Amazing National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh

National Olympic Stadium is the largest sports complex in Cambodia. Many people residing in Phnom Penh would visit the stadium during the early morning and late afternoon mainly to exercise. Also, you will see a lot of teenagers and young people there as well to relax and enjoy the weather. It is difficult to find a spacious place like this in the capital where most of the buildings are packed. So, it is an excellent hideout you can escape from this crowded and loud city.

National Olympic Stadium hosted many important sports activities, including GANEFO games, the disabled volleyball world championships, international football matches, etc. However, the sports complex has yet held any Olympic games regardless of its name. This architecture took one year to construct between 1963 and 1964 by the father of modern Khmer architecture, Vann Molyvann. Moreover, the capacity of this stadium can hold up to 70,000 people. This article will explore more into some facts and details of this amazing National Olympic Stadium.

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Amazing National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh

- National Olympic Stadium
Source: Flickr “Louis That”

Background and History

Located in the west of central Phnom Penh, the National Olympic Stadium lies with a space of 30 hectares. The land was previously a racetrack. As a National Sports Complex, the stadium offers many sports arenas, including volleyball, gymnastics, running tracks, swimming pools, etc. Interestingly, the swimming and diving pools are in the Olympic size.

- National Olympic Stadium
Source: Flickr “Geoffrey Pyle”

In addition to this, the indoor volleyball court can host up to 8,000 people. Regarding history, this national stadium was under the control of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979. They used the stadium as an execution site of former officials from the previous regime. Since then and even after the end of Khmer Rouge, the building was in a damaged condition. Until in 2000, the sports complex was renovated and developed by a Taiwanese firm, along with additional commercial properties.

Morodok Techo National Sports Complex

Source: mtn-stadium

Interestingly, the government is constructing another national stadium in Phnom Penh. It is called Morodok Techo National Sports Complex. Currently, the complex is under construction to get ready for the 32nd SEA Games in 2023 with Chinese assistance. Being built on 85 hectares of land, this new sports facility is going to be the largest stadium in Phnom Penh.

Source: mtn-stadium

Furthermore, it will be able to accommodate up to 100,000 people. Expected to complete in 2021, the new National Sports Complex is going to replace the current Olympic Stadium largely. Unlike the National Olympic Stadium which located in the center of the capital, this new stadium is quite far off from the city. Furthermore, the construction is expected to be ready in the year 2021.

Type of events there

- National Olympic Stadium
Source: USAID/Michael Gebremedhin

Although there are not many sports events going on in the stadium, it holds different events once in a while. It serves as a host and arena for any national and international sports matches. Interestingly, people also use the space for any big concerts, marathon, and other charity events. Apart from all of the above, it is generally a spot where people go to exercise, play sports, and relax.

Source: Facebook “Sinara Song”

Why should you go there?

National Olympic Stadium is where you can take a break from everything to enjoy the fresh air or to exercise. It is a place you can keep all your stress and pressure aside for a while. Also, for people who do not want to exercise indoors at the gym or outdoor at the park in public, the National Olympic stadium is the best for you because you will find most people doing the same things like jogging and dancing, so you will not be shy if people are watching you. Sometimes, people would stroll around with friends and talk with each other.

Source: Facebook “Dara Kem”

Also, there are food stalls that you can buy food (more like street foods) from and then find a spot around the area to eat and enjoy the food. There are also volleyball, tennis, and football courts where you can use them as well. Interestingly, there are also swimming pools here. In the evening, you might hear little noise from a building there because people are learning Taekwondo and Karate. They would shout out loud while practicing, so don’t be surprised if you hear it.

National Olympic Stadium Architecture

Source: oneelevengallery

For tourists who are fascinated in learning more about Cambodian architecture, this sports complex is the best site to visit. There are 4 overhanging flat roofs to the west side of the indoor arena. At the center of the roofs, there is one single column that supports each of the roofs. At the base of each column, there are large scuppers that help cool down the seating.

- National Olympic Stadium
Source: Flickr “Chea Phal”

If you are familiar with Molyvann’s architecture style, you may notice that ventilation is an important identity of his works. Hence, it applies the same to the Olympic stadium. There are several holes in the walls and below the seatings to allow air and light to flow inside. In the stadium area, you will find many other amazing and unique sports buildings. So, you will have to go and see for yourself to gain more understanding of Cambodian architecture.

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Source: Flickr “Linh Dinh”

Being an important site of Phnom Penh, the National Olympic Stadium holds historical, architectural, and symbolic values. Although there is not much going on with sports activities, the architectural style of the buildings is worth your visit. For locals, it is one of the best sites to exercise and have fun. Running trails, football, volleyball, and tennis courts, and swimming pools are some of the facilities available for you.

If you are not into sports or exercising, you can sit down and enjoy the fresh air and the views of the buildings and people doing different things. So note down the National Olympic Stadium in your travel list, especially during the weekends.

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