The Cambodian Royal Palace is one place that you should not miss if you are in Phnom Penh. The Royal Palace is a stone throw away from The National Museum, previously covered here.
This Royal Palace occupies hectres of land, it’s sprawling, with many buildings within one big compound. This Palace is still being used by the royal family and has been used since it’s built in the 1860s. Prior to Phnom Penh a capital city of Cambodia, Oudong was the official royal residence. King Norodom built this palace and moved the royal residence into the heart of the city. One cannot helped but be marvelled at the intricacies of the design and buildings. Though at one glance, they all looked the same, with same pointed tip, pagoda like structures etc, but take a closer look, each and every building is carefully crafted and designed.
Guided tour is available, when you are the ticket counter, you will see men sitting under the tree, they may approach you and ask if you would like to be taken for the tour, they are fluent in French, English and German languages. However, I am not sure if they are even legit tour guide to begin with. Okay, I may sound like I am uberly cautious or suspicious or even skeptical, but the last thing you need is to be hassled and to have someone claiming to be a guide but could hardly communicate any thing valuable to you, right? While I was there, I was approached by one too. And, along the way, I saw these group of men approached many other tourists. Some declined some took on their offers. I wish I could catch up to those who tried and check out what they think of their tour and tell you their experience here. Sorry folks!
Once I entered the building complex, I was struck by how Buckingham-esque the compound looks like. The lawns are carefully mowed. No stray leaves or weeds are in sight. Impressive.
It is as if lavish is the norm here.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one gawking like a doodoo :P.
I thought these buildings are nothing like any other and these were the most impressive thing I have seen, how wrong was I. As wandered about in the courtyard, I realised even the courtyards are equally impressive. The stupas are peppered here and there. As I walked along the parameter of the inner courtyard, I saw the endless row of paintings on the wall, something like a mural stretched to eons. Endless. It detailed the history and story of the Kingdom of Cambodia, its dynasty and princes. Who says graffiti is modern art?
Impressive yet? Now go! Book a ticket and start exploring if you are in Phnom Penh or going Phnom Penh.
1. If want to dodge crowds, and I mean big crowds and do not wish to take pictures with people standing in your pictures, go on a weekday. The Palace opens at 0800 through 1200 with a 2-hr break in between and re-opens again at 1400 through 1730. The last admission is at 1630.
2. Dress code is required for the ladies. No sleeveless and midriff baring tops, shorts must fall at the knees or below. if you are in short shorts or attires that are deemed unsuitable, you will not be allowed entry and no refund will be returned. However, the good news is there’s a stall right outside the ticket booth selling pants, scarves and tops. Each is going at USD 3. Caution though, don’t expect fashionista standard of clothing. You wear it once and I bet you won’t return to it again.
3. While at Royal Palace area, also drop by the Sisowath Quay for a stroll, night market, National Museum and the nearby surroundings.