Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh

Located on a grassy hilltop, Wat Phnom is the main temple and namesake of Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital city.


History of Wat Phnom

According to legend, a 14th-century woman named Penh found sacred Buddhist objects in the nearby river and placed them here on the small hill. A temple was built to house the relics and the city was named for it - Phnom Penh means "Penh's Hill."

What to See at Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom is a standard Southeast Asian wat, with a bell-shaped chedi and Naga snakes decorating the corners of the roof.

Inside are bright modern murals that just about glow in the dark, depicting the lives of the Buddha and other stories. The central ceiling has not yet been restored and retains its original aging murals.

Young salesmen near the temple like to sell tourists the chance to earn some Buddhist merit by releasing a caged bird. (Customers who hang around long enough will get to see the bird returning to its cage shortly thereafter.)

Quick Facts on Wat Phnom

Site Information
Names:Wat Phnom
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:11.576108° N, 104.923081° E
Address:Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Lodging:View hotels near Wat Phnom
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Frommer's Southeast Asia.

More Information

© Magalie L'Abbé
© Magalie L'Abbé
© Magalie L'Abbé
© Magalie L'Abbé
© Magalie L'Abbé

Map of Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh

Below is a location map and aerial view of Wat Phnom. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.