Wats & Pagodas
There are some beautiful Wats located in Phnom Penh and they are very welcoming and friendly to the foreign traveler. When you visit any of the Pagodas and Wats though please be respectful of the other visitors, worshippers and especially the resident monks. Wear conservative clothing and remove your hat when on Pagoda grounds when entering inside temple areas remove your shoes. Both the locals and Monks will be appreciative of this simple courtesy. There are many Wats around Phnom Penh below are some of the most popular and oldest in the city.
Wat Botum (Temple of the Lotus Blossoms) is located at Oknha Suor Srun Street 7, Sangkat Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh. It is situated to the south of the Royal Palace on the western side of Wat Botum Park.
This is one of Phnom Penhs original Wats it is said to be founded by King Ponhea Yat in the 15th century. Wat Botum is one of the most important and original pagodas in Phnom Penh. It is a very colorful and picturesque Wat a great photo opportunity with many elaborate Stupas in the compound pride of place is the “Buddhas relic Stupa”.
Wat Lang Ka
A colourful Wat redecorated in fresh paint, is the second of Phnom Penh’s Wats to be reconstructed. Chambers of vihara display the scenes and life of Buddha. Located on Sihanoukville blvd near the independence monument. It gets its name from its historic ties with monks in Sri Lanka. The pagoda monks here are highly regarded teachers.
Within the vihara scenes from the Buddha’s life feature an idiosyncratic local touch – one shows Angkor Wat, while another depicts tourists climbing Wat Phnom. On some days they hold One-hour silent meditation sessions , supervised by English-speaking monks.
Wat Maoh Montrei
This Wat was named after Chakrue Ponn, who was one of King Monivong’s ministers. He was honoured for initiating the founding of the pagoda. Moha Montrei means ’The Great Minister’.
It is located on Sihanouk Boulevard in Phnom Penh, Built in 1970, it was used by the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979 as a storage house for rice and corn. The vihara is topped with a 35 metre tower that risers above the ground.
There are assorted Cambodian touches incorporated into the wall murals of the vihara , which tell the story of Buddha. The angels accompanying Buddha to heaven are dressed as classical Khmer dancers, while the assembled officials wear the white military uniforms of the Sihanouk period.
Wat Ounalom is the headquarters of the Cambodian Buddhist patriarchate, founded in 1443, where the head of the Buddhist hierarchy resides, along with a large number of Monks. The main building consists of 3 floors, where you’ll find remnants of the destruction from the Khmer Rouge, statues of Buddhist historical reference and decorated walls showing scenes of the life of Buddha.
It is located on the cnr of Street 154 & Sothearos Blvd, right near the river front. Built in 1443 to enshrine an eyebrow hair (ounalom) of Lord Buddha, the shrine was once home to more than 500 monks and housed the Buddhist Institute’s library that has a collection of over 30,000 titles. Between 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge caused serious damage to the Wat’s valuable cultural artifacts and book collection as well as taking away the lives of the majority of monks who lived there during this period.
Admission: US$1 Open: 7am – 5.30pm dailyWat Phnom is known to be the symbol of Cambodia, a popular destination to view the remaining monuments, and one that shows evidence of the natural jungle overgrowth, and its inevitable destruction. Guarded by lions, and naga, a mythical serpent, is the entrance to the home of the first Pagoda. Built in 1373, it was to house four Buddha statues that were washed from the Mekong River and had settled here. Here you’ll fine the ashes of King Ponhea Yat, the statues of the Madame Penh, (the woman who discovered the four Buddha’s), and the shrine of Preah Chau.It also offers a short elephant ride, take the opportunity, it’s a perfect photo to take home!