After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will take you on a sightseeing exploration of Phnom Penh. The city is very energetic and fast-paced. Phnom Penh has many tree-lined boulevards and riverfront promenades, with many pedestrians, motorcycles, and traffic. Begin your tour with an insightful cultural heritage visit at the Royal Palace. The palace is still the official residence of King Norodom Sihamoni and is adjacent to the Silver Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha. The Royal Palace of Cambodia is an excellent example of Khmer architecture featuring its layout of the defensive wall (kampaeng), throne hall (preah tineang), Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Preah Keo Morakot), stupas (chedei), towering spires (prang prasat) and mural paintings. The Royal Palace of Phnom Penh covers an area of 174,870 square meters (402m x 435m). Continue to the elegant National Museum, which contains an extensive collection of Khmer Art.
Next, we shall explore the modern-day city. We will visit one of the city's great markets, the Central Market, located in a very distinctive Art Deco building. It was constructed in 1937 in the shape of a dome with four arms branching out into vast hallways with countless stalls of goods. When it first opened in 1937, it was said to be the biggest market in Asia; today, it still operates as a market. From 2009 to 2011, it underwent a US$4.2 million renovation funded by the French Development Agency. The market opens from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It is, for tourists, a 'must-see' stop. Most tourists visit this market because they want to see the extensive amount of products that they offer for a bargain. The four wings of this gigantic yellow dome are teeming with stalls that sell goods ranging from gold and silver, antique coins, money exchange, men's and women's apparel, clocks, books, flowers, food, fabrics, shoes, souvenirs, fish, seafood, dessert, luggage, and countless other products.
After visiting the Central Market, we travel to the Tuol Sleng Museum and learn about a chapter from Cambodia's more recent and tragic past. The Tuol Sleng Museum or the Museum of Genocide was formerly the Tuol Svay Prey High School in 1975. It then became the interrogation and torture facility for the Khmer Rouge Regime at that time known as 'Security Prison 21', or simply 'S-21'. It was kept mostly unchanged, besides now showcasing many photographs and exhibits regarding the tens of thousands of victims.
From there we take an excursion just outside Phnom Penh to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. This peaceful rural area provides a stark reminder of the atrocities under the Pol Pot Regime. Thousands of people were killed here between the years of 1975 and 1978 and buried in many mass graves.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.