So if you are travelling to Phnom Penh and looking out for some of the main places of interest, these are the few I have personally visited and would recommend. Understand that all there are entrance fees for all the tourism attractions, and payments are either made in USD or KHR, exchange as of now is abt USD1 = KHR4100.
Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are located in the same premise. To be exact, the Silver Pagoda is inside the Royal Palace premise. So paying US$6.50 per person is actually to visit both place, quite worth it. But do take note of the visiting time, 7.30-11am & 2-5pm.
The main Royal Palace building from the side view. As you can see on the left, some restoration works are in place to ensure the various buildings are properly maintained for the long haul.
Moving toward the left side of the Palace, you will go through a small gate and into the Silver Pagoda area.
On the left is a building turned museum which houses a collection of priceless Buddhist and historical objects. Sorry, no photography inside the museum. On the right is the famous Silver Pagoda which is not open for visit, just photography.
I thought the place would be swarmed by monks but quite surprisingly only managed to see one of them, quietly standing in front of a wall of pictures, seemingly mediating on the deeper meanings behind the pictures.
Met a few resident monkeys though.
Thought I would be able to capture the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” photo.
Coming back into the main Palace grounds, you will be surprised that you can’t hear the street sounds because it is all silenced by the high walls all around the grounds.
When we were there, it seems like there was an official function going on in the Royal Palace, we can see the fully dressed ceremonial guards on duty, waiting for the distinguished guests.
The Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Memorial) is about 45-60mins away from the main city area, so before you head to the place, I would recommend you to have your lunch first.
My recommendation would be Le Jardin, especially if you are bringing kids like us. The restaurant offers one of the best ice-cream in Phnom Penh and also a nice playground to entertain the children.
Once you had your nice lunch, take a Tuk Tuk to the Killing Fields, it will be for US$20 for a to-and-fro trip, 15km southwest of Phnom Penh.
The entrance fee is US$6 per pax, which includes a personal headset that explains the various points of historical facts and events. Trust me, you need to get the headset to fully appreciate the walk.
The first building you see when you stepped in is the memorial which is not very suitable for kids, because of the numerous skulls that were housed inside.
Sign boards like this are situated at various points for reading and understanding what used to stand in its place and purpose.
Mass graves containing more than 8,000 bodies were discovered at Choeung Ek.
There was one particular place that brought tears to many including myself when you hear about the story behind the scene.
On the left is the Killing Tree where the executioners in the past would smash young children and infants against the tree to kill them and dumped immediately into the mass grave on the left.
Take your time to slowly walk through the entire field or sit down on the benches provided and spare a few moments listening to the real life testimonies of the mass killing survivors.
Hate to end off on a sad note, but truly it’s such visit that make Phnom Penh a worth it trip.