Kratie is a small town located on the Mekong River. It’s best known for the Irrawaddy dolphins where their dwindling population has put them on the endangered species list. They call a small place near Kampi village their home.
There’s a lot of colonial architecture to see and the town offers some great views of the river. The surrounding countryside Is also lush and thick with green paddy fields, particularly in the rainy season.
Wat Phnom is an old pagoda which sits on top of a hill. Legend says that around 800 years ago a woman named Daun Penh saw five Buddha statues on top of the hill and a pagoda was built to house them. There has been a pagoda on this site ever since and the area is now popular with visitors.
King’s Palace and the Silver Pagoda
The King’s Palace and Silver Pagoda are also popular places to visit in Phnom Penh. At the palaces you can explore parts of the well-kept grounds and some of the buildings are open to the public.
You can also explore the Silver Pagoda which is next to the Royal Palace. The pagoda is home to many national treasures including Buddha statues covered in Jewels or a crystal Buddha.
S21 & Killing Fields
Cambodians have had to endure some troubled times in the recent past. Museums which highlight the pain and suffering most Cambodians went through are available to see for yourself at S-21 and the Killing Fields.
S-21 was the name given to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum during the Pol Pot regime from 1975 to 1979. Tuol Sleng is a former high school that was transformed into a place of torture for anybody the Khmer Rouge suspected as enemies. Horrific torture devices were used to get “confessions” of accused crimes by the Khmer Rouge.
The Khmer Rouge Killing Fields are mass graves where many people were executed. However, to save ammunition, the victims were often poised instead. In some cases, victims had to dig their own shallow graves. You can learn about what Cambodian’s had to go through during the Khmer Rouge regime.
Shopping & Markets
If you looking to go shopping then you’ll want to head to Phnom Penh. You can pick up a bargain in one of the many markets such as the Phsar Thmei or the Russian Market. Both have lots of cheap goods for sales and you can pick up a real bargain. There are also modern shopping centers such as the Aeon Mall.
Tonle Sap Lake
Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is of major importance to Cambodia. The lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia’s dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year’s heavy rains begin in June, the flow of the Tonlé Sap changes directions and an enormous lake forms. Tonlé Sap is home to many ethnic Vietnamese and numerous Cham communities, living in floating villages around the lake.
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