Wat Phnom. Temple in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Wat Phnom

Temple in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia | Phnom Penh | Wat Phnom Temple Photo © Oliver Townend

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Wat Phnom

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	'08 - 012 - Wat Phnom - Wat Phnom
Cambodia '08 - 012 - Wat Phnom - Wat Phnom. Photo by McKay Savage
In a chaotic and congested city such as Phnom Penh, the small but beautiful Buddhist temple of Wat Phnom is an absolute sight for sore eyes, despite the at-times busy scenes. This is listed as the highest religious structure in the whole city, although much of it has to do with the fact that it sits atop the highest, garden-filled hill. Getting here and enjoying a few hours among natural and peaceful surroundings, is a splendid way to pass a day in Cambodia’s capital.

The most revered temple in the city, if not the whole country, Wat Phnom is considered the birthplace of the capital and is a place well worth exploring.

What to Expect from a Visit

Wat Phnom is over 700 years old and was allegedly built to house the Buddhist statues found by Old Lady Penh, the protagonist of the famous Phnom Penh legend (Wikipedia Article). Although a small village existed here at the time, the modern city was literally built around this temple. Wat Phnom itself is small and quite understated yet the intricately carved staircase, adorned with guarding lions and serpents, is a stupendous sight.

Wat Phnom pagoda - Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom pagoda. Photo by Mark Turner

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Wat
Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Wat Phnom. Photo by Toby Simkin
There is a lovely pagoda, tall stupa, and wonderful gardens to explore. The site can get overrun with souvenir sellers and begging street kids, who all have the tendency of being quite persistent. An infamous gang of cheeky monkeys also prowl the gardens so watch out if intending to stop for a snack. They’ll always be lurking nearby.

At the base of the stupa you’ll find a large, 20m flower clock. The original was gifted to Cambodia by France in the 1960s, yet the modern version was an upgrade, given as a gift by China. The new and improved version plays the Cambodian national anthem at sunset and sunrise every day.

How to Get There

Wat Phnom is a little hard to miss, as it’s centrally located atop a hill. A walk up from the riverside will take just a few minutes. For an even nicer view, catch a $ 5.00 USD sunset boat ride and you’ll see the Wat from a distance and basking in a beautiful golden glow.

Admission Fee

$ 1.00 USD per person, as a ‘donation’ towards the upkeep of the gardens.

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Author: Laura Pattara. Last updated: Apr 10, 2015

Pictures of Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom - Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom - Photo by Ross Websdale


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