After my sobering last post about the Cambodian genocide and The Killing Fields Museum I now want to spend a bit of time showing you around the beautiful Royal Palace of Phnom Penh, which is one of the most stunning architectural achievement of the city.
We were lucky enough to stay in a guesthouse right on the doorstep of the palace, so it was really easy for us to walk out and be there as it opened. I would highly recommend that if you visit the palace, do it first thing in the morning – it gets very busy and days get incredibly hot. To visit the palace you have to cover up almost completely, which doesn’t help with the heat. The guards and ticket officers are notorious for being pretty stringent with their policy on what visitors wear to the palace. You cannot show shoulders or knees and it is not enough for women to cover up with a scarf, it has to be a proper shirt or T-shirt or blouse. I usually just wear my big shawl to cover up when entering temples or other holy sites, but for this I ended up wearing a long sleeved top and long trousers to make sure I avoided any problems with my clothing. Man it was hot though! By 8 am the temperature reached 32 degrees and it only went one way from there – UP!
It was worth it though, the palace complex was absolutely stunning! It does actually serve as the residence for the king of Cambodia. The king’s living quarters take up half the compound, but it is of course closed to the public.
I could not stop taking pictures while we were here, so I hope you are ready for a marathon run of photographs of this beautiful palace! 🙂
For the rest of our time in Phnom Penh we walked around the main promenade and square along the river which is where most people congregate late afternoons and evenings. The square is opposite the Royal Palace and the promenade runs along the river and is lined with pubs and bars and restaurants as well as lovely seating areas and small parks.
The National Museum of Cambodia is also situated close to the Royal Palace and it is a great museum that showcases amazing Khmer sculptures and relics.
In total we spent two whole days in Phnom Penh. Truthfully you could spend a lot longer here, the city has a lot to offer, but when we visited most shops, cafes and restaurants were shut for the New Year holidays. So we decided to move on to Siem Reap, which we were really excited about. Angkor Wat was awaiting and it was promising to be a highlight of our whole South East Asia trip!