National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh
Tel: 855 23 211 53
Concierge.com's insider take:
With its wide-ranging collection of Cambodian antiquities, the fetching National Museum of Cambodia is an ideal adjunct to the monumental ruins of Angkor. Dedicated in 1920, the red sandstone, Khmer-style structure holds a trove of artifacts, organized chronologically in a series of open galleries surrounding a lush interior courtyard. Visitors are greeted by an immense, 10th-century statue of a winged garuda from Koh Ker, a remote temple in the north-central plains. Other treasures include an 11th-century reclining Vishnu (one of the largest bronzes ever cast in southeast Asia), and a 13th-century statue of the Leper King from Angkor Thom, now the centerpiece of the harmonious courtyard. There are also several rescued pieces, such as a 12th-century bas-relief plundered from Banteay Chhmar temple in western Cambodia and returned by the Thai government in 2000. The inventory also includes 19th-century ivory-and-wood elephant saddles and several venerated images, such as a 15th-century Buddha, still worshipped by devout Cambodians who bring offerings of flowers, incense, and money (imagine that happening at the Met). English-speaking guides are available, although most signage is in English, French, and Khmer. Just north of the museum, Street 178 is lined with numerous art galleries, should you yearn for your own bust or portrait of Jayavarman VII, the king who built the Bayon, Ta Prohm, and Srah Srang.—Christopher Cox
Open daily 8 to 11 am and 2 to 5 pm.