THE ROYAL PALACE
The official residence of the current king, the Royal Palace is a royal compound with classic Khmer architectural features and towering spires, gilded halls and elegant golden nagas.
Wrapped in a charming terracotta traditional building, the museum is home to ancient Khmer art, including stone sculptures, artifacts and statuary.
The name is a symbol of Phnom Penh. Wat Phnom is set atop a 27-meter-high tree-covered hill at the northeastern side of the city.
Once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh is home to the country’s cultural, economic and political activity. Rosewood Phnom Penh is located in the heart of the central business district of this colorful and dynamic city, connecting guests to the vibrancy of Phnom Penh. It is the ideal location to explore the capital’s historic sights, including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, National Museum, Central Market and Independence Monument.
November to February in the dry season is the best time to visit. Average temperatures drop to a cooler 24-26 °C (75.2 to 78.8 ºF) compared with the 35 °C (95 ºF) average of the hottest months from March to June.
The National Museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of Khmer art in the world that includes artifacts spanning prehistoric times to the well-known Khmer Empire that stretched across present-day Thailand, Cambodia and southern Vietnam. The building itself is a beautiful architectural element in its own right with its large airy hallways looking into a courtyard of fountains. It was designed by a French gentleman, whose statue sits on the grounds as homage and is believed to have used and interpreted ancient bas-reliefs to create a style that is today known as traditional Khmer architecture. On display are ceramics, bronzes, sculptures and ethnographic objects along with an area with short films on Cambodia on display. Years of political upheaval landed some of the country’s precious remaining artifacts in the black market and were just recently returned and now on display.
Street 178 became known as “Art Street” since many local sculptors and painters created their work on this road after the war. Today, many local sculpture shops and art galleries line this street, which is near the National Museum and the Royal University of Fine Arts.
Named after a young Cambodian woman murdered by the Khmer Rouge, the Bophana Center is dedicated to restoring, protecting and enhancing the Cambodian audiovisual heritage. Founded by international-award-winning film director Rithy Phan, the Bophana Center organizes free screenings of classic Cambodia and foreign independent films on a weekly basis.
A small alleyway just off of St.308 is a group of diversely themed micro bars. Although small in size, each bar has its own unique offering, like Hangar 44, with its of-the-moment custom-built motorcycles on display, serving up a delicious spin on the margarita, appropriately labeled the “Hangerita.” The open plan alleyway allows one to float freely, drinks in hand, from one bar to the next, creating a convivial, cozy atmosphere.
Foreign Correspondent’s Club (FCC)
The Foreign Correspondent’s Club, housed in a beautiful three-story colonial building along the riverfront, is steeped in the history and legend of adventurers who dared travel before the days of tourism, and came here to exchange ideas and stories of their experiences. Today, the allure of that by-gone era of mystery is no more but the FCC serves as a great place to unwind from the day while enjoying a bird’s eye view of the animated riverfront area with a cold beer.
Cambodia is one of the fastest growing beer markets in Southeast Asia. The craft beer movement adds a distinctive taste to Phnom Penh’s bar culture for those who prefer a more individual style beer. Hops Brewery and Craft Beer Garden is unique in Cambodia for its 100 percent German imported ingredients and beer produced to German brewing standards, while the on-tap beers at Cerevisia Craft Brewhouse are also not to be missed.
Black Bambu is a partnership between some of Cambodia’s top restaurateurs and the children’s charity The Cambodian Children's Fund, serving tapas-style food and well-crafted cocktails.
Address: 29 St. 228 (corner of street 55)
Lunch: 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Dinner: 5:30 to 11 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
Phone: +855 23 966 895
Walk on the wild side at Romdeng which is well-known for traditional Cambodian dishes from the provinces, such as deep-fried tarantulas and tree ants stir-fried with beef. Managed by the NGO Mith Samlanh (Friends), its staff members are former street youth in training.
Address: 74 St. 174
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Phone: +855 92 219 565
Established by two sisters, one who moved back to Cambodia after living in Southern France, Kravanh is highly regarded for its quality and freshly prepared Cambodian food at good value.
