While touring Phnom Penh a visit to the national museum is a must. Inaugurated in 1920 the museum is home to archeological finds of early Cambodia. With traces of the Christian era and the 2 main dominant religions of the land; Hinduism and Buddhism, the country has a wealth of artifacts that were preserved by the Khmer dynasty and these are now on display at the national museum. The Phnom Penh National Museum is located in central Phnom Penh on Street 13 next to the Royal Palace. Visitors may purchase tickets and enter through the corners of street 13 and 178.
The Museum is open daily from 8 am until 5 pm and tickets are sold at both booths until 430 pm. Arrive early to enjoy the beauty of the exhibits as a walk through would take about an hour and a half for 2 hours. That being said one must note that the museum is not huge but the large number of exhibits on display tend to attract ones attention and hence one may loose track of time. Admission costs for locals and tourists differ. Tourists pay an entry fee of $5 however locals pay 500 riyels. Children enter free into the museum as do school groups.
For those looking to get further insight into the exhibits guided tours are available onsite. A guide can be booked for a mere $3. Guides speak English, French, Japanese and Khmer. Choose a guide to take you on a tour in the language of your preference. A guide also helps answer any questions you may have while inside the museum.
Photography is strictly prohibited while onsite. Those looking to get pictures of the exhibits for research or study may do so by speaking with the staff onsite. Alternatively the guests are also welcome to email the museum and request for photographs and those will be provided. Photography is prohibited as the flash of the camera tends to react negatively with the artifacts. It is also prohibited to prevent misuse.
The Phnom Penh has an amazing gift store at the entrance. Post cards displaying the exhibits, replica sculptures and books are sold at the gift store One will also note donation boxes located at the entrance. All donations are used to support the functioning and day to day maintenance of the facility.
A walk through the museum will give you and indepth understanding of the Buddhist and Hindu cultures. Inside the museum is a pond with Koi fish. Guests can enjoy feeding the fish while at the pond while also using it as time to rest after several paces through the museum. This location tends to gather the interest of the adults and children alike. The pond adds to the serenity and peace of the museum. The original statures of the ruins of the Angkor Wat temple lie in the museum as to the ruins of Siem Reap.
The courtyard at the National Museum is Phnom Penh is a great place for tourists to relax. A number of locals sell Jasmine flowers to the tourists to offer to Buddha for good luck. The courtyard also sells cold beverages and snacks thereby making it an ideal place to rest after a visit to the museum.
In the evening the museum hosts skits and dances depicting the culture and lifestyle of the land. This is of great amusement to children and adults alike as both tend to learn different aspects via these skits and dances.
The National Museum in Phnom Penh is a major landmark and a tourist attraction. Booking a tour to the museum is extremely easy. Most tuk tuks will gladly passenger tourists to the location for a minimal cost. Once at the museum book your ticket at the entry gate and a guide if you like. While some tourists would state that the visit may not be suitable to younger kids others would state that children learn a lot from the tour and hence recommend it. One will see several children asking tour guides intelligent questions about the artifacts and history. Archeology buffs and history fanatics gain a lot from the tour. A visit to the museum either before or after a visit to Siem Reap ruins or the Royal Palace helps to put the artifacts in perspective.