Wat Phnom is the oldest and the tallest religious structure in Phnom Penh, it was built 1373 and it stands 27 meters. Wat Phnom means “Temple of the Mountains” or “Mountain Pagoda” and it is a Buddhist Temple.
Legend says that a wealthy widow, Daun Penh, found a large koki tree in the river. Inside the tree she found four bronze statues of the Buddha. Lady Penh constructed a small shrine on an artificial hill to protect the sacred statues. Eventually this became a sacred site and sanctuary where people would make blessings and pray.
Today, many people come here to pray for success and good luck. It is also one of Phnom Penh’s many tourist attractions so you will find a lot of beggars and women and children selling drinks, souvenirs and birds in cages. You buy the birds to let them free but the birds are trained to return to the cage afterwards.