National Museum

Exhibits may not be breathtaking, but building is

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

What we say: 3.5 stars

First opened in 1920, the ornate Khmer-style building that houses the National Museum thankfully survived the Khmer Rouge's horrific "re-education" of the late 1970s and continues to impress today.

The museum is one of Phnom Penh's most recognisable landmarks, situated right next to the Royal Palace near the riverfront. With its countless pediments and multi-tiered spired roofs, the building itself threatens to upstage the relics it houses.

Visitors first pass through a well-groomed garden courtyard before entering massive carved doors and being greeted by a striking 10th century sandstone depiction of Garuda. Wander further into the museum's three spacious wings to discover ancient statuettes, quartz linga, theatrical costumes and intricate marriage boxes inlaid with mother of pearl. Museum staff give out joss sticks to be offered to the religious-historical image of each visitor's choice. There's no shortage to choose from either -- Hindu representations of Durga, Vishnu, Lakshmi and Ganesha rub shoulders with a host of Buddhas and bodhisattvas along with a statue of King Jayavarman VII (builder of temples), complete with his 12th century gold regalia.

More details
Corner of Street 178 and Street 13, Phnom Penh
Opening Hours: Daily 08:00-17:00, last entry at 16:30
Last updated: 29th May, 2013

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