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Phnom Penh River Cruises

About Phnom Penh

Sitting at the point where the Mekong River meets the immense Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia’s capital is a mainstay of every voyage which explores the Mekong River and is home to a wealth of attractions related to various stages in its long history. It’s been the nation’s capital since the days of French colonisation and Indochina and is also regarded as its cultural and political centre. The city takes its name from one of its most prominent nearby Buddhist temples Wat Phnom or ‘hill temple’. Indeed, the city is founded on Buddhism and the legend of its establishment involves a woman in the 14th century who spotted a floating tree while gathering firewood close to the river, in which she discovered four statues of Buddha. It was taken as a sign and a blessing and secured the city’s Buddhist heritage, which can be explored in-depth when you visit. In modern times, it was also involved in the country’s darkest chapter when it suffered immensely under Pol Pot’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime, a part of its history which can also be explored.

Exploring Phnom Penh

The first place most visitors head when visiting Phnom Penh is the jaw-dropping Royal Palace with its incredible Silver Pagoda. It’s a good idea to pick a cruise excursion which offers a guided tour rather than explore on your own, as everything will be put into context by your knowledgeable guide. The architecture is incredible throughout the complex but the centre-piece is indeed the Silver Pagoda. Its ornate golden exterior may have you wondering how it earned its name, but as soon as you step inside you’ll understand why when you catch sight of its incredible floor which comprises thousands of silver tiles. Inside, gold and emerald statues of Buddha are featured as well as a wealth of other treasures.

For many, a visit to nearby Wat Phnom is only fitting given its influence on the city’s founding. It’s regarded by many of Phnom Penh’s citizens as the city’s spiritual heart and indeed, there’s a tangible atmosphere and some beautiful architecture to experience. Sometimes overlooked by visitors is Wat Ounalom, an altogether more modest temple which is nevertheless still beautiful and a great place for some quiet reflection.

Those wishing to get a feel for themselves how the city suffered during the Khmer Rouge regime should pay a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and also the Killing Fields. In the living memory of the majority of river cruise visitors, the twisted ideal of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge resulted in the deaths of huge numbers of the city’s population. Many were detained and tortured and the present day museum is where the atrocities took place, with guided tours available. The Killing Fields is the place where the regime disposed of its victims and today it has been turned into a memorial for the millions who were killed. Audio guides are available to put your visit into context and inform you about how the regime operated. It’s certainly harrowing yet informative and a poignant reminder of how far the city has come since its most harrowing days.

Phnom Penh tips

Though tourists are more than welcome in Phnom-Penh, it should be noted that the Killing Fields are also a place of pilgrimage for many Cambodians who lost family members to the regime, so it’s important to behave respectfully. If you’ve time for a snack during your explorations, you’ll find a satisfying blend of both French and eastern cuisine in the city.

Phnom Penh Itineraries

Phnom Penh

Luxury Mekong from Ho chi Minh

37 sailing dates August 2021 to May 2023
11 Nights From UK, to UK
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Angkor Wat

Vietnam & Cambodia Discovery - Hanoi to Siem Reap

26 sailing dates July 2021 to November 2022
18 Nights From London, United Kingdom to London
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Phnom Penh

Vietnam & Cambodia Discovery - Hanoi to Ho ChiMinh

27 sailing dates July 2021 to November 2022
18 Nights From London, United Kingdom to London
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Chau Doc

From the Mekong Delta to Siem Reap

5 sailing dates October 2021 to December 2021
8 Nights From Saigon (Ho Chi Min City), to Cambodia , Siem Reap
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Phnom Penh

From the Mekong Delta to the Temples of Angkor

5 sailing dates October 2021 to December 2021
16 Nights From Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam, Vietnam to , Angkor
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Siem Reap

From Siem Reap to the Mekong Delta

6 sailing dates October 2021 to December 2021
8 Nights From Siem Reap, Cambodia to , Saigon (Ho Chi Min City)
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Phnom Penh

Journey along the Mekong

1 sailing date May 2021
19 Nights From Depart UK, to Bangkok, Thailand
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £5919pp
Hanoi

Highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia & Luxury Mekong

26 sailing dates May 2021 to April 2023
19 Nights From Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam, Vietnam to , Saigon (Ho Chi Min City)
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £5969pp
Hanoi

Highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia & Luxury Mekong

24 sailing dates May 2021 to May 2023
19 Nights From Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam, Vietnam to Cambodia , Siem Reap
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £5969pp
Hanoi

Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia

16 sailing dates May 2021 to December 2022
16 Nights From Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam, Vietnam to Cambodia , Siem Reap
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Phnom Penh

Majestic Mekong Discoverer Ho Chi MinhCity To Siem

34 sailing dates May 2021 to December 2022
12 Nights From Saigon (Ho Chi Min City), to Cambodia , Siem Reap
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Phnom Penh

Luxury Mekong & Japan in Focus

1 sailing date May 2021
26 Nights From Depart UK, to Arrive UK
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £13029pp
Angkor Wat

Red, Mekong and Yangtze Rivers Odyssey

1 sailing date October 2021
32 Nights From Depart UK, to Arrive UK
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £11799pp
Magwe

Treasures of the Mekong & Mystical Myanmar

1 sailing date October 2021
31 Nights From Depart UK, to Arrive UK
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £11059pp
Phnom Penh

Grand Indochina & Luxury Mekong

6 sailing dates July 2021 to December 2021
28 Nights From Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam, Vietnam to , Arrive UK
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Phnom Penh

Mekong Discovery (Northbound)

45 sailing dates July 2021 to December 2022
7 Nights From Saigon (Ho Chi Min City), to Cambodia , Phnom Penh
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Phnom Penh

Mekong Discovery (Southbound)

43 sailing dates July 2021 to December 2022
7 Nights From Phnom Penh, Cambodia to , Saigon (Ho Chi Min City)
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Hanoi

Hanoi to Siem Reap

18 sailing dates April 2021 to December 2022
20 Nights From Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam, Vietnam to Cambodia , Siem Reap
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Phnom Penh

Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City

33 sailing dates April 2021 to December 2022
12 Nights From Siem Reap, Cambodia to , Saigon (Ho Chi Min City)
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Siem Reap

Majestic Mekong - Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap

35 sailing dates May 2021 to December 2022
7 Nights From Saigon (Ho Chi Min City), to Cambodia , Siem Reap
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