The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are Phnom Penh’s most iconic buildings, their roofs adorned with soaring golden nagas and spires that glint enticingly against the sky. Built in traditional Khmer style, the crenellated wall that encases this complex of royal buildings, manicured gardens and relic-stuffed temples is painted pale yellow and white, the two colours representing respectively the Buddhist and Hindu faiths. Nothing now exists of King Ponhea Yat’s palace, built here in 1434, and very little remains of the wooden palace of King Norodom – the great-great-grandfather of the current king, who moved his capital here from Oudong in 1863. Indeed, the current Royal Palace, official residence of King Sihamoni, dates back less than a hundred years, with most of the buildings having been reconstructed in concrete in the early twentieth century. Even so, the complex is well worth a visit for its classic Khmer architecture, its ornate gilding and its tranquil French-style landscaped gardens. The Silver Pagoda – ringed by a mythological muralled wall – is a particular highlight for its elaborate silver-tiled floor and priceless Buddha statues.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Cambodia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
11 gorgeous pictures of Cambodia

11 gorgeous pictures of Cambodia

This beguiling country in Southeast Asia has captured the hearts and imaginations of travellers from all over the world. Travel photographer Fiona Campbell is …

23 Aug 2017 • Fiona Campbell insert_drive_file Article
The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

11 Aug 2017 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook