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Around Phnom Penh

Around Phnom Penh

Tuol Sleng Museam

Known as S21 during the Khmer Rouge time, this former school was used as an interrogation

and torture center described by one local travel agent as "quite horrible and

not attractive but a tourist never regrets seeing it". A must if you want to

learn about Cambodia. There is no entrance fee but donations are welcome.

National Museum

Home to artifacts from the ancient Angkor empire and other examples of Cambodian

art. It also has a beautiful and tranquil garden. Entrance fee is $2 and another

$2 if you want to take photographs.

Royal Palace

Only available to view from the outside. Home to King Sihanouk. However, it is possible

to visit the Silver Pagoda, which is in a separate compound from the palace, by negotiating

with the guards and paying $2. Entrance is through the Palace gate opposite the Renakse

Hotel.

Wat Phnom

Sundays are the best days to visit when locals promenade in their best clothes. Visitors

are recommended to cover up as much as possible. Look out for the flashing lights

inside the Wat.

Independence Monument

Built in 1953 to celebrate the ending of French rule. The surrounding gardens are

lively day and night and popular for wedding photographs.

Tonle Sap

This is the main river through the city which merges with the Mekong River and divides

again into the Bassac River. The most-lively spot is in front of the Royal Palace

where cool breezes and glowing sunsets make it a popular family hang-out. Sundays

are particularly busy. You can rent boats on the riverside near the port for $10

an hour or $70 a day.

Boeng Kak Lake

The lake north of the city has some nice restaurants and offers a wonderful place

to relax.

Olympic Stadium

Hundreds of locals study martial arts at sunset, making a delightful spectacle. Free

entrance.

Theaters

English-language cinema, Monivong Blvd., near Sivutha Blvd. $3. Chenla and Tonle

Bassac Theaters. Check for events.

Swimming Pools

Costs $5 per day at the Cambodiana Hotel and $10 at the International Youth Center.

Posing

Along Issarak Blvd. there is a small and, as yet, uncleared minefield just past the

Russian market on the right-hand side. Have your photograph taken by one of the signs.

Outside Phnom Penh

Choeung Ek ("The Killing Fields") A 15 km drive SW. The Capitol Hotel has

cars, charging $4 for one person and $5 for two. The center piece is a glass monument

filled with skulls. A quiet, moving place. No entrance fee but donations welcome.

Koki Beach

16 km south-east. Boats and ferries can be found along Phnom Penh's river-front or

take a moto-taxi on Route One.

Tonle Bati

35 km South. The lake and temple from the Angkorian times are popular with weekend

picnickers. Travel by car or moto on Route Two. It can be hard to find.

Phnom Cisoth

10 km from Tonle Bati. An old house of an Angkorian king. People climb the hill on

Sundays to make donations to the monks on top. The fortune-tellers only speak Khmer.

Khieng Svay

20 km East on road to Vietnam. Big pagoda, not old but nice. Locals eat by the Mekong

and swim.

Mekong Island

One hour by boat on the Mekong. Famous for silk production with occasional traditional

dancing. Good food stalls.

Oudong

40 km on road to Kompong Thom. The old capitol of Cambodia, the center-piece is a

heavily-shelled temple. There are restaurants. Locals visit Sundays to give donations.

Nice Lake

Again popular on Sundays, the lake on the road to Kompong Speu offers good swimming

during the dry season and is little-used. An ideal place for picnics.

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