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Tags : Forts & Palaces

Timings : 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM daily

Time Required : 2 to 3 hours

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Royal Palace, Phnom Penh Overview

The Royal Palace is one of the city's iconic landmarks and the primary residence of the King of Cambodia. It comprises a throne and other precious monuments within a richly built complex. The highlight is the silver pagoda. Visitors can only visit the throne hall and a few buildings depending on the season. There are also guided tours, which are available in Khmer, English, French, and German.

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Best time to visit

The best time to visit the Royal Palace is early in the morning or late afternoon when the weather is pleasant.

What to wear

Being a royal monument dedicated to the King, it is expected that tourists dress appropriately while visiting the Royal Palace. Women need to cover their shoulder at all times and wear knee-length attire. Sleeveless shirts and shorts aren't also allowed for both men and women. The rules are strictly followed, and you might be denied entry by the guards if you fail to obey them.

Royal Palace History & Significance

King Norodom constructed the Royal Palace complex in the year 1886 after the capital city was shifted to Phnom Penh. The whole structure was completed just before World War I, including architects, designers and assistance from the Thai and French administrators. It is built in the location where once stood the old town of Siem Reap. This location was chosen by ministers and astrologers of the King based on his horoscope. It was a norm to regarded Kings as the descendant of Gods. Hence this location was significant for the King to rule the land and govern the people.


The entrance to the main gate of the palace is located on Samdech Sothearos Boulevard, which passes through the Pavilion of Dancers. One of the main attractions in the Royal Palace is The Throne Hall located to the left of the main entrance. This elaborately decorated hall consists of a central tower, which is modelled after the iconic Khmer monument Bayon. The 59-meter tall tower has four faces, with the pavilion decorated with golden coloured tiles, which gleams at night. The Throne Hall is a central venue for meetings with foreign dignitaries, government officials, religious and royal cultural celebrations and coronations. The staircase leading to the hall is decorated with Naga balustrades, a typical architectural characteristic of the Khmer.

To the south of the Throne Hall is the popular iron Napoleon III Pavilion, gifted to King Norodom by French officer Napoleon III. The other famous pavilion is open-air Chaya, also called as the dancing pavilion.

Once a venue for classical Khmer dance performances for the royal families, it was later serving as a platform for the King to watch ceremonies and parades. Even today, it is used by the royal family for private functions, celebrations and meetings. On public holidays and special occasions, this place is decorated and lit. Today, on certain occasions, the pavilion is lit up in the evening. The gardens and some small buildings within the complex are influenced by French architecture. 

How To Reach The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is located within the city centre of Phnom Penh and can be easily reached on foot. It takes about 25 minutes to arrive. You can also get there by renting a Tuk Tuk for about 6 USD for a round trip that can be shared. Or reach the palace by hiring a motorbike for about 7 USD per day.

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