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Last updated : Oct 2007
Phnom Penh Culture Guide
Phnom Penh Culture Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Phnom Penh is a bustling capital city where more than 10,000 cyclos still share the streets with cars and motorbikes. A number of roadside cafes have popped up in recent years and are thriving. The city is suitably located on the banks where 3 rivers converge, the Mekong, the Tonle Sap and the Bassac, the site known to Cambodians as Chatomuk, or the four faces.

There is quite a lot to see in Phnom Penh, starting with a tour of the National Museum, the Silver Pagoda and the Independence Monument. Wat Phnom and the market areas where antiques, gems, hand woven silks and silver are the major sections for souvenir shopping. A wonderful half day and day trips to ancient hilltop temples with far reaching vistas can be ideal places for a picnic.

The Royal Palace which was built in 1866 by King Norodom, is the home to His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, the King of Cambodia, and Her Majesty the Queen Preah Reach Akka Mohesey Norodon Monineath Sihanouk. Most of the palace is situated near the public except during special occasions. Inside the palace compound are the coronation hall which is the main entrance that houses an open-air theater for the Royal Dance troupe, and the balcony for Royal appearances which is a pavilion that is normally used for entertaining and viewing of the King’s movies while the King’s private residence houses a collection of Cambodian artwork from artists around the world. The architecturally odd looking Napoleon III pavilion that was shipped and reassembled in Cambodia was a gift of the French Empress Eugenie in the early 20th century. The House of the White Elephant is customarily used for special royal occasions which include Royal births, deaths or weddings.

Legend has it that, after a major flood, a wealthy Khmer woman named Daun Penh found a tree on the river banks of the Mekong with 4 statues of Buddha hidden inside. In 1434 she built a temple named Wat Phnom to house the sacred relics. Today Wat Phnom remains the highest man-made hill in Phnom Penh and the main centre for leisure activity.