Phnom Penh Royal Palace

Phnom Penh Royal Palace
Entrance ticket at Phnom Penh Royal Palace

Entrance ticket at Phnom Penh Royal Palace

The marvels of the complex of buildings called Phnom Penh Royal Palace has served as the royal residence of the kings of Cambodia since it was built in the 1860s, with the only period of absence during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge. King Norodom had it built atop an old citadel after relocating the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-19th century – though most of King Norodom era buildings have been completely demolished.

Phnom Penh Royal Palace (its full name in Khmer language is Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol) is located at the Western bank of the cross division of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River, facing east. It is a great example of Khmer architecture and features a layout of the defensive wall, stupas, towering spires, mural paintings, the throne hall and the impressive Silver Pagoda, with a floor made up of 5329 silver tiles, weighing 1.125 kilograms each. This is one of the highlights of a visit to this palace.

Phnom Penh Royal Palace

Phnom Penh Royal Palace

Most of the palace buildings including the King’s living area (which is closed to public) have had some major modifications to its buildings over time, with the Silver Pagoda having to be rebuilt completely as the original structure was aging and was too weak to stand.

The palace has always been a popular tourist attraction in Phnom Penh. Visitors are able to wander around the Silver Pagoda compound and the central compound – though most of the buildings, including the King’s living area, is closed to the public. Sure, if you have been to other palaces in Asia, you come here with high expectations which are a bit dashed once inside the compound: no explanation boards, some buildings closed or roped off, and if you do not hire a guide it is hard to get anything out of a visit.

Phnom Penh Royal Palace

Phnom Penh Royal Palace

Another highlight of Phnom Penh Royal Palace is the manicured gardens, yet, with temperature soaring to 40 degrees Celcius and not much shelter in the palace grounds, an umbrella and lots of water are advised especially for a visit during afternoon hours.

One of the clear advantages of a visit to Phnom Penh Royal Palace is that you can enjoy similar architectural style to, say, Bangkok Royal Palace but without the crowds and the frustrations. A peaceful visit after all, as the palace is hardly ever crowded.

Monks at Phnom Penh Royal Palace

Monks at Phnom Penh Royal Palace

That said, the experience was worth it, very educational and with interesting architecture, and since there is little to visit in Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh Royal Palace is quite an attraction. If you don’t start making comparisons to other royal palaces in Asia, you will, like me, enjoy the visit…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Palace,_Phnom_Penh

Accommodation in Phnom Penh:

http://asianitinerary.com/pandan-boutique-hotel/

http://asianitinerary.com/the-kabiki/

While in Phnom Penh, do not miss the new season of Cambodian Living Arts shows at the National Theatre:

http://asianitinerary.com/plae-pakaa-phnom-penh-new-season/

http://asianitinerary.com/jolana-jongjam-dance-festival/ 

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more then fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on www.asianitinerary.com

View all articles by Thomas Gennaro