Once called the Pearl of Asia, the Cambodian capital is an international master of disguise. The grand boulevards are graced by colonial French-era buildings, evocative shop-houses hide like secrets around every corner, and striking Chinese temples and royal Khmer palace rooftops are camouflaged by a growing number of high-rises that puncture the skyline.
This is all just to prepare you for the assault on the senses to come in the following days. Modern Phnom Penh is abuzz with life: packed markets overwhelm; crowded boats ferrying passengers across the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap bewilder; and revving motor scooters whizz past like you’re in a scene from a James Bond film. The Pearl of Asia name tag still counts – it just needs a little polish every now and again.