In case you have some spare time when you’re in Phnom Penh, or when you had enough of all the genocide and war related places; the thing you could consider is taking a short sightseeing trip. Of course, you can also just take a seat in a bar or restaurant for a couple of hours as a great time pass. One of the good areas to do so is the road along the river. Some 24/7 restaurants with nice terrace seats that overlook the river. Especially in the evenings when many people are playing sports or doing other exercise on the boulevard between road and river while you can see the lights of the cruise boats on the river.
When you’re a bit fed up with all the traffic that passes between you and the river, which creates quite some noise, you can combine this with a short sightseeing trip in the city. Tuktuk’s are standing in front of the restaurants, waiting for customers to leave and do some city tours for about $10 per hour.
A tuktuk for an hour or 1.5 hr short sightseeing will easily bring you to five or six different places during daytime which don’t include the Khmer Rouge past in a real direct and horrifying way. Places like museums can just be seen on the outside because of a time limit that you have. Still some of those places can be of interest in a way of design of the building and surroundings. You still might be in for unexpected things to see, for example a wedding photoshoot. Pagodas, temples, buildings of importance, monuments, they’re all easy to pass, but also to jump out and take five minutes for pictures and enjoying your short sightseeing trip.
Places to see on this short sightseeing trip can be the National Museum of Cambodia. The Vietnam – Cambodia Friendship Monument. The Statue of king Norodon Sihanouk. The independence monument. Wat Phnom Historical site. The Silver Pagoda and of course the Royal Palace. This all you can stop by shortly in a 1,5 hr. time frame.
One of the places you will be brought on a short sightseeing trip is the Vietnam – Cambodia Friendship Monument, which dates back to 1979 when the Vietnamese got the Khmer Rouge from power in Cambodia and therefore ending the genocide. The Vietnamese installed a communist regime in Cambodia. The monument is located at the Botum Park that covers quite a big area. In the evenings there are fountain’s with colored light that makes it a very nice hangout place. Especially in weekends or on public holidays this in the center of town located friendship monument park attracts many locals.
The monument is made of a concrete tower with statues of soldiers representing both countries. Also there is a woman with a baby that represents Cambodian citizens. In 1998 and 2007 the monument was at the center of some political unrest. Locals climbed on it with hammers and put it on fire and on another occasion a bomb went off.
King Sihanouk Memorial
Another spot on the short sightseeing trip is the late king father Norodon Sihanouk Memorial. A 4.5 m tall statue which stands under a 27 m high stupa in yet another park, east of the Independence Monument. In the evenings the monument lights up. The inauguration of this memorial with a $1.2 million price tag was in Fall 2013. King Sihanouk died one year before that in Beijing, China. The memorial is a dedication to his accomplishments of liberating Cambodia in 1953 from French protectorate.
Independence monument is located on roughly 100 m only from Sihanouk memorial. As a result of the independence in 1953, this monument was built in 1958 at Norodon Boulevard intersection. The lotus shaped stupa with a height of 37 meters in old Khmer empire style, was designed by a Cambodian architect. The monument is just as the other mentioned monuments a popular place to visit by both locals and tourists. Especially during national celebrations.
The boulevard runs along the river and is mentioned briefly in top of this post. Despite the busy and noisy road that lies between the restaurants and the boulevard, it’s a place with a fantastic view and a lot of happenings. There are so called sky bars and restaurants. From the top you have a great view over the river and the boulevard. In dark it becomes special with all the lights around the boulevard, the river cruises and the lights far away.
The boulevard itself is also used by people to exercise, aerobics and more. At the north is a gym area for people to sport. There is lots of activity at evenings. It gives the boulevard that little bit extra’s than it already has. A wonderful place to visit, sit and enjoy.
Then there is still a view on the many skyscrapers under construction (Apr ’19) just around old temples. Chinese casino’s and a garden given by the prime minister according the info on the board. Too bad that nobody can walk in that garden, so it’s just a piece of field.