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Tags : Temple

Timings : 6 AM to 6 PM

Time Required : 2 to 3 hours

Entry Fee : Free entry

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Wat Ounalom, Phnom Penh Overview

Wat Ounalom is a prominent temple located in front of the Tonle Sap River in the capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The pagoda is the headquarters of Cambodian Mohanikay order of Buddhism and is home to the head monk in the country. It is one of the top attractions in Siem Reap for tourists for its central, scenic location next to the river and being the centre of Buddhism in Cambodia.

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Best time to visit

The best time to visit Wat Ounalom is early in the morning or late afternoon when the weather is pleasant.

What to wear

As with the other temples in Cambodia, it is expected that tourists dress appropriately. Women need to cover their shoulder at all times and wear knee-length attire. Sleeveless shirts and shorts aren't also allowed for both men and women. The rules are strictly followed, and you might be denied entry by the guards if you fail to obey them.

Wat Ounalom History & Significance

Wat Ounalom was built in 1422 during the reign of King Ponhea Yat, comprising of 44 structures in the complex. It is one of the five original monasteries in Phnom Penh. It originally consisted of more than 30,000 volumes of ancient Buddhist writings and served as the central library of the Buddhist Institute. The temple suffered heavily during the Khmer Rouge when many important monks were killed and monuments, including many of the Buddhist scripts, were destroyed. 

It serves as an important religious, administrative and teaching centre for Buddhism today and houses more than 500 monks practising Buddhism. Wat Ounalom consists of meditation centres, classrooms, monasteries, shrines, stupas, many quarters for monks and nuns. The most popular attraction in this temple is a hair from Buddha's eyebrow, from which it gets the name Ounalom. It is carefully preserved in a building behind the main temple complex.

How To Reach Wat Ounalom

Wat Ounalom is located on Sisowath Quay near the Royal Palace of Cambodia and National Museum close to the city centre of Phnom Penh and takes about 25 to 30 minutes to reach on foot, and you can easily plan to cover all these attractions on a single day. You can rent a motorbike for about 8 USD per day to get there. Or you can hire a Tuk-Tuk for about 10 USD for a round trip, which can be shared. The price also includes waiting charges.

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