Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Sisowath Quay 
Sisowath Quay (also known as the Riverside) is an attractive boulevard running along the banks of the Mekong and Tonle Sap. The quay is fronted by a large and long open space with manicured lawns, swaying  palm trees and open pathways, all recently re-done as part of a Japanese funded project to upgrade and improve the flood infrastructure along the river.
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The built-up side of the street is home to cafes, shops and better class bars. The stretch is popular with tourists and Western expats prepared to run its gauntlet of touts selling drugs, girls and tuk-tuk rides. The esplanade along the river is also popular with Cambodians, who come here in the cool of the evening to enjoy the quasi-carnival atmosphere. It begins at the riverfront park opposite the Royal Palace, and is perhaps best experienced in the early evening. Dawn at Sisowath Quay is also a busy time, with locals doing calisthenics in front of the Royal Palace and the sun rising over the river.

Sisowath Quay by Jpatokal

Wat Phnom
St 94 near Sisowath Quay. Admission: USD1.
Wat Phnom is a Buddhist temple located on a hill in the centre of a small park near Sisowath Quay. The name means "Hill Temple" and the temple itself is notable more for its historic importance, initially built in the 14th century and rebuilt several times in the 19th century. It is also the tallest religious structure in Phnom Penh. The park is a pleasant green space and a popular gathering place with the local residents. A few monkeys keep quarters there as well and will help themselves to any drinks you leave unattended.

Stairways at Wat Phnom by Bernd Nottelmann

Wat Botum
Oknha Suor Srun St 7.
Wat Botum is located about 3 km south of Wat Phnom, near the Royal Palace on the western side of Wat Botum Park. Historically the wat was favoured by royalty and several prominent Cambodians including politicians are buried here. 
In the 1930s it housed a young monk named Saloth Sar, who later in life changed his name to Pol Pot and became the leader of the treacherous Khmer Rouge.

French Architecture
Cambodia was acquired relatively late as a French colony compared to other colonies in French Indochina. Unlike Vietnam, it was generally neglected in terms of physical development by the French colonialist. Consequently there are not many colonial-era buildings, and those which remain are largely decayed. Notable exceptions however are the Grand Post Office Building, Central Market and Raffles Le Royal Hotel.

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Phnom Penh

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