In the heart of Phnom Penh, where the mighty Mekong River meets the Tonle Sap, the majestic Royal Palace sparkles, haunting the Riverfront area with a sense of elegance, mystery and grandeur. The landscaped lawns and gardens act as the overworked lungs of the central city – a welcome respite from the miles and miles of concrete, steel, dust, and exhaust fumes to the north, west, and south.
For centuries (802 – 1431, A.D.), the seat of power for the Khmer Empire was the ancient city of Angkor, well known today for its incredible temples (including Angkor Wat) near what is now Siem Reap. After the fall of Angkor in 1431, the seat of power briefly moved to Phnom Penh (then under a different name) before relocating to Basan, Longvek, and Oudong.
In the 1800s, Phnom Penh once again became the capital city. Cambodia’s royal family has called this beautiful place home since 1866, with the tragic exception of the period during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge.
Thais and I recently paid a visit. Here is our photo tour.