Phnom Penh is the largest city in Cambodia and also its very busy capital. It sits at the confluence of the Mekong, the Bassac and the Tonle Sap Rivers. From 1975 to 1979, the country was devastated by the Khmer Rouge regime, which killed approximately 2 million Cambodians. So for many years, this city wasn’t on most traveler’s itineraries. Today, however, the city — and the country — have made a major recovery, and now visitors are arriving in growing numbers.
They come in Phnom Penh to visit the beautiful Royal Palace, which is the residence of Cambodia’s royal family, and the Silver Pagoda, which is covered in 5,000 silver tiles and contains a life-size gold Buddha that is covered in diamonds. Of course, there are also more somber sites in Phnom Penh that recount the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime, including the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the infamous Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. There are 129 mass graves in the Killing Fields and its memorial stupa contains the skulls of more than 8,000 people who were murdered at this site.