The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace, Phnom Penh © Justin Vidamo
The Royal Palace is one of the principal attractions of Phnom Penh and contains the best examples of 20th-century Khmer architecture in the city. The palace has remained the official residence of the kings of Cambodia since 1860. Set among the perfectly maintained gardens you can find the exquisite Throne Hall, the Elephant Pavilion where the king's elephants were kept, the Royal Treasury, and the Chan Chaya Pavilion which was made especially for performances of classical Cambodian dance.
Although much of the palace complex is off-limits to the public, the Silver Pagoda is open to visitors. This remarkable building is the highlight of the compound and takes its name from the floor of the temple, which is completely covered in silver tiles. The internal walls are decorated with frescoes depicting episodes of the Ramayana myth, painted in 1903 by 40 Khmer artists. It is also called the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha, a tribute to the magnificent baccarat crystal image of the Emerald Buddha that sits in the centre on a gilt pedestal. There are other intricately carved Buddha images on display, notably the life-size solid gold statue that stands in front of the pedestal, decorated with 9,584 diamonds.
Remember to dress conservatively and respectfully when visiting the Royal Palace; bare shoulders or legs are frowned upon within the complex.
Address: 63, Street 348, Sangkat Toul Svay Prey II, Khan Chamkamorn, Phnom Penh
Opening times: Daily 8am-10.30am, 2pm-5pm.
Admission: $10 per person.