Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda Tour Guide:
The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda complex at Phnom Penh is one of the best places to see Cambodia’s riches from an era when all was right in the nation’s world. Gleaming in the sunshine with golden spires, the Royal Palace is one of the most iconic symbols of Cambodia and dominates the Phnom Penh skyline. Even from afar, you can spot its spires and coming closer, the magnificent architecture lures you to explore it further.
As the Royal Palace Complex is still the actual royal residence of the King and Queen of Cambodia, you cannot tour the actual palace, but can get a glimpse of its grandeur from the surrounding buildings. Begin your tour with a stroll through the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, which is still in use for all royal functions including weddings and coronations, and as a place where the king meets his guests.
One of the most magnificent of the structures in the Royal Palace complex, the Throne Hall features a 59-meter tower; golden-coloured tiled roof, exquisite ceiling frescoes and a golden spire with the four-faced head of Lord Brahma. Inside, even more treasures await; checkout the royal busts of past Khmer kings, the gilded umbrella that shades the king during processions; and of course, the royal throne with a nine-tier canopy.
To the south of the Throne Hall, are the Royal Treasury and Napoleon III Villa, which stand out like sore thumbs in the face of these golden glories. Presented by Emperor Napoleon III, these European dollhouse-like structures, were built in Egypt to mark the opening of the Suez Canal and were later dismantled, shipped and again constructed in the Royal Palace Complex as a gift to the Khmer kings.
The next stop of your tour would be the Silver Pagoda, which as its name indicates, is inlaid with solid silver blocks. Frescoes depicting scenes from Khmer version of the Ramayana and magnificent national treasures including the Emerald Buddha, a 17th Century baccarat crystal image of Buddha and a near-life-size early 20th century Maitreya Buddha made of 90 kg of gold and encrusted with 9,584 diamonds are some of the features that make the Silver Pagoda a phenomenal attraction of Cambodia.
Before concluding your tour, enjoy a stroll through the leafy Royal Palace Gardens and checkout the open-air pavilion, the Chan Chhaya Pavilion, where the king enjoys dance performances by the Royal Dance troupe and greets the citizens from his balcony.