At the intersection of Norodom and Sihanouk
The Vimean Ekareach or Independence Monument
was inaugurated in the year 1958 to celebrate Cambodia’s independence
from foreign rule. Now it also serves as a tribute and monument
to Cambodia’s war dead. Every night the monument
is lit by red, blue and white floodlights, the colors of the Cambodian
flag. It is the main site of celebrations and services
on holidays such as Constitution Day and Independence Day.
Though trespassing onto the monument is illegal, the best
views are from across the street.
The National Museum
(Street 178 & Street 13 next to the Royal Palace Entrance fee
is US $3.00; Open daily from 8.00 am - 5.00 pm.
The unique rust-red National Museum next to the Royal Palace
displays more than 5,000 objects including statues from
the Angkorian era, lingas and other artifacts.
Though the main emphasis is on Angkorian artifacts, there is also
an interesting collection of pieces from other periods. A visit
to the museum after rather than before a trip to the temples of
Angkor helps lend context to the Angkorian artifacts. The museum
was dedicated by King Sisowath in the year 1920.
Tour guides are always available as well as souvenirs
and books; however, photography is limited. Some
guides mention the museum bats that inhabited the rafters that are
unseen in the day but occasionally flew off in droves at sunset.
In March of 2002 the bats left for good after renovations to the
ceiling were completed.
Sleng and Choeung Ek
The genocide museum was opened after 1979 at Tuol
Sleng, a former school and central torture centre of the Khmer
Rouge. Choeung Ek, a mass graves site
known also as the killing fields is located 15
kilometres outside Phnom Penh. It serves as a memorial to those
killed under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Facing the Tonle Sap river near the Royal Palace,
this pagoda is the main headquarters for 1 of Cambodia's
At the top of the artificial hill built in the 15th century stands
a stupa said to contain the ashes of the king of
the same period. There is also a small Buddhist pagoda on the site.
Wat Phnom is 1 of the cities landmarks
and a popular gathering place for worship.
The Royal Palace and ‘Silver
Sothearos between Streets 240 & 184 Entrance fee $3.00 per person,
$2.00 for camera use, $5.00 for video cam use. Open everyday from
7.30 - 11.00 am and 2.30 - 5.00 pm.
The Palace and Silver Pagoda
are both within the same walled grounds on Sothearos
just off the riverside. The most prominent features from the street
are the high yellow wall and spired Chan Chaya Pavilion.
The Royal Palace was completed in 1866 under the
French protectorate and King Norodom. Many of the
buildings in the complex were built over the following decades.
The Silver Pagoda or Wat Preah Keo Morokat
is the capital’s most visited pagoda since it has an array
of priceless historical objects. It is named for
the over 5,000 silver tiles that cover the floor. The vihear serves
as a repository for the country's cultural treasures
such as the ‘Emerald Buddha’, numerous
Buddha statues, and a Royal Litter among other
objects. Adorning the walls of the pagoda are rarely seen turn of
the century paintings of the Ramayana epic.
In the small temple next to the vihear fortune
tellers ply their trade.