On our final day in Phnom Penh we decided to check out the Royal Palace. I’d read some reviews on tripadvisor before we went (it’s often quite amusing) and somebody had written that the Royal Palace puts Buckingham Palace to shame…
The entrance fee to the Royal Palace was a bit steep at $6 a person. (You had to pay $3 to take your camera in with you!). We thought it was pretty expensive considering you only really had access to 3 buildings and the gardens. Also, despite paying $3 to take your camera in with you, you couldn’t take pictures inside the Throne Hall or inside the Silver Pagoda.. which basically meant you paid $3 to take pictures of the garden. There were scary guards inside the Throne Hall and Silver Pagoda shouting at anyone who was even holding their camera inside these buildings.
Having just complained about the entry fee, I must admit that the Royal Palace was very impressive – there was so much gold. It was amazing that the streets outside the palace were dusty dirt roads and yet inside the palace walls was all this grandeur!
We then went into the Silver Pagoda and we were rather confused as to why it was called so and wondered whether we were in the right place. Kyle asked the guard and he confirmed that sure enough this was the Silver Pagoda and lifted up the red carpet to show us the silver floor underneath. 95% of the silver floor is covered to protect it, which seemed pretty pointless to me. Why have something as lavish as a silver floor if you have to protect it?
Obviously there are no pictures of the Emerald Buddha or the 2048 carat gold Buddha inside the Silver Pagoda because you weren’t allowed!
After an hour or two we decided we’d had enough of the Royal Palace and decided to go back to the hostel before our coach left for Siem Reap. As soon as we walked out the Royal Palace we were greeted by beggars and children with amputated limbs asking us for money. They kept saying to us ‘please, please. we need eat. please’. I thought it was incredibly sad that the King of Cambodia lives in this grand palace covered in gold and just outside the palace there are hundreds of people begging for money and living in poverty.