PHNOM PENH CAPITAL
Located just north of the Royal Palace, the National Museum was recently rested to its former glory as one of the finest examples of Khmer architecture. On display there are more than 5,000 artifacts and objects of 'art from the 6th to the 13th centuries. They include sandstone sculptures, royal barges, palanquins and silk, intricately woven with silver and gold threads. There are also rare religious objects in gold, silver and bronze
The Independence Monument commemorates the 1953 end of French rule over Cambodia. Designed by a Cambodian architect, the Naga (a mythical bird symbolizing strength and benevolence) motif of the monument is a symbol f the country's htmlirations. The Naga also adorns most important buildings in the country, including the Olympic Stadium and the Chatomuk Hall, which marks the convergence of four main river: the upper and lower Mekong, the Tonle Sap and the Bassac.
Legend has it that after a major flood a wealthy Khmer widower named Daun Penh found a large tree on the bank of the Tonle Sap with four ancient statues of Buddha hidden inside. In 1434 she decided to erect a large hill and build a temple to house sacred relics. Today, Wat Phnom remains the highest artificial hill in Phnom Penh and the center of many forms of religious activities.
Over the years, Wat Phnom has had numerous add-ons to the initial shrine that dwelt within the compound of this wonderful sanctuary. The most significant of which is the massive stupa that enshrines the ashes of King Ponhea Yat who in 1434, arrived and built the city of Phnom Penh. Wat Phnom has become a central attraction in the city and is a ‘must visit’ when in Phnom Penh.
Wat Phnom Stair Yeay Penh Statue Wat Phnom Clock
Built in 1866 by His Majesty Preah Bat Norodom, the Royal Palace is now home to his Majesty Preah Bat Nodom Shihanouk and Her majesty Preah Reach Akka-Mohesey Norodom. Most of the buildings inside the palace are closed to the public, except for special occasions. Also within the palace walls is the Silver Pagoda, which draws its name from the 5,000 silver tiles that pave its floor. Inside the pagoda there are hundreds of gifts to Cambodian king, including a solid-gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds weighing 90 kilograms. For those who love shopping, there are several markets that offer handicraft, silk, silver ware, wood carving, precious stones from the country's famous mines, as well as antique furniture and paintings by local artists.
Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21)
(Corner of street 113 & Street 350 - $2.00 - Open everyday, including holidays, 8AM-5PM - Closed for lunch) Prior to 1975, Toul Sleng was a high school. When the Khmer Rouge came to power it was converted into the S-21 prison and interrogation facility. Inmates were systematically tortured to extract confessions, after which they were executed at the killing fields of Choeung Ek. S-21 processed over 17,000 people, less than a dozen of whom survived. The building now serves as a museum, a memorial and a testament to the madness of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Choeung Ek Memorial (The Killing Fields)
(15 km southwest of Phnom Penh) Many of the Cambodians who perished under the Khmer Rouge regime ended up in various 'killing fields' that can be found scattered across the country. The killing fields were essentially ad hoc places of execution and dumping grounds for dead bodies during the Khmer Rouge regime. The memorial at Choeung Ek just outside Phnom Penh was an orchard and a Chinese cemetery prior to 1975. During the Khmer Rouge regime it became one of the in framous killing fields. This particular killing field is the site of the brutal executions of more than 17,000 men, women and children, most of whom first suffered through interrogation, torture and deprivation in the S-21 Prison (Toul Sleng) in Phnom Penh. Choeung Ek is now a group of mass graves, killing areas and a memorial stupa contraining thousands of skulls and long bones. Guided tours are available. For sake of historical context, combine your trip to Choeung Ek with a visit to Toul Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh.
SIEM REAP Province
The Majestic temples of Angkor in northwest Cambodia belong to the classic period of Khmer art and civilization. Today, a millennium after they were built, they awe visits with their perfection and enmity. The temples are the creation of a succession of dominated most of Khmer Kings who presided over an empire that dominated most of present-day Southeast Asia from 800 to 1430, reaching its peak in the 12th century. The period began with the ascension to the throne by King Jayavarman II.
Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the world, with a volume of stone equaling that of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. It is unlike all other Khmer temples in that it faces west, and it is inspired by 12th century Hinduism. Conceived by Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat took several decades to build. Intricate base relief surround Angkor Wat on four sides. Each tells a style. The way the light glows on the ancient stones makes sunrise and sunset
the best time to wander through Angkor Wat's 2 square kilometers, climb its tower.
The ancient walled city of Angkor Thom, literally "Great City, "built in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII, contains the famous Bayon temple with its more than 200 enormous mysterious smiling faces. It also contains the 300 meter-long Elephant terrace with its large sculptured royal elephants and Garudas, the mythical guard half-man, half-bird. Also within the walled area is the terrace of the Leper King. A sandstone replica of the Leper King is here.
Banteay Srei TEMPLE
This is the fabled pink temple of women, so called because it is made of pink sandstone & considered a tribute to the beauty of women. Its small size, delicate carving and remarkable state of preservation make Banteay Srei one of travelers' favorite temples. Its Apsara, male and female divinities represent the most skilled craftsman ship of sandstone carvings. It was dedicated in 987, making it one of the oldest temples in the region, though it was not rediscovered until the 1900s.