Address: 112 Samdach Sothearos Blvd.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Phone: +855 12 539 977
One of Phnom Penh’s longest-running restaurants, Khmer Surin has been serving Khmer and Thai food since 1996. It is set in a traditional Khmer-styled building surrounded with carved timber and pots filled with fresh lotuses.
Address: 9 St. 57, Phnom Penh
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Phone: +855 12 887 320
The Royal Palace
Built in 1860 when King Norodom relocated the capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh, the Royal compound, consisting of four smaller areas that include the Royal Palace and Silver pagoda compounds, still serves as the royal residence with certain areas open to the public for view. Reflecting both Khmer and French architecture with also some surprising Italian elements, some highlights include the Throne hall, still used today for religious and royal ceremonies.
The pagoda is also known as the Emerald Buddha. Its floor is covered with more than 5,300 silver tiles. The Silver Pagoda is home to the life-sized gold Buddha, which weighs 90 kilograms, and the Emerald Buddha, which is made of Baccarat crystal.
Wat Phnom, steeped in legend and lore, is the symbolic namesake of the city of Phnom Penh as it is known today. In the late 14th century, when the capital was still at Angkor in Siem Reap, an old woman named Duan Penh, living in what would be the future Phnom Penh, is said to have found four buddha statues inside a sacred tree floating down the river. Taking the discovery as an omen, Duan Penh raised a small hill near the bank of the river on which a shrine was built to house the statues. Today, Wat Phnom is a small, contained, well-kept park dotted by numerous statues, stupas and paintings, in and outside the religious structures that mark various important events in Phnom Penh’s history. Local people still go to pray for good luck and they say the sacred grounds are especially good at answering the wishes of women.
About 40 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh, a mountain topped with the spires of stupas rears from the plain like a fairy-tale castle. Phnom Oudong comprises a row of stupas and shrines in a variety of conditions that can be thoroughly explored at a comfortable pace. Guests can climb the 509 steps to the top of Phnom Oudong to witness the majestic views of the Cambodian countryside, dotted with innumerable sugar palm trees. Best done in the late afternoon for a beautiful sunset moment.
Jazz Club Phnom Penh
The Jazz Club Phnom Penh features an open jazz jam session every Tuesday, which invites artists to come play at the club, with complimentary drinks for musicians. Wednesday, meanwhile, will be Khmer Music Nights. The rest of the week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday – will feature top quality jazz performances.
Vattanac Capital Mall
On the doorstep of Rosewood Phnom Penh and host to world-class luxury brands such as Hugo Boss, Brioni, Rimowa and Ferragamo.
Le Lézard Bleu
Khmer-French boutique, gallery and shop with a focus on home décor inspired by Cambodian culture and made by local artisans.
The market may seem rough around the edges at first, but there is something for everyone here and uncovering hidden treasures will require spending time scratching beneath the surface. Among the many market highlights are stall #807, which sells reproductions of old Khmer vintage posters, and stall #303, which sells authentic bronze and brass antiques. Bargaining is a sport, so embrace it.
An Angkorian-style temple from the 11th century, known equally for its well-preserved state as well as the beautiful views it offers from atop the hill on which it sits. Located 60 kilometers south of Phnom Penh in Takeo province, the historical site is a witness of the architectural legacy of the vast and powerful Angkorian civilization.
Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center
Phnom Tamao is a wildlife sanctuary that rehabilitates and provides permanent homes to animals otherwise unable to be reintroduced to the wild. Run by NGO Wildlife Alliance, the reserve allows visitors for an up-close interaction, opportunity to feed the elephants and a visit to the nursery.
Koh Dach, nicknamed Silk Island for its community of silk weavers, is a short trip across the river from the city and can be accessed by bicycle, car, ferry or private boat. The island is famous for its silk trade, and locals are often happy to show their work at their homes and sell their homemade scarfs.
Located along Sisowath Quay, Chaktomuk Theatre was originally opened in 1961 as La Salle de Conference Chaktomuk. It is mainly used now for performances as well as business conferences.
This is one of Phnom Penh’s architectural landmarks and well worth the visit.