The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh is situated on the Western bank, where the Mekong and the Tonle Sap rivers meet.
Construction for the palace began in the 1860s, when the Cambodian capital moved to Phnom Penh. The royal family have resided there ever since, with the exception of a few years during the regime of the Khmer Rouge.
Everything in the palace is extremely ornate, and it was a pleasure to walk around the gardens. If I was to do the trip again, I would aim to go in the early morning as the afternoon heat became too much after a while. It’s worth keeping in mind that the palace closes for lunch (re-opens at 2), and that shoulders and knees are to be covered throughout.
There is a lot to take in, including a room full of gifts presented to the King. Several areas are closed off to the public as (understandably) the king resides in the palace – several American tourists seemed to be offended by this, for some bizarre reason. It made me want to book a trip to Ohio and wander round their backyard taking photos to see how they’d like it.
Although I did enjoy my tour of the palace, I have to admit that it wasn’t the most captivating experience I’ve had during my stay – so if you only have a few hours to spend in Phnom Penh I’d suggest having a real cultural experience and explore some of the markets!