Auriole Potter tells us why travellers should linger for longer in Cambodia’s capital
With its silver skyscrapers and busy streets, it would be easy to dismiss Phnom Penh as just another bustling Asian metropolis. Many travellers plan a night here but it’s often only to take a deep dive into the country’s recent history, by visiting Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields. We recommend spending a little longer in the capital, to visit some of its hidden gems and create some less harrowing, more enjoyable associations with the city.
Top three alternative experiences in Phnom Penh
1. Diverse colonial architecture
Whilst many of Phnom Penh’s most cherished buildings were destroyed during the time of the Khmer Rouge, several historic sites survive, making Cambodia’s capital a treasure trove of architectural wonders. Besides the city’s temples and palaces, the 1890s neo-classical Post Office sits proudly at the centre of the French Quarter and the opulent Raffles le Royal (where everyone from Jackie Kennedy to Charlie Chaplin has stayed) presents a blend of sophisticated French style and local panache. Other favourites include the 1930s art deco train station, the National Library and the Central Market.