3. Phnom Penh Private Tour: Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, S-21
Explore the troubled, but fascinating history of Cambodia on a 6-hour sightseeing tour in Phnom Penh, and visit some of the city’s most beautiful pagodas and palaces, as well as the infamous genocide museum of Tuol Sleng. Following a hotel pick-up, your guide will take you to the Royal Palace, built in 1866 by the French after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong. Located on the western banks of the Tonle Sap River and Mekong River, the palace complex features stunning Khmer architecture, divided into 4 main compounds. The grounds of the Palace are also home to the Silver Pagoda, which received its name because its floor is made of 5,329 silver tiles. Learn about the Khmer kings, resident at all times, with the exception of the period when the Khmer Rouge took control in 1975. See gold and jeweled Buddha statues in the Silver Pagoda, and the Angkor Wat style Bell Tower. Then, learn about the turbulent years of the Khmer Rouge at the infamous Tuol Sleng Museum. Located in a former high school that was used as the notorious Security Prison 21, the Genocide Museum traces the story of the Killing Fields and the torture and executions that took place from 1975-79. See exhibits that tell the stories of some of the estimated 20,000 prisoners that were killed. Return to the city center for a drop off at your hotel, or a riverside café or bar if you want to take in the sunset.