Inside Vietnam: Cambodia Laos

Historical sites of Phnom Penh

The capital of modern Cambodia is developing at a fast pace, but beneath the surface is an insight to the darker history of the country.

Phnom Penh is modernising at a fast pace, and its scenic location on the mighty Mekong River, welcoming people, lively café culture and world-class food mean that it lives up to its new self-designation as 'the charming city'.

But beneath the bustle of everyday life lie many layers of history, from the ancient Khmer Empire to the more recent French colonial era and the Khmer Rouge. As you explore the city today you'll see remnants of all these periods, from the French-style buildings that once earned Phnom Penh the moniker 'Pearl of the Orient' to the Silver Pagoda at King Sihamoni's Royal Palace, constructed over a century ago. The National Museum, meanwhile, offers an insight into more ancient times with its relics of the Khmer Empire - the civilisation responsible for building the temples of Angkor.

To truly understand Cambodia today, however, you must take stock of more recent history and the atrocities perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge under the dictator Pol Pot. The sobering Tuol Sleng Museum, formerly Cambodia's most notorious wartime prison, and the Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge executed their victims, serve as fascinating monuments to the period, and will be included in the tour this afternoon.

Historical sites of Phnom Penh

located in Phnom Penh

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Interested in this Experience? It is included in this tour:

  • Explore Cambodia's wealth of cultural and scenic heritage on our comprehensive Grand Cambodia itinerary.

    Karma Cambodia

    Beyond the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor lies a beautiful and little-explored country with stunning countryside and a rich and varied cultural heritage. On this itinerary you'll head out in search of the real Cambodia, from the Cardamom Mountains to the coast and everything in between.

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    Explore Cambodia's wealth of cultural and scenic heritage on our comprehensive Grand Cambodia itinerary.

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