Cambodia is a nation rich with history and ripe with beauty. Phnom Penh offers travelers an ideal starting point to experience the best of both.
Day One: Remember the Regime
Although things have changed dramatically since the notorious Khmer Rouge ran the country, remnants of the nation’s horrific past are still evident in Phnom Penh. Visit the National Museum to explore one of the largest collections of Khmer art in the world. Travel to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to learn about the horrific genocide that took place under Pol Pot. Some 17,000 Cambodians were killed at this former high school. Afterwards, journey15 kilometers from the city center to Choeung Ek Killing Field. Human remains still rise to the surface of this mass grave when heavy rains fall.
Day Two: Tour the Town
Rent a bike and cycle through city streets. Spend the morning biking along the Mekong River and stop in a nearby café to sample the country’s strong coffee and traditional French Baguettes. Then take the leisurely 18-kilometer ride to the Silk Islands. Easy dirt paths wind through traditional villages and fishing towns. Spend the afternoon breaking at pagodas and touring silk factories before returning to the city for a stroll along Sisowath Quay for a cold beer at one of the local pubs.
Day Three: Pagodas and Packages
Spend a final day in Phnom Penh exploring the wats and shopping the city has become famous for. Start the morning at Wat Ounalom, perhaps the most important pagoda in the city. Venture to the Royal Palace, where the current king actually resides. Finally, head to the Central Market to purchase local crafts and fine silk. Then sample traditional foods from the hundreds of vendors that line the stalls of this popular shopping destination.