National Museum © Michael Tyler
The National Museum is a striking and famous example of the Khmer architectural tradition and houses the country's most important collection of ancient Cambodian cultural material and Khmer art. It is made up of four galleries containing relics, sculpture, art and crafts covering history from the prehistoric, the pre-Angkorian, the Angkorian, and the post-Angkorian periods of Cambodian culture. The pieces are arranged in chronological order and the already impressive collection continues to grow as new treasures previously hidden from the Khmer Rouge are discovered. The museum houses original relics and sculptures from the temples of Angkor and visiting the museum is a good accompaniment to exploring the temples.
There is a gift shop which sells books, souvenirs and replica sculptures. The museum was built in 1917 (and extended in 1924) and today it has a beautiful central garden with lots of water and greenery which is a lovely serene place to rest and relax after touring the exhibitions. Guided tours in English and French cost a bit extra but they are worthwhile because, although the artefacts are impressive, the printed information in the museum is minimal. Photography is not allowed inside the building.
Address: Next to the Royal Palace, on Streets 178 and 13