Among all the things I did in Phnom Penh, a visit to The Royal Palace tops my list of favourites so I am recommending this as a Must-See. There is an entrance fee of USD6.25 but for this fee you also get to visit the adjacent Silver Pagoda and other interesting monuments in its vicinity as both are located within the same ground.
The Royal PalaceThe palace comprises a complex of buildings that showcase Khmer architecture at its best. The buildings within the Royal Palace ground are vivid in color with artful designs and ornate details worth admiring.
The Royal Palace has been the residence of the Kings of Cambodia since the 1860s. Not all the buildings date back to the 19th century as the buildings were gradually added over the years. Some buildings have been demolished and reconstructed while some were renovated and refurbished. Generally the palace is beautiful without being over lavish or extravagant.
Among the first majestic monuments you'll see upon entering the palace ground is Throne Hall which used to be the meeting place of the king's confidants, generals and royal officials. Today it is used for royal and religious ceremonies.
Visitors are not allowed into The Throne Hall but the doors are left open for viewing from outside.
Ivan at the balcony of Throne Hall, overlooking Khemarin Palace and the garden
Constructed in 1917, Hor Samran Phirun is a pavilion serving as a royal resthouse and waiting area for the King to mount an elephant for Royal processions. It also housed musical instruments and procession implements. Today it is a store house for gifts from foreign heads of state. Entry is not permitted.
Another facade of Hor Samran Phirun.
Also constructed in 1917, Hor Samrith Phimean which is also known as ‘Bronze Palace.’ serve as a repository for the Royal regalia and attributes.
The Chanchhaya Pavilion(1913-14), or 'Moonlight Pavilion' serves as a venue for the Royal Dancers, as a tribune for the King to address the crowds and as a place to hold state and Royal banquets.
Phochani Pavilion(1912) is an open hall originally constructed as a classical dance theater. The Pavilion is currently used for Royal receptions and meetings.
The beautiful ceiling of Phochani Pavilion
Khemarin Palace is the official residence of the present King of Cambodia. The compound is separated from other buildings by a low wall and is located next to the Throne Hall. This palace and its immediate compound is out of bound for visitors.
Beautiful wall and gateway of Khemarin palace
The majestic spire
The palace also features beautiful gates, manicured gardens, artistic grilles, and lovely cornices.
Heading towards the Silver Pagoda, visitors will pass through a hallway with walls that are covered with Ramayana Frescoes.
These murals which are colorful and artfully painted depict an ancient Indian epic about the struggle of the divine Prince Rama to rescue his wife Sita from the demon King Ravana.
Wat Preah Keo Morokat, more popularly known as Silver Pagoda got its name from the 5329 silver tiles that cover the floor. Silver Pagoda is a functional temple even though it is more a repository for cultural and religious treasures. Entry is allowed but visitors have to leave their shoes outside.
Entrance into Silver Pagoda.
Silver gifts for the king as exhibits.
There are a few interesting monuments in the compound of Silver Pagoda. Not to be missed is the library building.
Library entranceThis Stupa of HM King Norodom Stupa houses the ashes of the King Norodom (1834-1904). It was constructed in 1908.
The statue of HM King Norodom on a horse can also be seen in the vicinity. This statue was sculptured by a French artis, Eude in 1875 in Paris and brought to the Phnom Penh in 1892.