Royal Palace of Cambodia

Katie Duncan
Katie Duncan

Avid traveller living in Phnom Penh

The Royal Palace of Cambodia, constructed over a century ago in Phnom Penh, overlooks the Tonle Sap - Mekong River and is set in tranquil gardens. Its ornate gildings of classic Khmer architecture and rich history tells the story of Cambodia’s complex and long royal history.

An Overview

Constructed in 1866, the Royal Palace of Cambodia is one of the nation’s iconic architectural achievements. Commissioned initially under King Norodom I and designed by Tep Nimith Mak, the palace today remains the royal family’s official residence. 

A complex of buildings makes up the Royal Palace’s grounds, including, but not limited to, the:

  • Throne Hall – where kings become crowned and foreign diplomats are received;
  • Napoleon Pavillion – a museum that was formerly a reception hall; 
  • Phochani Pavillion – a banquet hall;
  • Moonlight Pavillion – a state banquets and performances hall;
  • Damnak Chan – an administrative hall.

It is also home to the Silver Pagoda, located on the Palace’s southside, which houses the 90kg diamond-encrusted Emerald Buddha. Over 9,500 diamonds adorn the 17th-century statue outside of its solid gold and Baccarat crystal. Gold, Italian marble, silver, and other precious materials craft the Pagoda’s steps.

The ornate gilding and elaborate palace gardens offer a sense of tranquility amid the constant bustling of the capital city. Locals flock to the park daily in front of the palace and indulge in the vendors and riverside views. Meanwhile, tourists can find countless hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and more along the highly coveted riverfront strip.

Tips on Visiting the Royal Palace

On Sundays, the Royal Palace may get busy as locals come to pay their respects, so be mindful when planning your trip. Visitors are welcomed every day from 8 AM – 10:30 AM and 2 PM – 5 PM, with the exception of major holidays and events.

When visiting the Royal Palace, note that visitors must dress modestly and respectfully. Shorts must cover and remain beneath the knees, and tops must cover shoulders, backs, and reach the elbows. Sarongs are available for purchase at the gates if needed.

Tourists and residents alike can find much to enjoy at the Royal Palace of Cambodia, whether inside its gates or outside from the Sisowath Quay riverfront strip.

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