Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia since the French colonization, and, just like Ho Chi Minh City, today still bears some French heritage with existing local architecture and culture.
Wat Phnom is a Buddhist temple near the riverside and is the tallest religious building in Phnom Penh. It is also used as a marker, standing as the middle of the city – the temple itself is located within a big roundabout.
Not a very historical building, but opposite Wat Phnom stands the Electricité du Cambodge building. It’s interesting to note that French is used beside Khmer in the Cambodian government sector.
The Cambodia Post office in Phnom Penh.
Along the Tonle Sap River at Sisowath Quay, more commonly known as the riverside, even though the “riverside” runs the length of Phnom Penh and more.
Along Freedom Park, a linear park spanning almost 1.2km running the length from Sisowath Quay to the railway station. Part of it is closed for some construction near the railway station though, I’m not sure if the developments are related.
The Peace Palace or Palais du Paix, the Office of the Prime Minister of Cambodia.
The Office of the Council of Ministers beside the Peace Palace.
The Central Market, or Psah Thom Thmey.
Though it is rather touristy, the architecture is breathtaking when you stand in the middle of the market.
The market has four arms branching out in an X-shape from the central dome.
The Royal Palace Park along the Tonle Sap River.
That structure is not the palace itself though, but it is part of the palace compound. This is the Preah Thineang Chan Chhaya or Moonlight Pavilion, used for traditional Khmer dance performances.
There are plenty of pigeons here too. There are also some roadside vendors (read: children) you can buy some pigeon feed from. There are signs around the area as government advice not to purchase from them though, as it will give them the mindset that making money this way is better than getting a proper education.
The flags of ASEAN and the world along Sisowath Quay near the Royal Palace Park.
Local kids swimming in the Tonle Sap River.
Wat Ounalom along Sisowath Quay. It is the most important temple in Phnom Penh, consisting of 44 structures in the compound.
A fitness corner along Sisowath Quay.
The Sokha Phnom Penh Residence, standing at the confluence of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River.
Overall, Phnom Penh is a city where you can see poverty alongside the extreme rich, yet smiles can be seen on almost all the local’s faces. Yes, tourists do get ripped off in this city, but can you really blame them when the locals themselves don’t even really accept their own currency for payment among themselves? (USD is the primary currency used in Cambodia with local Riel used as representatives for USD cents.)
Phnom Penh may not be a city where I would specially make a trip to visit again, but if given an opportunity, I will be back to explore the darker side of tourism especially the Killing Fields and Cu Chi tunnels which I didn’t have time to visit during my trip.