Towering Spires of the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Royal Palace is perhaps one of the most popular tourist spot in Phnom Penh. Its yellow spires, visible from outside the French-styled boundary walls, invite you to take a closer look, and you willingly pay the $10 ticket price (twice in my case) and enter. The building in the photograph above is the Royal Court, which is still used by the Royal family for coronations and other events. Tourists are not allowed inside the Royal Court, and no photography of the interiors of the court is allowed even from the windows and the doors.

The Royal Palace is perhaps one of the most popular tourist spot in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Its yellow spires, visible from outside the French-styled boundary walls, invite you to take a closer look, and you willingly pay the $10 ticket price (twice in my case) and enter. The building in the photograph above is the Royal Court, which is still used by the Royal family for coronations and other events. Tourists are not allowed inside the Royal Court, and no photography of the interiors of the court is allowed even from the windows and the doors. 

The grounds of the Royal Palace are immaculately maintained, the lawns well-manicured, and the sky behind, blue. All this and the bright color combination, makes this place a photographer's delight. The buildings are all spired and these sharp edges add to the drama of it all.

The grounds of the Royal Palace are immaculately maintained, the lawns well-manicured, and the sky behind, blue. All this and the bright color combination, makes this place a photographer's delight. The buildings are all spired and these sharp edges add to the drama of it all. 

During the afternoons, the flat grounds receive a lot of sun so the place gets hot. We happened to be there when a weather phenomenon in the South China sea had created unusually pleasant conditions in Cambodia, and it was still so hot here that we emptied our water bottles and were craving for something cold to sip on.

During the afternoons, the flat grounds receive a lot of sun so the place gets hot. We happened to be there when a weather phenomenon in the South China sea had created unusually pleasant conditions in Cambodia, and it was still so hot here that we emptied our water bottles and were craving for something cold to sip on.

The buildings are all stunning examples of traditional Khmer Architecture. And the color scheme is very typical Khmer too. Even in the temples, you find various shades of yellow, orange, and red. And the similarities with the temples doesn't end here. Just like one is expected to do in temples, in the Royal Palace too, you are supposed to dress conservatively. Both men and women are supposed to be dressed in clothes that cover their knees and do not show too much skin.

The buildings are all stunning examples of traditional Khmer Architecture. And the color scheme is very typical Khmer too. Even in the temples, you find various shades of yellow, orange, and red. And the similarities with the temples doesn't end here. Just like one is expected to do in temples, in the Royal Palace too, you are supposed to dress conservatively. Both men and women are supposed to be dressed in clothes that cover their knees and do not show too much skin.

The Royal Palace has been occupied by the Cambodian Royal Family since 1860s, with only a brief period of absence during and after the period of Khmer Rouge. During this time, the Royal Palace served either as a museum or was closed.

The Royal Palace has been occupied by the Cambodian Royal Family since 1860s, with only a brief period of absence during and after the period of Khmer Rouge. During this time, the Royal Palace served either as a museum or was closed.

This compound also houses other important buildings like the Silver Pagoda and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Architecture is the same so it is difficult to make them out separately from a distance.

This compound also houses other important buildings like the Silver Pagoda and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Architecture is the same so it is difficult to make them out separately from a distance.

This was also the first time that I saw the travellers' palm. You can see this unusual tree in the above photograph. I had read about this tree in a book when I was a child. Apparently, there is a small water reservoir in this tree that somehow stores clean water.

This was also the first time that I saw the travellers' palm. You can see this unusual tree in the above photograph. I had read about this tree in a book when I was a child. Apparently, there is a small water reservoir in this tree that somehow stores clean water.

Most of the buildings face East so morning time is usually good for photography. Yellow against blue makes it a fantastic color scheme. However,  the place tends to get quite crowded so getting a good shot with people placed picturesquely is very rare.

Most of the buildings face East so morning time is usually good for photography. Yellow against blue makes it a fantastic color scheme. However,  the place tends to get quite crowded so getting a good shot with people placed picturesquely is very rare.

