The royal palace is set on a road adjacent to the Mekong river, if you arrive early before the gates open you can get some refreshment from the street vendors opposite the gate. I seem to recall the palace does not open until around 10am, which meant we had a bit of time to have a walk down the river.
Once inside the palace there are a number of buildings and temples you can go into.There are also some beautiful khymer statues in the grounds to admire. It takes a good two hours to look round properly so make sure you take some liquid refreshment in with you. On entry you are given a map or you can hire one of the guides to give you some more indepth information.
Note : Photography is prohibited in some buildings most notably the silver pagoda and there are keepers on hand to keep an eye on those trying to flaunt the rules.
On the way out of the Royal Complex are two buildings containing artefacts used in the royal procession of King Norodom Sihamoni during his coronation in October 2004. On display are various procession group figures bearing the national, religious and monarchy flags, a drum of victory, spears of victory, swords of victory, crown jewels and other ceremonial objects.
This mostly cast-iron pavilion was originally erected in Ismailia, Egypt for French Empress Eugenie during the inauguration of the Suez Canal in 1869. It was then presented to King Norodom by Napoleon III and reassembled here in 1876. Today it is an art gallery of oil paintings and photos of the former Kings of Cambodia.
This building is located on the left as you look at the Throne Hall. It was built between 1915-17 and is used to house the Cambodia Royal regalia and other court ceremonial accoutrements. You can visit the exhibits on display, inside, which include The Great Crown of Victory, The Great White umbrella of state, The Sacred Sword, The Victory Spear, The Fan and clothing worn during King Sihamoni's coronation. At the rear, note the seven mannequins wearing seven days' worth of colours.
This open-sided pavilion was built in 1912 as a dancing hall where classical and traditional dances of the Royal Ballet were performed and also where dinner parties are held for distinguished guests. It is also used by King Norodin Sihanouk to address audiences to the public.
The Khemarin Palace the "Palace of the Khmer King" is used as a residence by the King of Cambodia. It was constructed between 1927-30 by the famous Khmer architect Oknha Tep Nimith Khieu during the reign of King Sisowath Monivong and was used for use by foreign dignitaries visiting Cambodia. If the blue royal flag is flying, the king is in residence.
This open-sided pavilion, meaning "Moonlight Pavilion", serves as stage for Khmer classical dance. It is also used by the king to deliver speeches on National Day or on special events and viewing parades marching along Sothearos Boulevard. The current Pavilion is the second incarnation having been built in 1913-14 under King Sisowath to replace an earlier wooden pavilion built under King Norodom.
This building, located on the right as you look at the Throne Hall, was built between 1915 and 1917 and is used to keep the royal musical instruments and utensils for the use in royal coronation processions. The first floor used to be the waiting room in which their majesties could take a rest before mounting an elephant that had awaited them.
The Royal Palace complex has four gates. The eastern Victory Gate leads directly to the entrance of the throne hall and is used only by royalty and VIPs.
The northern or funeral gate is only opened after the death of a monarch. After being embalmed, the monarch's body is kept in state at the palace for three months, with the face hidden by a one-kilogram solid gold mask, before being taken out via this gate. The west or executing gate was used by condemned prisoners exiting the palace to be killed. The southern gate is reserved for use by commoners and it is through this gate the public reaches the Silver Pagoda.
The Throne Hall is the first building you'll come to after entering into the Royal Palace complex. The Khmer name for the Throne Hall is Preah Thineang Dheva Vinnichayyeaah (meaning the "Sacred Seat of Judgement"). It is where the king's confidants, generals and royal officials once carried out their duties. It is still in use today as a place for religious and royal ceremonies (such as coronations and royal weddings) as well as a meeting place for guests of the King. The cross-shaped building is crowned with three spires. The central, 59 meter spire is topped with the white, four-faced head of Brahma. Inside the Throne Hall contains a royal throne and busts of Cambodians kings of the past. This Throne Hall is the second to be built on this site. The first was constructed of wood in 1869-1870 under King Norodom. That Throne Hall was demolished in 1915 and the present building was constructed in 1917 and inaugurated by King Sisowath in 1919. Unfortunately, taking photos of the splendid interior is not allowed.
The Royal Palace is the top tourist destination in the city and is a complex of royal residences, pavilions, halls, a temple and stupas. The Kings of Cambodia have occupied it since it was built in 1866, with a period of absence when the country came into turmoil during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge, after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from OuVND to Phnom Penh.
The complex covers an area of 174,870 square metres (402m x 435m) and is divided by walls into three main compounds: on the north side is the Silver Pagoda and to the south-west is the Khemarin Palace and a central compound containing the Throne Hall. The Silver Pagoda compound is comprised of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (also known as The Silver Pagoda), stupas (chedi), towering spires (prang prasat) and mural paintings. The central compound is where you'll find the Throne Hall and royal pavilions. These two compounds are open to the public while the third compound, comprising of royal residences, is, unsurprisingly, off limits.
Open: 7.30am-11am & 2-5pm. Admission: $6.25
The royal palace is the residence of the cambodian king and also an important historical site.
There are lot´s of things to see there and the complex is very pretty and well worth a visit.
The place was built in the 19th century and is a mix of french and khmer building style.
Be aware that there is a fairly strict dress code for women in particular and knees and shoulders should not be shown at the palace compound or you will be refused entry.