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Royal Palace Phnom Penh
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Royal Palace is the residence of the royal family of Cambodia. It was built in the late 1800s, when King Norodom decided to move the capital of Cambodia from a town called Oudong to Phnom Penh that we know of today. Since then, multiple other kings have made their own additions to the palace, including King Sisowath, adding a throne hall; King Monivong, adding the royal chapel, and King Sihanouk. Currently, the palace is a working palace, acting as a residence and as a host to dignitaries from all over the world. It's also the spot to congregate when a royal dies, with a three month commemoration happening within the palace (note that the palace may be closed to visitors but open to mourners on such days).
Entrance to the palace is around $5. Some people online would say that the admission is expensive (apparently $20 to enter!) - perhaps because they used a third party company to buy their tickets or got their tickets from touts outside the palace. Best to just buy at the official ticket booths once you go inside the palace. The whole palace spans a couple of blocks and is across the street from the Mekong River.
It's best to eat before you go inside the Palace, as there are very limited choices for eating once inside. Within the river, you'll find a lot of establishments to buy your food and drink, but most of them are Western priced.
What to See
- The Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo) - one of the first things that you'll see when you go inside the palace complex, tucked in an area to the side, the Silver Pagoda is noted for the the priceless Buddha statues that our housed within its walls. The more noted is the Emerald Buddha, made from 17th century baccarat crystals, and another Buddha that's decorated with 9,000+ diamonds. No photos are allowed inside the pagoda and shoes are required to be left outside.
- The Throne Hall (PReah Thineang Dheva Vinnichay Mohai Moha Prasat) - while the buiding itself is not open to visitors, you can catch a glimpse of the throne hall from a roped off area outside the building. The decor is yellow gold, and the chairs are also decked out in gold, and is absolutely grandiose. The exterior of the building is also one of the more striking in the compound, and is still being used for royal ceremonies, such as royal weddings and coronations.
- Moonlight Pavilion (Preah Thineang Chan Chhaya) - serves as a stage where the King would address his subjects, and also a venue to host Khmer classical dances and royal banquets. The one in the palace was constructed in 1914. You can actually see part of the structure from the outside as it was built on the wall of the palace.
- The King's Quarters - You may notice that the palace compound is large and sprawling, but most of it is separated off by some barricades. These borders the king's quarters, which are off limits to the public. You may take photos of the buildings from the outside as you please though.
- The Gardens - the palace has well maintained gardens that are spread
across the compound.
After the Royal Palace, you can go see the Riverfront (but beware of scams, see below), the the National Museum of Cambodia, and if you want to walk a bit further, walk to the Independence Monument, or Central Market.
- What to wear - The palace requires that you cover your shoulders, upper arms, and your knees so no shorts or sleeveless dresses for the ladies, and same for the men. The Cambodians treat this place with respect, so you should respect their rules. You can, however, wear sandals or buy some clothes at the market should you not have anything packed.
- Scams happening outside - Outside the palace, there are touts that will say that the palace is closed or offering you tuk tuk tours for $1. Please ignore these touts. The palace is open most of the time (although double check with the website as certain events such as a death of a royal family member can instantly cause the palace to close). As the palace is near the riverfront (where most scams happen), they ask you where you're from and try to engage in conversation with you. It's not bad to talk to locals or other foreigners but once they start offering to take you to their house, proceed with caution. There is a known gambling scam happening where you can lose a lot of your hard earned cash.
- Always get your hostel or hotel to write down their address in Khmer or remember any landmarks nearby (better yet, bring a map with you). Not all of the tuk tuk drivers know where to go as soon as you say the address. Sometimes, the drivers would just give you a map they keep and ask you to point out where you are staying, but even get lost too! (Be patient if that happens, just get out of the tuk tuk and find another one)
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Author: ruby917. Last updated: Apr 02, 2015