Many of the sites in the city center date to the early 20th century. They include the impressive Royal Palace (which is older than its neighbors) and its even grander Silver Pagoda. The National Museum is another must-see, as there's no better collection than the Khmer art. Tourists can get around the city center on foot, though it's cheap and convenient to hire a car with a chauffeur.
The latter option is perfect for heading out to the Killing Fields and the Museum of Genocide. It's worth hiring a guide to visit these places, as many on hand have had personal experience with these sites.
This central landmark was built in the late 1950s to commemorate freedom from French colonial powers. It looms over Phnom Penh's biggest roundabout and has evolved into memorial to those who have died in Cambodia's wars.
Museum of Genocide
This old high school was a veritable torture chamber at the height of the Khmer Rouge's killing spree. Today it's one of the most compelling reminders of a not-so-distant past. Many visitors arrive with tour groups, and those who don't are strongly advised to hire a guide at the entrance.
The global authority on Khmer sculpture, this museum is a shining light in a city plagued by memories of genocide. Construction on this red sandstone building was completed in 1920, and it includes four beautiful courtyards arranged around a garden. This must-see is best visited on the same day as the Royal Palace.