The Post Offices of Phnom Penh

By Graham Shaw

In 2004, there were a total of seven (7) distrct post offices within the Municipality of Phnom Penh, the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia.  The headquarters of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPTC) is also based in the northern part of the capital directly adjacent to the Central Post Office (CPO) for Cambodia, making a total of eight (8) locations from where mail can be sent and received in Phnom Penh.


Fig. 1: Street map and postcode areas of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, showing the location of each of the 8 post offices open for services in 2004.

Central Post Office, Phnom Penh
The newly renovated Central Post Office (CPO) building began public services once again on April 8, 2004.  The temporary post office used over the past year or more is now utilised for EMS - Express Mail Service of Cambodia - as well as for registered mail [author: by 2010, the registered mail section had been moved to the main building of the post office].  The CPO is open every day of the week from 7.30am until 5pm and is even open on public holidays, virtually the only Government service in Cambodia to be so.  Post restante facilities are available in the main building as is a philately counter and various telecommunications and money transfer services, including internet access.  Mail sorting activities can also be viewed within the newly refurbished building.


Fig. 2: The newly renovated central post office in Phnom Penh that re-opened April 8, 2004.

To the rear of the CPO is the compound of the MPTC, the focal point for all post and telecommunications services in Cambodia and the primary postal link for Cambodia with the outside world.

Address:  Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Ang Eng (Street 13), Corner of Street 102, Phnom Penh, 12000, Cambodia.

Postmarks:
                                     
Fig. 3: The rarely seen RP5 postmark               Fig. 4: COD (Cancelled on Departure)

                                       
Fig. 5: COA (Cancelled on Arrival)                      Fig. 6: Only recently seen, the CA
                                                                                  (Cancelled on Arrival) postmark

There are also a total of seven (7) district, or branch, post offices within the Municipality of Phnom Penh.

Boeng Pralit District Post Office
The Boeng Pralit District Post Office (DPO) is a more formal building and larger than most other DPO's in the capital with the exception of Chhbar Ampeov (see below).  Boeng Pralit is also designated as the Central Post Office (CPO) for Phnom Penh 3 District and thereby contains post office boxes.  It is located close to the intersection of two main roads - Monivong Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard - towards the southern end of central Phnom Penh.  Many of the United Nations, international organisations and non-governmental organisations that are located nearby rent PO Boxes at Boeng Pralit.


Fig. 7: Boeng Pralit DPO signboard in Khmer and English languages; this is the standard format for all post offices in Cambodia.

Address:  Sihanouk Boulevard (Street 274), Corner Monivong Boulevard, Phnom Penh, 12258, Cambodia.

Postmarks:

                
Fig. 8: Boeng Pralit postmark       


Fig. 9: Exterior of Boeng Pralit DPO, Phnom Penh


Fig. 10: Interior of Boeng Pralit DPO

Of note is that the Boeng Pralit postmark spells 'Pralit' – a type of plant that grows in lakes – with an 'a' (PrAlit) whereas the official MPTC sign outside the DPO spells it with an 'o' (PrOlit). As with most of the other DPO postmarks, the name of the country is spelt in French ('Cambodge') and the month is shown numerically (e.g. '04'). Neither the postcode nor the Express Mail Service (EMS) logo is shown on the postmark.

Boeng Salang District Post Office
The DPO of Boeng Salang is located in one of the less affluent areas of Phnom Penh, towards the southwest of the city. The DPO itself is used as a normal house and is one of the smallest post offices currently operating in Cambodia.


Fig. 11: Boeng Salang DPO signboard                  


Fig. 12: Interior of Boeng Salang DPO

Address: No. 217, Monireth Boulevard (Street 217), Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Postmarks:

Fig. 13: Boeng Salang postmark showing the Express Mail Service (EMS) mark

Boeng Salang has one distinction, however. It is one of only two known post offices in Cambodia that shows the name of the country in English ('Cambodia') rather than the far more common French version ('Cambodge'); only the Olympic DPO (see below) produces this relative postmark rarity.

A further rarity only shared with the Olympic DPO is the appearance of the month alphabetically (i.e. 'APR') on the Boeng Salang DPO postmark. There is no known reason for these irregularities experienced by the Boeng Salang and Olympic DPO's, although additional research is required.

Chhbar Ampeou District Post Office
Situated to the far southeast of the city, Chhbar Ampeov DPO, in existence since at least the late 1950's, lies across the Tonle Bassac River from central Phnom Penh and at the start of National Road number 1 that ultimately ends up in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in southern Vietnam. Chhbar Ampeov is one of the more substantial post office buildings in the capital and sits very close to the bustling market of the same name.


