Now the liveliest part of Phnom Penh, the National Museum neighborhood has seen a bohemian renaissance take hold in recent years between 172 and 178 Streets. Packed with shops, galleries and dining spots as well as low-rise apartment buildings crowned with electric cables hanging haphazardly above the sidewalk, the area has as its focal point the majestic brick-red pagoda-style National Museum of Cambodia. The museum adjoins the Royal University of Fine Arts, both of which were closed in the 1970s under the brutal Khmer Rouge dictatorship. Thirty years on, a creative community is thriving again. Neighborhood streets on any given day are the scene of film crews setting up, traditional dance rehearsals and photo shoots.
Garden of Desire – The Siem Reap-born and French-educated designer Ly Pisith, uses his memories of the violent clashes under the Khmer Rouge regime as inspiration for designing much of his high-end contemporary jewelry crafted from silver, gold and natural stones.