ROYAL PALACE - Asia Travel & Leisure

Asia Travel & Leisure


Gleaming in gold, the Royal Palace is one of Phnom Penh’s most splendid architectural achievements. It is home to His Majesty Preah Bat smdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and Her Majesty Preah Reach Akka-Mohesey Norodom Monineath. The palace was built in 1866 by His Majeaty Preah Bat Norodom, great grandfather to our current King.

The Royal Palace is built on the site of the old town. This site was especially chosen by a Commission of Royal Ministers and Astrologers because it had great geographical significance in relation to the King, who was regarded as a direct descendant of the gods, whose role it was to live and govern on earth under the influence of heaven.

In 1863, a temporary wooden Palace was constructed a bit north of the current Palace site in Phnom Penh. Many of the buildings of the Royal Palace, were constructed using traditional Khmer architectural style but also incorporated European features and design as well. One from this period is the Napoleon Pavilion which was a gift from France in 1876.

King Sisowath (1904-1927) made several major contributions to the current Royal Palace.

From the time of the coup in 1970 when Cambodia became a republic, through the Khmer Rouge regime, and the communist regime of the 80s, until 1993 when the Monarchy was restored, the Royal Palace alternately served as a museum and was closed.

During the Khmer Rouge regime, former King Sihanouk and his family resided and were held as prisoners in the Palace.

In the mid-90s, many of the Palace buildings were restored and refurbished.

Except for the area of the actual Royal residence, the Khemarin Palace, most of the Palace grounds and Silver Pagoda are open to the public.


Address: Samdach Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Location: 2 km from Wat Phnom.
Entrance fee: $3.50/person, $2.00/camera, $5.00/video camera.
Open time: Open daily, 7:30am-11:00am / 2:00pm-5:00p.

Trip Advisory:

One very important thing to note with the palace is it is closed between 11am and 2pm daily. It is also a requirement that women have their arms covered and that men not wear short shorts. No tank tops, no short if you want to visit Royal Palace.


The Palace grounds are opened to the public except when the King is in residence. Within the palace compound are the coronation hall; the entrance, which houses an open-air theater for the Royal Dance Troupe, and a balcony for Royal appearances; an open-air pavilion often used for entertaining and viewing of the King's movies; and the King's private residence, which houses a collection of Cambodian artwork from artists around the world, and his office, where he actively pursues Royal duties.

The architecturally incongruous Napoleon III pavilion shipped and reassembled in Cambodia was a gift of the French Empress Eugenie in the early 20th century. Outside the southeast wall of the palace is the house of the white elephant traditionally used for special regal occasions including Royal births, deaths or weddings.