Phnom Penh - Cambodia

Legend says that the city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia was founded when an old woman named Penh found four Buddha images that had come to rest on the banks of the Mekong River. She housed them on a nearby hill and the town that subsequently grew came to be known as Phnom Penh or Hill of Penh.

The French protectorate in Cambodia gave Phnom Penh the layout we know today. They divided the city into districts – the French and European traders inhabited the area north of Wat Phnom between Monivong Boulevard and Tonlé Sap.

By the time the French departed in 1953, they had left many important landmarks, including the Royal Palace, the National Museum, Psar Thmei (Central Market), and many impressive government ministries.

Major changes have happened in the city in the last couple of decades – roads were repaired, parks and riverbanks reclaimed. Business is thriving in many parts of the city, where skyscrapers are sprouting like beanstalks with investors eager to bet their money on new ventures.

Today, the main attractions are the Choeung Ek Memorial for the War and the Royal Palace. A night dining among the riverbank’s various options is a marvellous experience, before heading for the sights of Siem Reap.

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