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Located on the banks of the Mekong, Phomh Penh has retained much of the old-world character its counterparts in the rest of Asia have lost. Skyscrapers are still a rarity, the old French boulevards are lined with mildewing mansions, and there are plenty of traditional markets to browse. The city’s pride and joy, however, is its Silver Pagoda in the royal palace complex, which houses national treasures such as a life-sized Maitreya statue made from 90kg of solid gold and 9584 diamonds, and a Buddha of jade-coloured baccarat crystal mounted on a gilded pedestal. Anyone interested in the darker side of the country’s recent history should also visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, commemorating victims of the Pol Pot regime.