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Approximately 10½ Hours
A scenic 2½-hour drive brings you to Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. Situated at the confluence of four rivers, Phnom Penh serves as the center of culture, economy, society and politics in Cambodia. With its relaxed lifestyle and lovely Khmer and colonial architecture, it is a fascinating city.
Savor a deluxe lunch before commencing your tour of the capital.
Explore the Royal Palace -- the residence of the Royal Family -- where court ceremonies are held. Constructed in 1866, it is situated right in the center of the city and surrounded by a high wall. The iconic Royal Palace features pavilions adorned and painted with yellow and white colors. The yellow represents Buddhism and the white represents Brahmanism. The Silver Pagoda, located in the southern section of the Royal Palace compound, took four years to complete (1902). It was renovated in 1962 in the style of traditional Khmer architecture. Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, it boasts 5,329 silver tiles covering the floor of the pagoda. Each silver tile weights 2.5 pounds. The 1,650 artifacts within, mostly Buddhist statues, are made of gold, silver and bronze into which diamonds, sapphire, rubies and other precious stones are inlaid.
Photo opportunity at the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, built in 1958 to memorialize Cambodia's independence from France. Continue to the city’s namesake, Wat Phnom. The temple was built in 1372, and stands 27 meters above the ground.
Visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, formerly a high school. The five buildings of the complex were converted in 1975 (after the Khmer Rouge won the civil war) into a prison and interrogation center. Renamed Security Prison 21 (S-21) the buildings were enclosed in an electrified barbed wire fence, the classrooms converted into tiny prison cells and torture chambers, and the windows covered with iron bars and barbed wire. Between 1975 and 1979, an estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned at Tuol Sleng and usually were former Khmer Rouge members and soldiers accused of betraying the party. Prisoners' families were often brought en masse to be interrogated and later murdered at the Choeung Ek extermination center. In 1979, the Vietnamese army uncovered the grisly site and it was opened as a museum memorializing the brutal actions of the Khmer Rouge. You may have a chance to take photos with one of the surviving prisoners; then, relax for the drive back to Sihanoukville and rejoin the ship.
Please note: The museum is not appropriate for children; parental discretion is strongly advised. Shoulders and legs must be covered when visiting the Royal Palace. Travel time from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh is approximately 2½ hours each way.