The district of Duan Penh in Phnom Penh is perhaps the most well known and has the greatest amount of attractions for the visitor to Phnom Penh. Listed below is our guide to the must-see places in this popular end of town.
The National Museum
Many of the Kingdom’s most impressive works of art from the pre-Angkor and Angkor era are situated at the National Museum. One of most memorable pieces of art is the eight-armed statue of Vishnu dating from the 6th century. The National Museum’s collection gives a thorough insight into the skills of the craftspeople that lived in Cambodia throughout the centuries.
The museum’s collection is split into archaeological and ethnographic masterpieces, ranging from 6th to 13th-century sculpture, ceramics, royal barges and palanquins, in addition to dance costumes from the 19th century. In the central courtyard, visitors can relax by the still waters of the lotus ponds while admiring the original statue of the Leper King presumed to be Jayavarman VII from Angkor.
This museum is situated just north of the Royal Palace in Duan Penh, it is a distinctive rust colour with a traditional Cambodian roof and architecture.
The Independence Monument commemorates the end of French’s rule over Cambodia in 1953. It sits proudly as a Phnom Penh landmark on Sihanouk Boulevard between the Duan Penh and Chamkar Mon districts. The one hundred nagas and motifs are a symbol of the historic and cultural side of Cambodia. It is also used to commemorate the fallen soldiers who laid down their lives for their country’s freedom.
Most travellers to Phnom Penh and Duan Penh will probably find themselves on the Tonle Sap riverside at some point in their trip.
Phnom Penh’s Riverside or Sisowath Quay is certainly an attraction for all types of tourist and locals alike. With the wide promenade next to the river combined with the countless restaurants and bars offering prime rooftop views make it a magnet for all.
On the Riverside you can dine in a modern restaurant or eat from one of the local vendors next to the river. You can drink at a chic bar or have a $0.50 beer at one of the backpacker places, there really is something for everyone!
Over recent years, the Riverside has had several developments. The paving on the promenade has improved dramatically over the years and with the addition of the outdoor gym, it really is a great area of the city for recreation.
If you’ve had enough of working out then you can hit the night market on the Riverside for some shopping. It is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and sells a great selection of clothing, jewellery, souvenirs and food.
For the ultimate Riverside experience take a boat trip to appreciate a completely different view of the bustling strip. A little past the night market you will find a whole row of boats to hire relatively cheaply. Most boats can be rented with a captain for $20 an hour and can usually fit 10-15 people on board. The tour will take you right along the Riverside, into the convergence with the Mekong river and along the opposite bank belonging to Kandal province before returning you back to Phnom Penh.
Central Market was opened in 1937 and at the time it was the biggest market in the whole of Asia. Anybody who has visited Cambodia recently will know it is still a very vibrant market. Between 2009 and 2011, it was subject to a remarkable $4.2 million renovation project funded by the French Development Agency.
According to the original architectural plans, Central Market was started in August 1935 and was completed in June 1937. The beautiful Art Deco building has been a Phnom Penh landmark since its completion. The market was originally built on the site of an old lake that was drained for the project. The many entrances of the market are full of vendors selling souvenirs, t-shirts, jewellery and postcards.