Explore Phnom Penh's ancient and modern history on a 2-day journey with a private guide and driver. On the first day, visit the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and National Museum to witness ancient artifacts. One the second day, travel to the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to confront the 20th century.
Arrive at the Phnom Penh airport, obtain your Cambodian visa, and then clear Immigration and Customs. Collect your baggage and meet your guide outside the airport holding a sign with your name on it. Drive to your hotel—La Rose Suites—a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of Cambodia's bustling capital.
After getting settled, spend the afternoon with your guide touring the city. Visit the Royal Palace, built in 1866 by King Norodom. Admire the beautiful pagodas that make up the campaign, along with its beautiful garden. Travel to the Silver Pagoda, named for its gorgeous silver tiles making up the floor. See the gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds in addition to a small, 17th-century baccarat crystal Buddha.
Next, tour the National Museum. Built in 1917, it features an impressive architecture and is devoted to preserving Khmer art and sculptures. Hundreds of pieces are housed in the museum, including both pre- and post-Angkorian pieces. Finally, visit the city's namesake, Wat Phnom. Founded in 1373, the pagoda was built to house Buddhist relics washed ashore by the river.
Later in the afternoon, enjoy a one-hour sunset cruise on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. The boat passes floating villages, providing excellent views of the city's rapidly changing skyline.
Meet your guide in the morning and drive to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Between 1975 and 1978, about 17,000 men, women, children, and infants were detained and tortured at S-21 prison, and transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek. There they were typically bludgeoned to death to avoid wasting bullets. Fragments of human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around various pits. Over 8,000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988.
Continue to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. In 1975, Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot's security forces and transformed into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). It was the largest detention and torture center in the country. More than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek to be executed. Detainees who died during torture were buried in mass graves in the prison ground. Walk from room to room, seeing photographs of men, women, and children covering the walls from floor to ceiling—virtually all the people pictured were later killed.
Continue to the Russian Market, a lively outdoor market containing antiques, silver and gold jewelry, gems, silk, kramas, stone and wood carvings, in addition to a variety of souvenirs. After a reflective afternoon, get transported to the airport in time for your flight to the next destination.