Phnom Penh doesn’t have a whole lot of things to see and do compared to other capital cities in SE Asia like Bangkok or even Vientiane, but one exception is the Phnom Penh Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
It covers a big area near the riverfront and has more than a dozen fancy palaces, shrines, and stupas to check out.This travel guide will explain how to get there, and everything you need to know before you go!
The Royal Palace Phnom Penh
The Throne Hall is the main building of the Royal Palace. It was built in 1863, but it’s still used sometimes for religious and royal ceremonies.
Sadly you can’t go inside, or take photos inside. But you’re allowed to peek in the windows, and the staff didn’t really seem to monitor people taking photos through the windows.
Still, the best photo ops are when you walk around the outside of the building and take in the stunning architecture of the rooftops. It’s quite a view.
The best time to photograph it is in the morning.
The Silver Pagoda
One of the highlights of a visit to the Royal Palace is the Silver Pagoda.
This is part of the same palace grounds, and it’s included in your ticket. The Silver Pagoda (also known as Wat Preah Keo) was first built in 1892, but then it was expensively rebuilt in 1962 with a massive amount of gold, silver, and diamonds.
The name of the pagoda comes from the silver floor inside, which has almost 5,000 silver tiles weighing over 5 tons.
Photography is not allowed inside the building, but the outside is really amazing and it’s great for photos at any time of the day (I went in the morning).
Other Palace Buildings
There are lots of other smaller buildings in the palace grounds that you aren’t allowed to go inside, but they’re still worth checking out.
A gated grey stupa has the remains of the 20th century Cambodian king, Norodom Sihanouk, and there’s another white stupa dedicated to King Ang Duong.
There are lots of neat buildings here, so I do recommend exploring everything before you move on.
Hours & Entrance Fees
- Open Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM, and 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM (4:30 PM on Fridays)
- Closed Hours: 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM (lunch)
- Admission: $10 USD
- Guide: $10 USD (optional)
Hiring a guide is optional, and the cost is per group. It’s a bit pricey, but as a solo traveler you can try joining a group if you want to have a guided tour at a more reasonable price.
The dress code here is a bit strict since it’s a shrine, so you’ll be required to wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders. They’re serious about this.
A shawl or scarf is not allowed, so you need a shirt that actually covers your shoulders. Shorts are allowed as long as they go below your knees. If not, you may be asked to buy a T-shirt or trousers from them.
All of the fees at the Royal Palace are paid in cash only. They don’t accept credit cards or debit cards.
How To Get To The Royal Palace
The palace is located in the Phnom Penh city center, near the riverside.
You can get there by tuk-tuk or car taxi, or better yet, you can walk to it from some nearby hotels.
I stayed at a guesthouse by the riverside that was just a 5 minute walk to the Royal Palace. No tour or taxi needed!
Is The Royal Palace Open / Closed?
The Royal Palace is OPEN for visitors as of 2023!
The palace was closed to visitors for almost two years, starting in March 2020, because of the covid pandemic and also because they were busy doing renovation work on some of the buildings.
The good news is that the palace has recently reopened and you can visit it again!
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Hello there, did you travel to Phnom Penh in 2022? I would like to know whether Royal Palace open already for public?
Hi Astry, sadly the Royal Palace is still closed since March 2020. Hopefully it will re-open soon, but I’m not sure when.
UPDATE (2023): It’s open now!
Hello there, do you have any valid information about the current status of the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda being opened or closed?
We will go to Cambodia tomorrow due to a neccessary Visa run from Vietnam. So we just wanted to drive a bit further to Phnom Penh and visit the bist sightseeing places there!
Hi Daniel, sadly it’s still closed at the moment.
UPDATE (2023): It’s open now!
Hi David. Thank you for your wonderful website I was able to find out beforehand that the palace is finally opened for viewing. And I love the information. I will be going to Cambodia again in few weeks and I have reserved a certain day to make the visit to the Royal Palace! I’m so excited. I was there in July 2022, but it was not open. The last time my husband and I were there was in Nov/Dec 2005! So I am ecstatic about going back to see the Royal Palace. Bummed that visitors cannot go inside the buildings. It has been so long that I cannot remember the insides of the buildings. I do remember the throne room very well though, but it would be so neat to go inside again. Anyhow, Bali! It’s on my bucket list! Your wife is a beautiful.
Thanks Rumdoul for your comment! Glad I could help. Have a great trip to Cambodia! It’s a special place. I’m sure you would enjoy Bali too.