Set on top of a tree-covered knoll, Wat Phnom is the only hill in town. According to legend, the first pagoda on this site was erected in 1373 to house four statues of Buddha deposited here by the waters of the Mekong and discovered by a woman named Penh. It stands 27 meters (88.5 ft) above the ground and is the tallest religious structure in the city.Wat Phnom is the central point of Phnom Penh. The main entrance to Wat Phnom is via the grand eastern staircase which is guarded by lions and naga(snake) balustrades.Today, many people come here to pray for good luck and success in school exams or business affairs.
The Vihara (temple sanctuary) was rebuilt in 1434, 1806, 1894 and, most recently in 1926. West of the vihara is an enormous stupa containing the ashes of King Ponhea Vat (reigned 1405-1467).
Beggars, street urchins, women selling drinks and postcards and children selling birds in cages (customer pays to set the birds free) pester everybody. It’s difficult to be annoyed by the vendors who, after all, are only trying to eke out a living. It is a meeting place.
The giant clock, almost 20 meters wide, was a gift from China in the year 2000 and replaced a previous one that came from France and was installed in the early 1960s. The clock is in front of a monument commemorating the return of the western provinces of Battambang, Siem Reap and Banstead Meanchey from Thai control in 1907.
Cruising on the Tonle Sap River gave us a geographically unique view of the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap with river housing, a Church, hotels, shops and other tourist boats and then an amazing sunset to finish our day.