It’s a frantic, crowded, dirty, smelly and crime-ridden city but its attractions include its wonderfully animated people and a wealth of old buildings.
Begin with a visit to the National Museum of Cambodia which has a huge amount of artefacts from all the periods of the country’s existence. There too you’ll read a sanitised version of events under the Khymer Rouge. Next take a tour around the Royal Palace which includes the Silver Pagoda and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Dating only from French colonial times, the buildings are currently being renovated but most look fabulous.
The true horrors of life under the Khymer can be seen at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which occupies the building of the former S-21 prison which was previously a school. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, is another mournful place where thousands were murdered then slung into mass graves. Even today, more bodies are being unearthed and personal belongings and scraps of clothes litter the site.