Royal Palace Phnom Penh
The Royal Palace is called Preah Barum Reachea Veang in Khmer, and its full name is Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol. The Royal palace was built in 1866. The palace was constructed after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-19th century. It faces towards the East and is situated at the Western bank of the cross division of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River called Chaktomuk. The Royal Palace of Phnom Penh sits side by side on Sothearos Boulevard and covers an area of 174,870 square meters (402m x 435m).
The Royal Palace is a complex of buildings, which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia. And, the complex is divided by walls into four main compounds, on the south side is the Silver Pagoda, to the north side is the Khemarin Palace and the central compound contains the Throne Hall and to the west is the private sector or the Inner Court.
Silver Pagoda is called Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot and commonly referred to as Wat Preah Keo in Khmer. Silver Pagoda is the oddest building: a grey, mostly cast-iron gift from France which was initially constructed in Egypt The wall that surrounds the structures is covered with the painting of the epic story of Reamker but because neglected care, the bottom half of the painting faded throughout the years. Its main building houses many national treasures such as gold and jeweled Buddha statues. Most notable is a small crystal Buddha. The centerpiece is the large jade Buddha statue — referred to as the Emerald Buddha — sitting atop a dizzying array of goodies. Standing in front of it is a tall, solid-gold Buddha weighing 90 kilograms and encrusted with 2,086 diamonds. The gem above the forehead weighs 25 carats and another on the chest is a hefty 20 carats.
Khemarin Palace is called Khemarin Moha Prasat in Khmer meaning that “Palace of the Khmer King”. It is used as an official residence of the King of Cambodia. There are beautiful small wall and garden around the Khemarin, and also the garden and wall were built to separate it from other buildings.
Throne Hall is called Preah Tineang Tevea Vinnichay Mohai Moha Prasat in Khmer, and it means Sacred Seat of Judgment. It is still in use today as a place for religious and royal ceremonies as well as a meeting place for guests of the King. The hall itself is painted vivid yellow, a symbol of Buddhism, and white, for Hinduism, the two main faiths of Cambodia until they were combined into one by Jayavarman VII in the 12th century. The building is 30×60 meters. The first was constructed of wood in 1869-1870 under King Norodom. To the left of the throne hall sits another small building. The downstairs section contains a small clothing display, including copies of the clothes Sihamoni wore during his coronation. At the rear, note the seven mannequins wearing seven days’ worth of colors. To the left of the throne is a gold bust of King Sisowath (1904-1927) and to the right stands that of King Monivong (1927-1941).
Today, the complex of the Royal Palace is not just a residence for royal family, but it is also a wonderful and famous tourist site. Currently, the Royal Palace becomes a popular tourist attraction in Phnom Penh where local and international visitors can see Khmer architecture, history and culture on the wall of the gateway around the palace as well as enjoy the green view inside the palace. It opens 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with tickets selling. The ticket costs local people 1000Riel (Cambodian currency) per ticket, and $10 starting from January 2017 onward after the government announced an increase in ticket prices for Angkor Archaeological Park. There are guides available at the Royal Palace to guide visitors and by the way visitors are able to bring their guide with to talk about the history of the palace and Khmer culture. In the Royal Palace, there are souvenir and drink booths, but the price is higher comparing to outside price.
Other structures in the Royal Palace include Hor Samran Phirun, Hor Samrith Phimean, Damnak Chan, Phochani Pavilion (dance hall), Serey Monkol Pavilion (royal conference hall), King Jayavarman VII Pavilion, Vihear Suor (royal chapel), Villa Kantha Bopha, Villa Chumpou, Villa Sahametrei, and some less significant buildings in an area closed to the public.