The Kulen Mountain or Phnom Kulen is declared as a National Park. It is an isolated mountain massif located in Svay Leu District and some 48km from Siem Reap. Its highest point is 487 meters.
This is widely regarded as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire. During the constructional period of the ancient temples in the nineth century, sand stones were brought from this sacred mountain to Angkor. It was here at Phnom Kulen that King Jayavarman II proclaimed independence from Java in 802 A.D.
The original “ River of a Thousand Lingams ”, Kbal Spean is an intricately carved riverbed deep in the foothills the Cambodian jungle. Lingams are phallic representations sacred to Hinduism as symbols of fertility, and hundreds of them are carved into the rock here, as are several carvings of Gods and animals above the small waterfall. The area was only rediscovered in 1969 when French researcher Jean Boulbet was shown the carvings by a local hermit. Kbal Spean lies 50Km northeast of Siem Reap 18Km from
Banteay Srei on a dirt road. It takes from 1-2 hours to get there from Siem Reap.
Phnom Krom - Tonle Sap Lake
Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, is itself a natural wonder.This great lake exists as an ecological anomaly. In early June, at the start of the rainy season, the water level of the Mekong River rises to divert part of its flow off its course to the South China Sea and redirect it into the Tonle Sap. This forces the current to reverse direction, beginning a process that by the end of October will see the great lake increasing its size almost tenfold, making it the largest freshwater body in Southeast Asia.
The Tonle Sap Lake, fed by the mighty Mekong and the Tonle Sap Rivers, is a vast expanse of water that forms the most significant topographical feature in Cambodia. This ‘Great Lake’ represents a people’s identity and way of life for the thousands of Cambodians who live on the lake and are dependent on the Tonle Sap and its ebbs and flows to maintain life.
There is a whole community here; besides homes, there is a school, police post, fire station, church and a few restaurants as well. This self-sufficient community of the great lake, known commonly as the floating village of Cambodia, draws crowds daily to observe life and to share their time in this wonderful neighborhood of the great Tonle Sap Lake.
Tonle Bati (MINI ANGKOR)
Tonle Bati is the home to two twelfth century temples Taprohm and Prasat Yeay Pov built close to Bati Lake. Tonle Bati is a very beautiful lake, it is popular with the locals for its breezy and tranquil atmosphere. It is 42km south of Phnom Penh, takes about 1 hour by car. We will have lunch at Tonle Bati before continuing our tour to Phnom Chiso.
Kampong Thom Province
Kampong Thom is a small town located 162 Km, noth of Phnom Penh Capital along National Road No 6 to Siem Reap-Angkor. Kampong Thom is one of the five Province surrounding Tonle Sap Lake. It is the base of important archaeological site of Sambor Prei Kuk, the ancient capital of Chenla, is located close to Stoeung Sen River, 35Km northeast of Kampong Thom town. More than one hundred temples were built in 7th century.
Banlung is the provincial capital of Rattanakiri province, situated 636 Km northeast of Phnom Penh, and the best base from which to explore the natural attractions to the area. There are many picturesque sites to see in this province, which is remote, primitive and beautiful. Yak Lom Lake is 3 Km from Banlung. This is small but scenic crater lake of an extinct volcano with fest growing down to the lake she. The lake offers opportunities for picnicking, hiking and swimming. You can also ask around town about
arranging an elephant ride in one of the surrounding villages. There are numerous waterfalls in province. The three most commonly visited are Cha Ong, Ka Tieng and Kinchan.
Preah Vihear Province
The important temple complex of Preah Vihear, built on a crest of Dang Rek Mountains at an altitude of 730m, dated from the reign of Suryavarman II (ruled 1002-49). This is probably the most dramatic location of any temple in Cambodia. The main drawback is that it is almost inaccessible from Cambodia unless you have the funds to charter a helicopter or willing to spend a few tough days getting there.
Koh Kong Province
Koh Kong is located in the southwest Cambodia, 277 km from Phnom Penh. 70 percent of Koh Kong province consists of mountains, and 20 percent of this is a coast line with 273 km length and 20 islands. There are many attractions is Koh Kong, white sand beach, islands, rain forest, waterfalls, mangrove habitat, and fishing.
Oudong served as the country’s capital under several monarchs from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Royal ruins stand upon a hillock offering panoramic views of the countryside. It is situated about 40km north of Phnom Penh.
Koh Kong Province - 4 Rivers Eco-Lodge
Only accessible by boat, 4 Rivers Eco-Lodge is a boutique environmental friendly resort for the discerning traveler at the foot of the majestic Cardamon Mountains. This 3+star boutique resort has 18 luxurious and extra large Safari-like tents with panoramic views of the Tatai River and its surroundings and the spacious interiors are equipped with modern conveniences.
The resort also features a gourmet restaurant, a large swimming pool, gym & beauty therapy. Activities such as kayaking and nature walks to the nearby Tatai waterfall and mangrove forests or deeper into the Cardamon Mountains will surely satisfy the nature lovers.