We loved travelling around Phnom Penh and visiting the local sites. We spent much of our time in Phnom Penh wandering the streets and enjoying the sites.
These were my favourite monuments or places to go to see monuments, and the best thing, they are all within walking distance of each other. Or you can easily grab a tut-tut and ask them to take you on a tour of the sites, just make sure you agree on a price before you set off.
Independence Monument – This place was amazing, day or night, built in 1958 to commemorate independence from France. It is in the shape of a lotus and was modelled from the central tower in Angkor Wat. It is the centre of a massive roundabout, so just take care when crossing the road. We through the roundabout our first night, and lit up it looks amazing, we had to go back the next day for a better look.
Cambodian Friendship Monument – Our tut-tut driver pulled over to show us this one, otherwise I would have missed it. I like the idea of this monument. It was build in 1970 to honour the friendship between Cambodia and Vietnam. The actual statue is of a Cambodian and Vietnamese soldier and a woman with a child, which symbolises the Cambodian citizens. Our tut-tut driver was very proud of this monument, and what it meant to him.
Statue of King Father Norodom Sihanouk – Built in 2013, to honour the late King of Cambodia, King Sihanouk, achievements towards the countries independence. The 4.5 meter bronze statue housed in a stupa or shrine. Norodom Sihanouk was the King of Cambodia between 1941 – 1955 and 1993 – 2004. He passed away in 2012 and is still known affectionately as the father prince among the Cambodian people. You won’t be able to miss this, it’s just down the road from the Independence Monument, and is very impressive.
National Museum – Open between 0800 to 1700, a definite must if you haven’t been to Siem Reap. But if you have been and seen the ruins in all their glory, it’s hard to get excited by all the statues out of their natural environment. This is the largest museum of cultural history in Cambodia, and houses lots of religious artefacts, and can be very informative if you have the right guide. The courtyard and gardens in the middle are very well kept and lovely to wander through. The cost was USD$5 for admission, and an extra USD$5 with audio. There were lots of tour groups wandering around
Royal Palace – Open between 0800-1030 and 1400-1700. Built in 1866 this place was amazing, you could walk around the buildings and the gardens for ages, there was just so much to see. I loved the Silver Pagoda, named as such because of the silver floor tiles, and the Moonlight Pavilion, which can be seen from outside the walls, and is used for banquets and functions. The Throne Room was also impressive, it is the only building you can look inside, but they request you don’t take photos, and they have guards in place to ensure this doesn’t happen. There is also a lovely model of Angkor Wat inside the grounds.
Make sure you are suitably covered to enter the palace grounds, both ladies and gents must cover knees and elbows, and not just by a shawl over the shoulders of a singlet. Loose t-shirts and long shorts they were happy with. I have seen a lot of complaints from people saying they were turned away or made to buy alternative clothing to enter the grounds, we didn’t have this problem, but I did take one of my husbands t-shirts to wear over mine in case there were any issues.
Cost was USD$6 but is going up to USD$10 in January 2017. And if you want a guide they are usually about an extra USD$10 per group.