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Phnom Penh

Introduction
Phnom Penh is a surprisingly large city, and each of its quarters has a remarkably different character. Around the central market in the center traffic is hectic and the atmosphere buzzes with new-found commercial zeal. Around the so-called embassy district, refurbished colonial villas house diplomatic missions and private homes with large gardens. Currently, besides the two locally well known malls, Sorya and Sovanna, more shopping centers and sky scrappers are being created all of which are the sign of modernization. The most attractive part of the city is the long riverfront containing bars and restaurants where visitors and locals gather to watch the sunset.

Places of interest

Apsara Arts Association
The Apsara Arts Association was established in 1998 with the goal of developing the Khmer culture. A private organisation run by a professional Khmer dance teacher and funded by overseas donors, the Association offers free instruction in Khmer classical and folkloric dance and music to children aged 6 and over, with a focus on underprivileged children and orphans.

Central Market
Originally built in 1935, the market was designed by French architects. At the time it opened was said to be the biggest market in Asia and it is famous for its unique style as well as the place where local people can find their every daily needs. Likewise, visitors can also find many other souvenirs made from silk, silver, gold, precious stones etc from the here.

Cheung Ek Killing Field
Cheung Ek is situated approximately 15 kilometers south-west of Phnom Penh, and about 30 minutes drives. This area is a place where more than 17,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves; many of whom were transported here after detention and torture in Toul Sleng. There are 86 tombs with 8,785 death bodies including men, women and children who were unearthed after the liberation of the Khmers Rouges. Some of those skulls, bones and pieces of clothing are now kept in the nearby massive stupa which houses 8000 skulls exhumed from mass graves.

National Museum
Located near the Royal Palace, Cambodia's National Museum offers a charming setting for a stunning collection of ancient Khmer art. The sculptures date from both the Angkorean and pre-Angkorean eras. These exhibits are complemented by more recent examples of Cambodian art. The museum is housed in a terra-cotta-roofed structure of traditional Cambodian design, built between 1917 and 1920. Apart from artistic treasures, the building is also home to a large colony of Cambodian free-tail bats. The colony has lived in the building's rafters for years and is believed to be the largest group of bats living in a man-made structure anywhere in the world.

Royal Palace
Situated on the site of the former Citadel, the Royal Palace was built by King Norodom in 1866 on the banks of the Mekong River. Inside its gleaming yellow walls are the Throne Hall; the Chan Chaya Pavilion, specially made for performances of classical Cambodian dance, the Napoleon III Pavilion offered to King Norodom by Queen Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, and the King and Queen's residential quarters. Nowadays, only the Silver Pagoda can be visited.
Russian Market (Tuol Tumpoung Market)
Russian Market in the south of the city, on the corner of Streets 155 and 444 is a maze of narrow, dark alleyways crammed with stalls holding a vast selection of bargain souvenirs including clothing, silverware, silk, bags, DVDs, CDs and ceramics. Today this market is famous for its unique style of souvenirs that made from clothes, silk and you can also find a huge stock of CD world of music, and even the hollywood stories.

Sovann Phum Art Association & Art Gallery
Sovanna Phum (Golden era) is an independent Khmer art association in Phnom Penh. Started in 1994, the association was created in order to give Khmer artists the opportunity to perform their art and to make a living and aim to revive, preserve and promote the treasures of Khmer culture to local and international audiences. Furthermore, there are a lot of performances such Khmer 2Classical & Folk Dances, Initiation of Art, Hanuman and Giant Drum, and many more.

Silver Pagoda
Also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha it is located in the compound of the Royal Palace. The floor is constructed of 5,000 silver tiles and at the pagoda’s center there is a magnificent 17th-century emerald Buddha statue made of baccarat crystal. The walls enclosing the pagoda are covered with frescoes depicting episodes from the Khmer version of the Ramayana.
Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21)
Prior to 1975, Toul Sleng was a high school. When the Khmer Rouge came to power it was converted into the S-21 prison and interrogation facility. Inmates were systematically tortured and executed in the killing fields of Choeung Ek. S-21 processed over 17,000 people, seven of whom survived. The building now serves as a museum, a memorial and a testament to the madness of the Khmer Rouge regime. Much has been left in the state it was when the Khmer Rouge abandoned it in January 1979. The prison kept extensive records, leaving thousands of photos of their victims, many of which are on display. Paintings of torture at the prison by Vann Nath, a survivor of Toul Sleng, are also on display.

Wat Phnom
According to local history Wat Phnom was founded in 1372 when a Lady Penh discovered four Buddha statues. She decided to create the hill (phnom) on the site and atop the hill she created a small temple (wat) to house the statues. Eventually the area became known as Phnom Penh in recognition of Lady Penh and the hill. The current temple contains the remains of King Ponhea Vat (1405-1467) who was responsible for relocating the capital from Angkor to Phnom Penh in 1422.
The hill today is a busy site as the temple is active and draws lots of local people. You can take an elephant ride there. Entrance to Wat Phnom is US$1.

Koh Dach
Koh Dach is one of the biggest Mekong islands in Cambodia that many islanders are the Vegetation farmer and silk maker. It is about 24 km from Phnom Penh city. Visitor can travel by boat or car to reach the island which takes around 2 hours by boat on the upper stream of Mekong river. This island is an interesting place to visit because visitors are not only view the Mekong natural resources but also test the healthy food, fruits which grown there. Likewise, visitors will also have a chance to discover a traditional silk weaving village on this Mekong Island, the local daily life scenes or the rural livelihood. Koh Dach is also famous in handicraft in Cambodia.

Oudong
King Soryopor founded the former Cambodian capital of Oudong in 1601. Strategically built 40 km north of Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge established positions at Oudong during its final offensive in 1974-75. Heavy bombing severely damaged the area but ruins remain of the canals, bridges, terraces and pagodas built at Oudong by King Anh Duong (1841-1850). It remains a pilgrimage site for those who come to pay homage to the legacy of Cambodia's kings.

Phnom Chisor
Phnom Chisor temple was built during the 11th century and features carved lintels of sandstone, wood carvings and Buddha statues. A two and a half meter wall that served as a line of defense rings the entire complex. Phnom Chisor stands on a hilltop 55 km from Phnom Penh.

Tonle Bati
Tonle Bati is home to Ta Prohm temple, built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. This Buddhist temple is renowned for its refined Bas reliefs. Nearby is Yeay Peau temple, which features remarkable wood carvings. Tonle Bat Lake has a beach and food stalls where local residents come to relax at weekends.