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Phnom Penh, Cambodia: a city regaining its lustre.
Those who have seen Roland Joffe's classic, chilling film 'The Killing Fields' will have a vivid image of the tragedy that beset Cambodia from 1976-1979, when Pol Pot and his brutal Khmer Rouge killed over a million people. The capital, Phnom Penh, was virtually depopulated as city-dwellers were forced out to rural labour camps, or taken to the 'killing fields' and executed, reports the Independent.
Thirty years on, Phnom Penh is a vibrant city buzzing with tuk- tuks, temples, street stalls and markets and home to over a million people. The last few years have seen the arrival of a selection of world-class boutique hotels, and equally upmarket eateries. Try the French restaurants in the Sisowath Quay area, where the Tonlé Sap and Mekong rivers meet; there are dozens of local eateries too, where you can savour typical Cambodian dishes.
Phnom Penh's must-see places are the Royal Palace (open 7.30-11am and 2.30-5pm, £2) and the National Museum (8am-5pm, £2) which both have a wealth of Buddhist statuary. The Art Deco Central Market, with its enormous dome, is also worth a visit as an architectural example of French influence in the city. On a more sombre note, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum houses a haunting photo gallery of the Pol Pot years.
Sumptuous accommodation is available at The Foreign Correspondent's Club (00 855 232 10142; fcccambodia.com), with doubles from £83 for two nights, including breakfast. Its al fresco sunset views and Asian fusion menu are guaranteed to impress.