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The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh | © SuzyT/ Pixabay
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The 5 Best Museums in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Picture of Marissa
Updated: 24 April 2018
Phnom Penh’s range of museums offer a fascinating insight into Cambodian culture and heritage, and its turbulent past. Here are five museums to add to your itinerary of activities in the Cambodian capital.

National Museum of Cambodia

History Museum
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The National Museum of Cambodia boasts intricate ancient Khmer detail in its architecture
The National Museum of Cambodia boasts intricate ancient Khmer detail in its architecture | © Elite Studio / Shutterstock
Located next to the Royal Palace, the National Museum of Cambodia is home to more than 5,000 artefacts dating back to the ancient Angkorian period. Various rooms display a range of rare statues, lingas and other items, including the Leper King from Siem Reap and a giant 11th-century bronze Vishnu. It equips visitors with some great knowledge ahead of a trip to Angkor Wat Archaeological Park.
More Info
Sun - Sat:
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, No Smoking, Entrance Fee

Atmosphere:

Indoors

The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Buddhist Temple, History Museum, Shrine
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The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh | © Simon / Pixabay
The Royal Palace serves as the King’s residence, a venue for court ceremony and a symbol of the Kingdom. Selected areas are open to the public. The palace compound is also home to the Silver Pagoda, a renowned temple that takes prominent place on the riverside and is named for its gleaming silver floor. Guests can stroll through the manicured gardens and discover the ornate temples, libraries and galleries inside the palace grounds.
More Info
Sun - Sat:
8:00 am - 10:30 am
Sun - Sat:
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, No Smoking, Entrance Fee

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Indoors

Choeung Ek Genocidal Center

Memorial
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The Buddhist stupa holding more than 5,000 skulls exhumed from the killing field at Choeung Ek
The Buddhist stupa holding more than 5,000 skulls exhumed from the killing field at Choeung Ek | © Marissa Carruthers
Between 1975 and 1979, the Pol Pot-led Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia, with an estimated two million people killed or dying from starvation and exhaustion. Almost 9,000 bodies were discovered at the mass graves of Choeung Ek, more commonly known as the Killing Fields. Now serving as a memorial, the site features a Buddhist stupa filled with human skulls retrieved from the fields. Visitors can walk around the exhumed graves and learn more through a headset-guided walking tour.
More Info
Sun - Sat:
8:00 am - 5:30 pm

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Outdoors

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

History Museum
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Cells that held political prisoners at Tuol Sleng, also known as S-21
Cells that held political prisoners at Tuol Sleng, also known as S-21 | © Davide Calabresi / Shutterstock
This former high school in central Phnom Penh makes for a sobering visit for the horrific role it played during the Khmer Rouge regime. During that time, the former school was transformed into a political prisoners’ camp known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). Only seven prisoners survived, while many others were tortured and killed, or sent to their deaths at Choeung Ek. Much of the site has been left as it was discovered in 1979 when the Vietnamese army liberated Phnom Penh. The blood-splattered walls, tiny brick cells and abandoned torture tools offer a chilling insight into the brutal regime.
More Info
Sun - Sat:
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Outdoors

Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center

Art Gallery, Movie Theater, School
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Bophana Center archives old film footage. | © igorovsyannykov / Pixabay
Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center is a cinema and hub for photography, television, film and sound. As many image and sound archives were destroyed during decades of conflict, Bophana collates and archives surviving material and puts it on display to the public. The center also serves as an educational site where young Cambodians can learn audiovisual techniques, multimedia practices, broadcasting and film production. Visitors can peruse photographs that date back to 1866 and view treasured film footage. The space also regularly hosts exhibitions, workshops and film screenings.
More Info
Mon - Fri:
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sat - Sun:
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Free

Atmosphere:

Local, Quiet