Scenically located on the banks of Tonlé Sa, Bassac and Mekong River, Phnom Penh is the capital as well as the largest city in Cambodia. The city was the national capital during the French Colonization of Cambodia and was formerly known as Panomping. Often tagged as ‘Pearl of Asia’, Phnom Penh today is the center of Cambodia’s political, cultural and industrial activities. The city is the wealthiest and most populous city in Cambodia with a population of 14.8 million. The city spread over 678.46 km2 of land and is located at an elevation of 11.89 meters above sea level. The official language of the city is Khmer but English and French is also widely spoken. While more than 90% of the people in Phnom Penh are Buddhists, Islam and Christianity are also practiced.
All the flights flying to Phnom Penh land at the Phnom Penh International airport which is the largest airports in the country and is located at distance of 10 km from the city center. The airport is currently served by 25 airlines that connect the airport to 20 destinations worldwide. Having a tropical wet and dry climate, the city of Phnom Penh remains hot for most of the year with only slight variations in the temperature. Temperatures typically range from 22 to 35 °C and tropical monsoon rains fall between May and October. The city remains dry from November to March. The humidity is at its maximum during September and October and tourists should generally avoid visiting during this month. The best months to visit the city are November to February when temperatures, humidity and rainfall are lowest. The 3 day long Cambodian New Year, Water Festival in November, Pchum Ben in October and Visak Bochea held in May are some of the major festivals which draws huge tourists from all over the world.
Your trip to Phnom Penh is incomplete without a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which is testimony to Penh's brutal and bloody history under the Khmer Rouge where 14,000 men, women and children were murdered and imprisoned here. A cruise on the Mekong River is one of the most delightful experience tourists can enjoy in the city. You can take a cruise to see the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and marvel at the floating villages to experience this unique way of life. A Chinese cemetery, the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek was turned into a mass graveyard during the reign of Khmer Rouge. An audio guide is available that tells first-hand accounts from survivors about life in Cambodia during this harrowing time. At the entrance, the tourists are greeted by a Buddhist stupa that is filled with over 8,000 human skulls.
The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are famous for their architectural splendor. National Museum is one of the most famous museums in the city housing various historical artifacts. Wat Prayuvong, Wat Phnom, Wat Lang Ka, Wat Ounalom, The pagodas of Cambodia’s Kandal province and Wat Kean Kleang are the famous pilgrim places in Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh's elephant ride on Sambo, Kambol Go-Karts, Backstreet Academy and Kun Khmer or Khmer kickboxing are some of the popular activities tourists can indulge in during their holiday in Phnom Penh.
Eating and Shopping
Popularly known as Khmer, the cuisine of Phnom Penh is made using fresh ingredients and is full of flavors that will make your tongue dance. Bai sach chrouk, Fish amok, Khmer red curry, Lap Khmer, Nom banh chok, Kdam chaa, Red tree ants with beef and holy basil, Ang dtray-meuk, Cha houy teuk, Fried fish on the fire lake and Kampot pepper crab are some of the delicacies which tourists should savour in Phnom Penh. A growing international city, multi cuisines options are available in Phnom Penh for those who do not wish to savor the eccentric food of the country. While there is no dearth of cafes, restaurants, bars and fine dining places in the city, the real treat will be eating at the street stalls which can be found everywhere in the city.
Offering a diverse range of options to the tourists, shopping is a delightful experience in Phnom Penh. The city has three main markets - Night Market, Olympic Market and Russian Market along with various small markets that are sporadically located across the city. Shopping malls and large departmental stores too are available for the picky shoppers. Large selection of souvenirs, curios, antiques, religious items, traditional Khmer dresses, .carvings, knick knacks, Buddha statues, handicrafts, silks, fabrics, souvenirs, DVDs and inexpensive electronic goods are available for the tourists at very reasonable price. Bargaining is recommended. Bliss, Chez Artisan, Friends n Stuff, Kashaya Silk, Kravan House, Le Lézard Bleu, Monument Books, Mulberry Boutique, Rehab Craft Cambodia and Sentosa Silk are some the of the famous shops in Phnom Penh, selling variety of things.
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