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Phnom Penh rising among popular Asian destinations

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Phnom Penh rising among popular Asian destinations

With destinations such as Seoul and Shanghai becoming increasingly popular spots for travelers, many globetrotters are on the lookout for the next go-to tourist hub in Asia. There are many contenders, but some of the earliest signs points to Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. Sitting on the banks of the Mekong River, the city has gone to great lengths to shed its checkered past and today is home to a rich sense of culture and modern amenities, CNN reported.

Emerging cosmopolitan destination
There are a number of reasons for Phnom Penh's burgeoning appeal, experts say, but one of the biggest is the strong influence of French culture. France had colonial ties in the country as recently as 1953, and that impact is still felt today. Most notably, there are many independently run boutiques lining the city streets, a great number of which are run by people who spent time studying fashion in France's iconic design schools. The lingering French atmosphere is also seen in many of the centuries-old buildings as well as restaurants which features food from all corners of the globe.

Affordability is key
Whether it's the prices of goods on the street or the competitive rates of serviced apartments and other alternatives to chain hotels, financial concerns undoubtedly play a role in a city's appeal to foreign travelers, and Phnom Penh is relatively affordable. Yet, despite the reasonable prices, that doesn't mean the city is lacking when it comes to quality attractions, restaurants and shops. In fact, there are a few landmarks in particular that should certainly be part of any visit to the city. 

National Museum and beyond
One of the most appealing destinations in Phnom Penh is undoubtedly the city's National Museum. There are seemingly endless exhibits for you to admire, especially those containing artifacts from Cambodia's famous Angkorian sculptures. For a more substantial historic experience, a trip to the city's Silver Pagoda is in order. Located in the larger royal palace complex, the Silver Pagoda stands out as a highlight, and for good reason. As its name suggests, the floor is comprised of silver tiles - more than 5,320 of them - and its historical importance is hard to deny, making it one of the city's must-see attractions.