Discover The Royal Palace - Phnom Phen
To get a glimpse of Cambodia’s magnificent past, there is no need to go out of Phnom Penh. TripGuru simply recommends a trip to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, the official residence of the Cambodian King.
While comparatively younger than Angkor Wat, as it was only built in 1866, the Royal Palace complex showcases an interesting mix of Khmer and European architecture. It is composed of several buildings near the riverfront, several of which are accessible to the public. These include the magnificent Throne Hall with its gold-colored roof and the Chanchhaya Pavilion (or Moonlight Pavilion) where state banquets are held. Various exhibits of royal artefacts and regalia are on display at the Hor Samran Phirun and Hor Samrith Phimean (Bronze Palace). A seemingly out-of-place European villa can be also found in the Royal Palace complex—this is the Napoleon III Pavilion, a gift from France in 1876. Meanwhile, the Silver Pagoda is just next door, connected to the Royal Palace complex via a walkway. Officially called Wat Preah Keo Morokat (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the temple got its nickname from the 5329 solid silver tiles that cover its floors. However, that’s not the only reason to see the temple, as its walls are also adorned by intricate frescoes from the Cambodian epic Reamker. Other shrines, such as Phnom Mondop and Keon Preah Bath, plus the many stupas of the late monarchs of the Khmer empire, are nearby.
A trip to the Royal Palace can be seen as a break from the hustle and bustle of the city; it is seemingly an island of peace and quiet. But since parts of the palace complex are still in use by the Cambodian royal family, visitors are expected to dress modestly as a show of respect. This means that guests should wear knee-length bottoms; bare shoulders are not allowed. Otherwise, they are required to rent coverings at the entrance of the palace. Guides are also available at the entrance.
The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are open from 7:30 to 11 am, and from 2 pm to 5 pm. However, travelers are advised to check opening hours beforehand, as the complex may be closed for special functions and events. It is also best to arrive in the morning to avoid the harsh noontime sun and to get the best light for photographs. Just located on Sothearos Boulevard, the palace is easy to reach—simply ride Bus Line 01 and get off at Stop 37; or flag down many of the tuk-tuks around the city.
What our experts tell about this experience.
The Royal Palace was one of the places on my bucket list, so I was happy to be able to visit. The Silver Pagoda was enjoyable overall and it was awe-inspring, seeing the different shrines and stupas that were there. I'm already planning my second trip, but bringing along a few friends for more fun.