- Visit Angkor Thom, "the great city" in Khmer. This 12th-century royal Buddhist city is especially famed for its grand Bayon Temple, but has several other sights of interest as well.
- Visit Angkor Wat, the great complexes of ancient Angkor temples in Cambodia, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements.
- Visiting the the Royal Palace - The erection which was built in architecturally incongruous Napoleon III pavillion style, shipped and reassembled in Cambodia as a gift of the French Empress Eugenie in the early 20th century.
- Visiting Wat Phnom - The sacred Buddhist pagoda prominently sat on a small hill in Phnom Penh. The Wat Phnom has been a central site in the city as religious sanctuary for prayers and offerings since 1373.
- Visiting Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a high school used as a torture facility under the Khmer Rouge. The building now serves as a museum and a memorial.
Angkor Thom, located in present day Cambodia, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by King Jayavarman VII. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors. At the centre of the city is Jayavarman's state temple, the Bayon, with the other major sites clustered around the Victory Square immediately to the north.
The world's largest religious structure, Angkor Wat was built over the course of 37 years. Placed on the UNESCO endangered site list in 1992, this project was designed to gather HDS scans and photographs of the Angkor Wat Western Causeway and the temple Banteay Kdei. The data set was used to support on-going reconstruction and stabilization of various Angkor monuments by Sophia University.
Apsara Traditional Dance and Performances
It has been a tradition since the earliest days of tourism in the 19th century to treat visitors to Siem Reap with an ‘Apsara dance performance’ - a taste of classical Khmer culture. No visit to Cambodia is complete without attending at least one performance. In this tour, dinner will be included and combined with a one-hour dance performance, consisting of 4 or 5 dances (classical and folk).
The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh was constructed over a century ago to serve as the residence of the King of Cambodia, his family and foreign dignitaries, as a venue for the performance of court ceremony and ritual and as a symbol of the Kingdom. It serves to this day as the Cambodian home of King Norodom Sihamoni and former King Norodom Sihanouk. The Royal Palace complex and attached 'Silver Pagoda' compound consist of several buildings, structures and gardens all located within 500x800 meter walled grounds overlooking a riverfront park. Marking the approach to the Palace, the high sculpted wall and golden spired Chanchhaya Pavilion stand distinctively against the riverfront skyline.
Inside the Palace grounds, street sounds are silenced by the high walls and the various Royal buildings sit like ornate islands rising from the tranquil, manicured tropical gardens. Except for the area of the actual Royal residence, the Khemarin Palace, most of the Palace grounds and Silver Pagoda are open to the public. Enter from the gate on Sothearos Blvd about 100 meters north of Street 240. Guide pamphlets and tour guides are available near the admission booth. Guided tours are recommended. Multi-lingual tour guides available.
A small hill crowned by an active wat (pagoda) marks the legendary founding place of Phnom Penh. The hill is the site of constant activity, with a steady stream of faithfuls trekking to the top and a constellation of vendors, visitors and motor taxis at the bottom. Elephant ride are available. The current temple was last rebuilt in 1926 and received a facelift in 1998. Legend has it that after a particularly heavy flood, a wealthy woman named Daun Penh found a tree on the banks of the Mekong with four statues of Buddha hidden inside.
The woman built the temple in 1434 to house the sacred relics. Today, Wat Phnom remains the highest artificial hill in Phnom Penh and the center of many forms of leisure activities.
Independence Monument (Vimean Ekareach)
Independence Monument (Vimean Ekareach) was built in 1958 as a memorial to Cambodia’s independence from France in 1953. The Monument was designed by Vann Molyvann, an influential Cambodian architect, he has also designed the Olympic Stadium and many other buildings from the 1960-70s in Phnom Penh.
Independence Monument is designed in a Angkorian style, shaped as a lotus-shaped stupa that consists of five levels and every level is decorated with snake heads.
The monument is at its most impressive later in the afternoon when the shadows are highlighting the complexity of the design. At night time, the monument is beautifully lit up by red, blue and white floodlights, representing the colors of national flag. You will find Independence in the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard in the centre of the city.
At the 9th of November every year Cambodia celebrates its Independent day, during this celebration the Independence Monument is the center of the activities. A ceremonial flame is lit on pedestal inside the monument by a royal representative or a high official, and floral tributes line the stairs.
Walking in the monument is not permitted but its best view from across the street.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is the former Tuol Sleng High School. In 1975, during the Khmer Rouge regime, the school was used as a prison and torture center, known at the time as S-21. Thousands of Cambodians and a number of foreigners were housed and tortured there until they were executed. Today the site is a museum, where visitors can walk among some of the cells and look at the photos of hundreds of people who died there. There are also paintings, painted by artist Vann Vath, a former prisoner, that depict the tor¬ture of prisoners.