,an old nun named Lady Penh went to fetch water in the Mekong and found a dead Koki tree floating down the stream.Inside a hole of the Koki tree were four bronze and one stone Buddha statues.

Daun (Grandma) Penh brought the statues ashore and ordered people to pile up earth northeast of her house she then used the Koki trunks to build a temple on the hill to house the five Buddha statues, and then named the temple after herself as Wat Phnom Daun Penh, which is now known as Wat Phnom, a small hill of 27 metres (89 ft) in height.



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How to Reach

By Air

Phnom Penh International Airport is the second-largest and second-busiest airport in Cambodia after Angkor International Airport in Siem Reap.It is located 7 kilometres west of central Phnom Penh.Taxis, pick-ups,and minibuses leave the city for destinations all over the country,but are fast losing ground to cheaper and more comfortable buses.Phnom Penh also has a rail service.

By train

There is a limited freight service running from Kampot to Phnom Penh,but no passenger services currently (Feb. 2011) exist anywhere in the country.There are plans to have a line from Sihanoukville, through Kampot and to Phnom Penh.

By Bus

Phnom Penh Sorya Transport Capitol Tours,and GST Express operate bus service to/from the rather chaotic "station" at the southwest corner of the Central Market.Direct buses go to Bangkok,Ho Chi Minh City, Vientiane, Siem Reap (US-$10),Sihanoukville,Poipet,Koh Kong,Battambang,Kampot, Ratanakiri, Kratie, Stung Treng, Pursat, and Svay Sisophon.Advance bookings are advisable and can also be sorted out by most travel agents and guesthouses for a US$1-$2 fee.

By Ferries

Ferries connect Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and usually take 6 hrs; tickets for foreigners cost US$35. Many, but not all,of these ferries offer the option of sitting on the roof,which makes for a much more scenic,albeit less comfortable ride than the bus take sunblock,a hat, and enough water to last you for several hours just in case the boat gets stuck.The boat leave 7.30am.Fast boats leave every morning around 8AM from Chau Doc in Vietnam's Mekong Delta and take 5 hrs to reach Phnom Penh. The boats make the return journey the same day and leave Phnom Penh around 1PM arriving in Chau Doc in the early evening.

Key places to visit
Wat Phnom, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Royal Palace, Sorya Shopping Center, Stung Meanchey Garbage Dump, National Assembly, Boeng Kak Lake, Independence Monument


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Places to Visit

Wat Phnom

Is a Buddhist temple wat located in Phnom Penh,Cambodia.It was built in 1373,and stands 27 metres above the ground.It is the tallest religious structure in the city.Legend relates that Daun Penh,a wealthy widow, found a large koki tree in the river.Inside the tree she found four bronze statues of the Buddha. Lady Penh constructed a small shrine on an artificial hill to protect the sacred statues.Eventually this became a sacred site and sanctuary where people would make blessings and pray.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Is a museum in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.The site is a former high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge communist regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. Tuol Sleng Khmer means "Hill of the Poisonous Trees" or "Strychnine Hill".Formerly the Chao Ponhea Yat High School,named after a Royal ancestor of King Norodom Sihanouk, the five buildings of the complex were converted in August 1975, four months after the Khmer Rouge won the civil war,into a prison and interrogation center.The Khmer Rouge renamed the complex "Security Prison 21" (S-21) and construction began to adapt the prison to the inmates the buildings were enclosed in electrified barbed wire,the classrooms converted into tiny prison and torture chambers,and all windows were covered with iron bars and barbed wire to prevent escapes.

Royal Palace

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia.Its full name in the Khmer language is Preah Barom Reachea Veang Chaktomuk. The Kings of Cambodia have occupied it since it was built in 1860's, with a period of absence when the country came into turmoil during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge.The palace was constructed after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-19th century. It was gradually built atop an old citadel called Banteay Kev. It faces towards the East and is situated at the Western bank of the four divisions at the Mekong River called Chaktomuk (an allusion to Brahma).

Sorya Shopping Center

Is currently the largest modern shopping complex in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With an area of 40,000 square meters,it has eight stories containing shops catering to the various needs of customers.For the clients comfort, it is facilitated with a central air conditioning system,passenger lifts and escalators.Each day, the number of people visiting the Center is rapidly increasing.As such, the Center is continuously modifying and extending more shop varieties.The westernized shopping centre contains a number of fast food restaurants, and stores though out the floors.Although the shopping complex is currently the largest there are other projects for larger shopping centers that are being planned or under construction in the country.

Stung Meanchey Garbage Dump

Where hundreds of the poorest of the poor, including many small children, swarm over the refuse (which includes burning plastic and syringes) hoping to find anything of value.In addition to or instead of visiting the dump,you can stop by the impressive French NGO, "Pour un sourire denfant" nearby, which takes in thousands of adolescents from the dump and its surrounding areas,and sends them out into the world two or three years later fluent in English and French, and as a result can gain valuable life skills.PSE staff will give you a guided tour of their learning centre on request. PSE is also in need of foreign volunteer teachers who can commit a little time.The dump is now not in use by the refuse company,but still used by factories and construction companies,so much of the community which lived here have moved to the new dump which is not open to tourists.While the security here do refuse entry,it is still possible to walk in.There is a charity run school on top of the dump near the entrance.

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