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Wat Phnom

Sitting atop what is considered the only hill in Phnom Penh, this eclectic Buddhist monastery features a fascinating array of shrines, stupas and ornate buildings.

Wat Phnom towers above Phnom Penh on the only hill in the city. Enter the Buddhist monastery through the grand staircase on its eastern side. You will immediately notice the gates, which are adorned with lions and snakes. 

Legends say that Madame Penh, a local woman, found four statues of Buddha in the Mekong River. She had the first vihara, or temple, built here in 1373 to house the statues.  

Since then, it has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1926. Although the vihara is small, it is very beautiful. Note its ornate gilded details and a perfectly symmetric layout. 

West of the vihara, look for a tall stone stupa covered in intricate carvings. This holds the ashes of King Ponhea Vat, who reigned in the 1400s.  

Walk through a narrow passage between the vihara and the stupa. Here, you will find a statue of the corpulent Madame Penh cheerfully presiding over the area she cultivated.

As you wander the grounds, notice a variety of shrines, pagodas and statues. One madcap shrine is dedicated to the genie Preah Chau. Near the entrance is a chamber containing another statue of Preah Chau accompanied by spirits armed with iron bats. 

Continue down the hill to another royal stupa, which features full-grown trees growing from its roots. Check the time on the massive lawn clock, which spans nearly 66 feet (20 meters) across. 

Today, people make pilgrimages to Wat Phnom to pray for good fortune. If a person’s wish is granted, he or she will often return to make an offering to the spirits, such as a flower garland or a bunch of bananas, as a way of showing thanks. 

Wat Phnom charges a token admission fee for non-Cambodian visitors. Although bona fide monks live and worship here, beware of imposters and hustlers who will try to trick you into buying bracelets and other trinkets.

Popular Activities at Wat Phnom

There are loads of ways to experience this attraction. Here's just some things to do at Wat Phnom:

For even more things to do, check out our Phnom Penh things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Wat Phnom


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Wat Phnom

See all 406 Properties near Wat Phnom
Raffles Hotel Le Royal $204
Raffles Hotel Le Royal

Raffles Hotel Le Royal

92 Rukhak Vithei Daun Penh, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Daun Penh, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Riverside, Wat Phnom, and Central Market. National Museum of Cambodia and Independence Monument are also within 2 mi (3 km). Phnom Penh Railway Station is 7 minutes by foot.

    SUN & MOON, Urban Hotel $68
    SUN & MOON, Urban Hotel

    SUN & MOON, Urban Hotel

    # 68, Street 136 and 15, Phsar Kandal 1, Phnom Penh
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Phnom Penh City Centre, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Central Market and National Museum of Cambodia. Wat Phnom and Royal Palace are also within 1 mi (2 km). Phnom Penh Railway Station is 17 minutes by foot.

      Rosewood Phnom Penh $216
      Rosewood Phnom Penh

      Rosewood Phnom Penh

      No. 66 Monivong Blvd. Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Pen, Vattanac Capital Tower, Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Phnom Penh City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Central Market and Wat Phnom. Riverside and National Museum of Cambodia are also within 1 mi (2 km). Phnom Penh Railway Station is only a 4-minute walk.

        Sunway Hotel Phnom Penh $58
        Sunway Hotel Phnom Penh

        Sunway Hotel Phnom Penh

        #1 Street 92 Sangkat Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Daun Penh, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh Night Market, and Central Market. Sorya Shopping Center and Wat Ounalom are also within 1 mi (2 km). Phnom Penh Railway Station is 11 minutes by foot.

          NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex $49
          NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex

          NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex

          NagaWorld, Samdech Techo Hun Sen Park, Phnom Penh
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Chamkar Mon, this luxury resort is steps from Samdach Hun Sen Park and Riverside. Independence Monument and Silver Pagoda are also within 1 mi (2 km).

            Lux Riverside Hotel & Apartment $36
            Lux Riverside Hotel & Apartment

            Lux Riverside Hotel & Apartment

            No.2,4,6, Street 136, Sangkat Phsar, kandal Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Daun Penh, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Riverside and Phnom Penh Night Market. National Museum of Cambodia and Wat Phnom are also within 15 minutes. Phnom Penh Railway Station is 20 minutes by foot.

              Okay Boutique Hotel $41
              Okay Boutique Hotel

              Okay Boutique Hotel

              House # 174, street 19Z, Sangkat Chey Chumnas, Khan Daun Pen, Phnom Penh
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Phnom Penh City Centre, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of National Museum of Cambodia and Riverside. Royal Palace and Independence Monument are also within 15 minutes. Phnom Penh Railway Station is 23 minutes by foot.

                Casa Boutique Hotel $27
                Casa Boutique Hotel

                Casa Boutique Hotel

                No. 5 France Boulevard (Street 47), Phnom Penh
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Daun Penh, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Riverside and Wat Phnom. National Museum of Cambodia and Phnom Penh Night Market are also within 1 mi (2 km). Phnom Penh Railway Station is 14 minutes by foot.