Indochina Map
Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh

Once the ‘Pearl of Asia’, Phnom Penh, sprawls west from the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. Phnom Penh can be an assault on the senses. Motorbikes whiz through the backstreets without a thought for pedestrians; pungent scents float up from stalls and markets; and all the while the sound of life, of commerce, of survival, reverberates all around. But this is all part of the attraction. It’s not just another metropolis, the identikit image of a modern capital; it is an older Asia that many dreamed of when first planning their adventures overseas.

The glimmering spires of the royal palace, the fluttering saffron of the monks’ robes, and the luscious location on the banks of the mighty Mekong; this is one of Asia’s undiscovered gems. The French influence is evident in the colonial shop-houses lining the boulevards, with the occasional majestic monument or public building animating the cityscape. The Phnom Penhois are open and friendly, and the city itself is small enough to get to know quickly. Tourist attractions may be few – the majority of sights can be covered in a day or two – but many visitors end up lingering, if only to soak up the unique indolent atmosphere of this neglected city.


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