Touring the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Preăh Barum Réachea Veang Chaktomuk, the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Just as royal and religious life in Thailand are centered around the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the neighboring Kingdom of Cambodia has its own impressive royal palace and temple where visitors can learn more about the royal history and culture of the small Southeast Asian kingdom.
A visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda is one of the must-have experiences when visiting Phnom Penh. Although the monarchy was deposed in the 1970s by the Khmer Rouge, it was restored in 1993, returning the previous king to the throne. This makes Cambodia one of the few countries in modern history to restore its monarchy.
Today, some parts of the Royal Palace, including the Throne Hall, Silver Pagoda, and some dozen or so Buddhist shrines and stupas, are open to the public. The residences of the royal family are, of course, off limits to tourists.
Wat Preah Keo Morakot, the Silver Pagoda (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
The Silver Pagoda, rarely called by its official name, “Temple of the Emerald-Crystal Buddha”, is the most important Buddhist temple in Phnom Penh, and the royal temple of Cambodia.
The murals at the temple depict scenes from Cambodian history and the Ramayana. Although it fell into disrepair during the Khmer Rouge era, the temple has undergone excellent restoration. Many of the murals have been returned to their original state.
The main building in the temple compound at the palace is the Silver Pagoda, named for the silver tiles that covered the temple in the pre-Khmer Rouge monarchy period.
The temple holds Cambodia’s 17th-century replica of the Emerald Buddha, the most holy religious image in Theravada Buddhism. The original Emerald Buddha is now housed at Wat Phra Keao at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand.
Photograph is not permitted inside the Throne Hall or inside the Silver Pagoda.
Visitors are asked to remove shoes when entering any temple or shrine building at the Royal Palace.
Visitors should be advised that a dress code is required to visit the Royal Palace. The dress code forbids short, short skirts, and sleeveless shirts. Arms and legs must be covered.
Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda Information
The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are located in central Phnom Penh along the banks of the Mekong River. The palace is located next to the National Museum of Cambodia, and down the road from Wat Phnom.
Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The Royal Palace is open to visitors from 8:00 to 17:00 daily
A common scam involves tuk-tuk drivers or tour guides telling tourists that the palace is closed. This is in an attempt to get them to hire the driver for the day instead. Don’t fall for this! The palace is open every day.
A ticket to the Royal Palace includes visiting the Throne Hall, Silver Pagoda, and various other royal pavilions and Buddhist shrines.
Tickets to the Royal Palace cost 40,000 KHR or $10. The ticket comes with a map, which explains what each building and structure at the palace compound is.
Tour guides are available for hire for an additional $10.