Royal Palace Description:
The Royal Palace of Phnom Penh has housed Cambodia’s royalty since the late 19th century.
The Royal Palace was completed in 1866 after the capital of Cambodia was moved to Phnom Penh from the city of Oudong. King Norodom had been seeking protection from the rising power of the Kingdom of Siam (Thailand), and brokered a deal for Cambodia to become a protectorate and colony under French Indochina in 1863. After the agreement was reached, the capital of Cambodia was moved to Phnom Penh, and a French governor was installed.
The Royal Palace’s compound is divided into four main sections spread through a lush garden.
The Throne Hall is a single story structure with a triangular roof capped by three golden spires. It was here that the business of Cambodia’s court was conducted on a daily basis. There are three royal thrones on display inside the hall. The largest is a traditional Khmer throne with nine stone tiers ascending like a pyramid. The other two are modern, European style chairs that appear to be infinitely more comfortable. Above the royal seats, frescoes on the ceiling tell the story of the Reamker, a Khmer version of the Hindu epic Ramayana.
The Moonlight Pavilion is an audience hall used a stage for performances of classical Khmer dances and operas. The building is still used for royal receptions, performances, and the occasional speech delivered by King Norodom Sihamoni, whose coronation feast took place here in 2004.
The Silver Pagoda is the royal chapel and sanctuary. Often called Wat Preah Keo, it houses several of Cambodia’s most revered Buddhist icons. There are numerous Buddha statues wrought from precious metals including gold within the shrine, but the Silver Pagoda’s diamond studded Maitreya Buddha image steals the limelight with more than 9,000 precious gems covering its surface. In the late 20th century Cambodia’s penultimate king, Norodom Sihanouk, had thousands of silver tiles inlayed into the temple’s floors, and it has since been called the Silver Pagoda.
The Khemarin Palace is the official residence of the King of Cambodia, and is separated from the rest of the compound by a low wall. Decidedly modest compared to the other structures on the grounds, the Khemarin Palace is rarely open to the public, but visitors can stroll around the outside for a better look.
Best Time to Visit Royal Palace:
The Royal Palace is best visited between December and May during Cambodia’s dry season. The heat and humidity begin to rise in June, and continue to do so as the rainy season progresses through November. Powerful but short rain showers often blow through Phnom Penh during this time of year, bringing a welcome respite from the high temperatures.
How to get to Royal Palace:
The Royal Palace is located near Phnom Penh’s Riverside, close to the Foreign Correspondent’s Club. Our guests typically reach the area in a private vehicle while touring the city.
Royal Palace Highlights:
The Royal Palace is one of Phnom Penh’s foremost attractions. Its lush gardens, beautiful architecture, and priceless relics are some of the most memorable sights for our guests enjoying Cambodia tours.
It’s best to dress in modest attire if you’re planning to visit the Royal Palace. Cambodian’s have a deep respect for anything associated with their country’s royal family, and the Silver Pagoda on the grounds is an important Buddhist religious site.