Wat Phnom, translated as 'Mountain Pagoda', is the most important Buddhist temple in Phnom Penh. Erected in 1373, the temple was used to house four Buddha statues, which were allegedly discovered by an old wealthy lady named Penh who then constructed a small shrine on the site to protect the statues. Gradually, it became a sanctuary where people stop by and make wishes or pray for good luck.
The current version of the temple was rebuilt in 1926. It's 27 meters high, making it the tallest religious structure in the city. The interior of it has a central altar complex with a huge bronze Buddha enclosed by other statues, floral ornamentations, candles and divine items for worship. A small shrine dedicated to Lady Penh is located on the southwest corner of the stupa, where devout followers often bring food and prayers to expressive their piety. Paintings depicting stories of Buddha before enlightenment are vividly on the wall - take your time to enjoy these beautiful remains.
There is a legendary elephant, Sam Bo, who has been offering rides for over 50 years is one of the most endearing features of this Wat Phnom. For safety concerns, it'd better watch out the mischievous monkeys there. During Cambodian New Year, the temple is the center of celebration. Check your schedule to experience a cultural feast.
In the city region, you can spend time on the following famous tourist attractions: Royal Palace, Independence Monument, National Museum and Tuol Sleng Museum. If you care about Asian Buddhist culture and seek for a relaxing holiday, this 21-Day Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos Highlights Tour suits you well.