The Royal Palace complex can easily take half a day to explore properly. Apart from the regular buildings, you will also find a miniature model of the Angkor Wat. If you are lucky, you can catch great reflections in your sunglasses here.

The Royal Palace complex can easily take half a day to explore properly. Apart from the regular buildings, you will also find a miniature model of the Angkor Wat. If you are lucky, you can catch great reflections in your sunglasses here.

The Royal Palace Complex had a few resident cats. These cats were always on a prowl for the pigeons who would land near the water holes, or around the miniature Angkor Wat, which has a small water channel around it that also contains fish. You can't really blame the cats then.

The Royal Palace Complex had a few resident cats. These cats were always on a prowl for the pigeons who would land near the water holes, or around the miniature Angkor Wat, which has a small water channel around it that also contains fish. You can't really blame the cats then.

One can never really get tired of clicking these buildings.

One can never really get tired of clicking these buildings.

As you walk from the Throne Hall to the Silver Pagoda, watch out for the fresco paintings on the walls. On the surface, you get an impression that the paintings are about some Cambodian mythology. However, upon looking closely, you will recognize several shapes and forms and would form the connection between Ramayana and Reamker, the Cambodian version of Ramayana.

As you walk from the Throne Hall to the Silver Pagoda, watch out for the fresco paintings on the walls. On the surface, you get an impression that the paintings are about some Cambodian mythology. However, upon looking closely, you will recognize several shapes and forms and would form the connection between Ramayana and Reamker, the Cambodian version of Ramayana.

Apart from the Throne Hall, the Silver Pagoda, and the temple of the Emerald Buddha, there are smaller Stupas around that look a little random, considering their rebellion against the color scheme and scale.

Apart from the Throne Hall, the Silver Pagoda, and the temple of the Emerald Buddha, there are smaller Stupas around that look a little random, considering their rebellion against the color scheme and scale. 

Here are the "Gardens of Kailasa Mountain". Sounds familiar? This is a cool, shady area with lush green palms and other tropical trees surrounding the central temple and the many statues of Buddha that surround it. It is a great place to catch a rest at for it is bound to be several degrees cooler than the surroundings.

Here are the "Gardens of Kailasa Mountain". Sounds familiar? This is a cool, shady area with lush green palms and other tropical trees surrounding the central temple and the many statues of Buddha that surround it. It is a great place to catch a rest at for it is bound to be several degrees cooler than the surroundings.

Adding to the beauty are these little prayers, written in Khmer Script, on the leaves of palms. It feels like the prayer wheels - every time the wind blows, these prayers spread around.

Adding to the beauty are these little prayers, written in Khmer Script, on the leaves of palms. It feels like the prayer wheels - every time the wind blows, these prayers spread around.

Once you are done strolling through the complex, you head towards the exit. On the way, you will find some musicians playing traditional Cambodian instruments, such as Chhing, Khloy, Roneat Aek, Sampho etc. You will also find the model of a stilted Cambodian house. You can climb up and walk in to see what these houses are from the inside.

Once you are done strolling through the complex, you head towards the exit. On the way, you will find some musicians playing traditional Cambodian instruments, such as Chhing, Khloy, Roneat Aek, Sampho etc. You will also find the model of a stilted Cambodian house. You can climb up and walk in to see what these houses are from the inside. 

The house is almost entirely made of wood. With colorful decor, but rustic furniture, the house looks made up, yet authentic.    The trip to the Royal Palace was concluding and we had to decide our next destination. We chose to stay close by and explore the river front. I will share more about the river front in my next blog post. Stay tuned !

The house is almost entirely made of wood. With colorful decor, but rustic furniture, the house looks made up, yet authentic.

The trip to the Royal Palace was concluding and we had to decide our next destination. We chose to stay close by and explore the river front. I will share more about the river front in my next blog post. Stay tuned !

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