This is Cambodia's "Church on the Hill." Legend has it that sometime in the 14th century, a woman named Penh found sacred Buddhist objects in the nearby river and placed them here on the small hill that later became a temple. Well, the rest is history. Phnom, in fact, means "hill," so the name of the city translates to "Penh's Hill."
The temple itself is a standard Southeast Asian wat, with Naga snakes on the cornered peaks of the roof and didactic murals of the Buddha's life done in Day-Glo allegories along interior walls. Don't miss the central ceiling, which, unlike the bright walls, is yet to be restored and is gritty and authentic.
The hillside park around the temple was once a no-go zone peopled by armed dealers and pimps, and in the evening you should still be careful, but now it's a laid-back little park. You're sure to meet with some crafty young salesmen here who'll offer you the chance to show your Buddhist compassion by buying a caged bird for a dollar and letting it go; if you stick around long enough, you'll get to see the bird return to the comfort of the cage.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010
- tel: +855 23 21 6666
- North of Road 102
- Intersection of Street 96 and Norodom Blvd
- Phnom Penh 12202
Central/ Psar Thmei
- No Sweat
- User Rating