By , August 16, 2013 7:16 am
While my most poignant memories of Phnom Penh are of the genocide museum and killing fields, there were a few more things that the city had to offer.

Royal Palace

The royal palace of Cambodia is still the main residence of the monarchy. You can visit the grounds, but many of the buildings are off limits. The gardens are beautiful, and the buildings are nice. The famed silver pagoda is here, housing two marvels. A giant golden Buddha figure, and a floor covered entirely in silver tiles. I found them both a bit of a let down. The tile floor was almost entirely covered in carpet, leaving only hints of its silvery greatness showing. Likewise, the gold and jewel encrusted buddha was locked behind a glass display case which was so dirty, you could hardly see any shine at all.

The Cultural Centre Performances

These theatrical performances show you insights into the traditions, beliefs, and culture of the Khmer people. They are a spectacle including English translations, costumes, and live music. I really enjoyed the performance we attended which talked about the various rituals traditionally performed at birth, marriage, sickness, and death. More than just a source of entertainment, the Cultural Centre also acts as a school, teaching traditional dramatic and musical arts to a new generation. These traditional artistic elements were almost completely lost during the time of the Khmer Rouge, as an estimated 90% of artists were killed in the genocide. Much of their preservation to the present day can be attributed to this organization.

Other Sites Around Town

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