The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh

It was a blisteringly hot afternoon when I visited the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. The complex, which contains both buildings, is closed at lunchtimes so you need to visit between 8-11am and 2-5pm.

About ten minutes after I arrived, several coach parties turned up so it was a constant battle to keep ahead of them before they photobombed my pictures!

I had been warned that you needed to wear clothing below the knees and elbows so I wore long trousers and took a scarf for my arms. The entry fee was $10 for foreigners, which was a bit steep, particularly since many areas were closed for refurbishment, but included entrance to both buildings.

The Grand Palace is a beautiful building, set in lovely landscaped grounds. The rooftops of the palace and its surrounding buildings are gilded and sparkle in the sunshine and the exterior wall is painted yellow and white to represent the Buddhist and Hindu faiths.

The Grand Palace and the beautiful gardens

You are quite exposed to the sun as you walk around the buildings so I would recommend wearing sunscreen and a hat. You can buy water for 3,000 riel (58p) in the grounds of the temple.

The Royal Residence is closed to the public and photography is not permitted inside the Throne Room or the Silver Pagoda. The highlight for me was the Throne Room but I thought the Silver Pagoda was a bit disappointing – most of the 5,329 silver floor tiles were covered.

I managed to escape the crowds and had the building with the impressive Buddha’s footprint all to myself!

The Buddha’s footprint

The reliefs around the temple walls were stunning and cast some much-needed shade. There was also a wooded area with a small temple and an enigmatic statue of the Buddha.

One of the murals along the walls
Buddha statue in the grounds of the Silver Pagoda

Towards the end there was a collection of palanquins – the wooden litters used to carry the king to his appointments – and a chance to listen to traditional music.

The National Museum is next door to the complex so it’s easy to combine a visit and the Independence Monument and the Riverfront are also close by.

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