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National Museum

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Cambodia’s National Museum (saa-ra moo-un dti if you want to impress your tuk tuk driver) is a reference point around Phnom Penh, an impressive red-tiled, red-walled building set in carefully tended tropical gardens—it is also arguably the best museum in the country.

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On the corner of Street 178 and Street 13, two blocks from FCC and the riverside, this is a regular stop off point for foreigner visitors and students interested in Angkorian history—and we consider it a must see. If at all possible, we recommend saving a visit here until after you’ve seen some of the temples of Angkor, as the exhibits will resonate more once you’re able to mentally place them. That said, with as many as 14,000 different pieces on show or in storage below, it’s still a wonderful way to to come to understand some of the scale of what was achieved during the Khmer Empire in particular.

Start here. Photo taken in or around National Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Stuart McDonald.

Start here. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The museum’s location is designed to impress, next to the Royal Palace and with the Royal University of Fine Arts just behind. Opened in 1920 and extended in 1924, the museum building itself has so many pediments, loggias and multi-tiered spired roofs, it threatens to upstage the exhibits it houses.

Dotted around the museum’s lush grounds are statues that hint at what’s inside. Enter through the enormous carved doors, where you’re welcomed by a magnificent garuda from Koh Ker, a 10th century temple complex. Turn left to start to follow the collection, which is housed in four wings arranged around a courtyard with perfectly ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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National Museum
Corner of Streets 178 and 13, Phnom Penh
Daily 08:00–17:00, last entry at 16:30
T: (023) 211 753
Admission: $10 for foreigners, $5 for those aged 10–17 and under 10 are free

Location map for National Museum

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Phnom Penh? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Cambodia.

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