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Opulence Amidst Poverty: The Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda

After visiting the somber Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Museum, I looked for more relaxing things to do. I ended up visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.

Phnom Penh was a bustling city albeit smaller in size compared to Metro Manila, but because of its smaller size visiting the well-known areas and tourist attractions were easier. Thankfully, the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda were just around 10-15 minutes walk from the hostel I was staying in.
Opulence Amidst Poverty: The Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda

The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh was constructed just over a hundred years ago in the 1860s. Before then, most of the Khmer royalty had their palaces built near or around the ancient ruins of Angkor. The palace was built during the reign of King Norodom, who decided to move the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the 19th century.

As I walked around the Royal Palace, it reminded me so much of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, but not the same kind of grandeur that I experienced as I was in Bangkok. The architecture of the buildings and the palace itself was similar to the ones I saw in Bangkok. As I walked further in, I saw many halls and offices of royalty.

In the last section of the palace grounds, I got to see the Silver Pagoda.

The Silver Pagoda, also known as Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot, houses many golden statues of Buddha. The most well-known artifact in the pagoda grounds is Cambodia's emerald Buddha.

After exploring some parts of Phnom Penh the day before, I was reminded of how rich and influential the Cambodians were during their heyday compared to modern Cambodia. There were a lot of beggars that roamed the streets and many sections of the city in disrepair. Modern day Phnom Penh contrasted the richness of culture and life in ancient times. I wonder when will Cambodia rise to prominence again?

*There is an entrance fee of US$6.5 to enter the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.

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