Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s busy capital, sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. It was a hub for both the Khmer Empire and French colonialists. On its walkable riverfront, lined with parks, restaurants and bars, are the ornate Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, displaying artifacts from around the country. At the city’s heart is the massive, art deco Central Market.
Spend 2 days exploring the main attractions and cultural highlights of Phnom Penh. Discover the reality of the Khmer Rouge with visits to the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum, and also learn about the rhythms of modern life in Cambodia.
Day 1: The Killing Fields & Genocide Museum Get picked up from your hotel and drive past the Independence Monument—celebrating independence from French rule—on your way out of the city. Visit a traditional fishing village and the outer suburbs before making your way to the Killing Fields.
Once you arrive, take a self-guided tour with audio commentary to provide an understanding of the history of the place, where the Khmer Rouge executed more than 1 million people. The center at the site of the Killing Fields has been transformed into a beautiful homage to the deceased. Pay your respects at the Memorial Stupa, where the skulls of thousands of victims are on display as a reminder of the terror that took place.
After lunch at a local restaurant, make your way to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. In the 1970s, this school was transformed into the S-21 Prison, which serves as a powerful reminder of this dark chapter in Cambodian history. You finish the day at Svaypope Temple, where you're invited to participate in a short Buddhist ceremony in remembrance of those who lost their lives during the genocide.
Day 2: Royal Palace, National Museum & Local Markets Begin the second day with a visit to the living Russian Market, to discover a wide range of art, crafts, food, and clothing for sale. Then, head to the Royal Palace to enjoy its majestic architecture, statues, and monuments to old royalty. Eat lunch at a local restaurant before heading to the National Museum, where an official guide leads you through significant artwork, artifacts, and sculptures.
Stroll down Street 178, known as Art Street for its galleries and craft shops. Visit the Ounalome Temple to see monks going about their lives, and then travel to Wat Phnom Temple, an impressive 1372 Buddhist structure. Your day ends at the Central Markets, where you can haggle with locals to find the perfect gift to bring home.
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Guest Name: Mr. Mac
N.of Person: 2 pax
Booked: Best Cambodia and Vietnam Highlight Trip
Tour Style: Classic Highlight Tours
Duration: 10 Days