Perfectly situated at the confluence of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassak Rivers, Phnom Phen is not the prettiest of cities, but it exhibits unique character and flare. Cambodia’s capital, moved from Angkor in the 1430s, is a large Asian city with 2.2 million inhabitants in the metro area. Lonely Planet states, and I agree, that its hidden charms are best discovered at leisure.
Our main interests while here were visiting The Killing Fields (Choeung Ek) and The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (see post here). There are other attractions worth a visit, which we did not make it to:
- Wat Phnom– The founding place of Phnom Phen. The legend is that a woman named Phen fished a floating Koki tree out of the river in 1372, and in the tree were were four Buddha relics. She built a small phnom (hill) and temple at this location, hence the name of the city.
- Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo) and Royal Palace– This pagoda has a floor made up of 5000 silver tiles, a life-size gold Buddha decorated with thousands of diamonds, and bronze and emerald Buddhas.
- National Museum– The museum contains the worlds finest collection of Angkor-era sculptures and other priceless Khmer artwork.
Instead of squeezing in more site seeing, we spent some time exploring the city. After stopping for some local Khmer cuisine, we headed next door to get pedicures and foot massages. I believe the pedicures cost about $4 USD and the massage was $7 USD. Pretty cheap!
Our lovely masseuses had the greatest personalities. They made the experience that much more enjoyable, with their bright smiles and constant giggles. They weren’t so bad at their jobs either!
We call this one the plumber!
The one hour foot-leg massages were even toped off with a ten minute back massage and stretch.
After such a stressful day of food and foot rubs, we headed to the Foreign Correspondent’s Club (FCC) for some happy hour cocktails, enjoying sweeping views of the Mekong River.
It was nice to spend the day relaxing and enjoying the city at our own pace, especially after our intense experience at the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields.
Thanks for stopping by!