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Phnom Penh History
The magic of the Angkor temples and the many prasats around the country can easily overshadow all else. But given a closer look. Phnom Penh has so much to offer visitors.
 
Truly a cosmopolitan right where four rivers converge, Phnom Penh shows off a mix of French as well as Chinese influence with distinctively Khmer characteristics. Restored French colonial homes, grand boulevards lined with giant trees, Chinese merchant houses along the river banks are reminiscent of a time gone by.
 
Phnom Penh residents rise early and at the break of dawn, the streets come alive with the multitude of sounds from thousands of cyclos, motorcycles and cars as street vendors busy themselves preparing and selling their goods. One can also heart roosters crowing!
 
Must-see in Phnom Penh is the only Royal Palace and its Silver Pagoda, the National Museum, Wat Phnom, the Independence Monument, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Field, just outside the capital. For those who love shopping, there are several markets that offer handicrafts, silk, silver ware, wood carving, precious stones from the country’s famous mines, as well as antique furniture and painting by local artists.
 
Just a short drive away, visitors can experience vast open rice fields where farmers are more then happy to demonstrate techniques for planting and harvesting, unique to Cambodia. Short day trips are also recommended to the ancient hilltop Prasat of Udong, Prasat Phnom Chisor, and the Prasat Tonle Bati.
 
Also, within easy reach is the newly opened Phnom Tamao Zoo where some 500 animals and birds from species (many endangered) await you. Above, a horse-drawn cab on the old Treasury Bridge in front of Wat Phnom in 1920. Below, Wat Phnom today.
 
 
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