Fig. 14: Chhbar Ampeou DPO signboard

Address: National Road No. 1, Phnom Penh, 12355, Cambodia

Postmarks:

Fig. 15: An old and worn postmark used at Chhbar Ampeou DPO


Fig. 16: A close-up of the western script of the postmark


Fig. 17: Exterior of the Chhbar Ampeou DPO, not one of the most attractive buildings in Phnom Penh

Chbar Ampeou DPO uses the French-language text of 'Cambodge' on its postmark. In addition, there is no postcode shown under the date of cancellation.

Dangkor District Post Office
Located almost directly opposite Pochentong Market, Dangkor DPO is situated to the far west of Phnom Penh along National Road number 4 (linking Phnom Penh with Sihanoukville) and is only about 5 minutes drive from the international airport. Although the name written in English on the sign indicates that there is an 'or' sound at the end of the word, the Khmer language word ends in more of an 'ow' sound, as in 'cow'; this is an important difference if you are asking for directions to this DPO.


Fig. 18: Dangkor DPO signboard

Address:  National Road No. 4, Pochentong, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Postmarks:

Fig. 19: Part of the Dangkor postmark is worn towards the bottom, right and at the very top


Fig. 20: A close-up of the western script of the postmark

Olympic District Post Office


Fig. 21: The Olympic DPO signboard


Fig. 22: Interior of the Olympic DPO

Address: No. 113-115, Street 199, Phnom Penh, 12309, Cambodia

Postmarks:

Fig. 23: The Olympic DPO postmark, one of only two known to exist in English rather than the more common French

The Olympic DPO postmark is notable for spelling the country's name in English rather than the French language. In addition, the month is shown alphabetically (i.e. 'APR') rather than numerically (i.e. '04') as is the case in all other DPO's - except for Boeng Salang - and the central PO.

A truly unique aspect of the Olympic DPO postmark is the postcode being shown, i.e. '12300', which is not the case with any other post office in the capital. Olympic DPO is also the only postmark that includes a hyphen between its branch name and Cambodia ('Olympic-Cambodia'). Further research is required to ascertain why this uniqueness exists
.

Pochentong District Post Office
(Phnom Penh International Airport)

As with many airports, Phnom Penh International Airport provides post and telecommunications services to the public. Of note is that Phnom Penh International Airport is not actually located within the Municipal boundaries of the capital but lies in the surrounding province of Kandal.


Fig. 24: The Pochentong DPO sign at Phnom Penh International Airport.; the sign is in Khmer, English and French languages


Fig. 25: The airport post office that uses the Pochentong postmark

Address: Phnom Penh International Airport (between the departure and arrival halls), National Road No. 4, Kandal Province, Cambodia

Postmarks:

Fig. 26: The Pochentong DPO postmark


Fig. 27: The Pochentong postmark as used on a domestic posting to the Central PO, Phnom Penh

Tuk Laak District Post Office
This DPO is located near the intersection of two busy roads (Mao Tse-Tung Boulevard and Kampuchea Krom Boulevard) towards the western part of Phnom Penh and is almost opposite Samaki Market. Tuk Laak DPO usually opens Monday through Friday from around 7.30am until approximately 11am. As with all Provincial and District PO's in Cambodia, the staff receive a salary, normally in the region of US$10-20 per month, that is insufficient to sustain themselves, nor their family, and therefore they are forced to seek other forms of income generation during the remainder of each day. During national holidays and weekends, all post offices in Cambodia are closed to the public (although many double as housing and therefore may appear to be open even though no postal services are offered).


Fig. 28: The Tuk Laak DPO sign

Address: No. 486BC, Mao Tse-Tung Boulevard (Street 245), Phnom Penh, 12156, Cambodia.

Postmark:

Fig. 29: Tuk Laak DPO postmark

As with many of the other DPO's in Phnom Penh, Tuk Laak is seldom used with only 1-2 people per day making use of any of its facilities according to an interview conducted with the postmistress.

Conclusions
No postmarks of the DPO's in Phnom Penh show, in either Khmer, French or English languages, that they are located within the Cambodian capital.

Olympic and Boeng Salang are the only DPO's using the English language format for their postmarks of 'Cambodia' and the date abbreviation in letters, e.g. 'Apr.' and the year shown in full, e.g. '2004'. This contrasts with all of the other DPO's, and the central PO, that show the French language postmark of 'Cambodge', the month in numerals, e.g. '04' and the year abbreviated, e.g. '04'. Further research is required to identify the reasons for these differences.

In addition, only the Olympic DPO shows the postcode on its postmark; Boeng Salang has – somewhat strangely – 'EMS', for Express Mail Service, appearing below the date of cancellation on its postmark, alone in Phnom Penh in using this as part of its regular postmark (but not alone with regards to post offices elsewhere in Cambodia).


Comparison of Postmark Information of District Post Offices within Phnom Penh


A full set of Central and District Postmarks, Phnom Penh, Cambodia



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