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  3. Phnom Penh
  4. Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh

Photo © Magalie L'Abbé. View all images in our Wat Phnom Photo Gallery.
Photo © Magalie L'Abbé.
Photo © Magalie L'Abbé.
Photo © Magalie L'Abbé.
Photo © Magalie L'Abbé.

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


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

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; Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh
City:Phnom Penh
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Coordinates:11.576108° N, 104.923081° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Wat Phnom

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.


  1. Frommer's Southeast Asia.

More Information

Article Info

Title:Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:06/22/2009
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/cambodia/phnom-penh-wat-phnom">Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh</a>