The Silver Pagoda (once called "The Temple of the Emerald Buddha") is located on the south side of the Royal Palace. The flooring of the pagoda is inlaid with 5329 solid silver tiles, which is why this structure gets its name and a great destination to see on any well-planned Cambodia Adventure Tour.
The original version of the pagoda was formally a wooden building and built in 1866. It was later rebuilt in marble and concrete and a floor that consists of over 5000 tiles in silver that each weighs 1 kilo. The latest version of the pagoda is famous for its many national treasures that include jewelled and gold Buddha statues.
The most notable of the statues is the famous life-sized Buddha in solid gold at 90 kg, decorated with thousands of diamonds and made in 1907, while there is also a further Buddha statue (the "Emerald Buddha" of Cambodia) that is believed to be made of baccarat crystal.
Beyond the major Buddha statues, there are a variety of unique jewels and artefacts that share the pagoda, including several solid gold figurines that depict the story of the Buddha.
The endless cabinets inside the Silver Pagoda showcase precious objects, icons and statues, but not all of these have explanations in English. Using an English-speaking guide on this trip can help those wishing to learn more about the objects and their significance.
It may be possible to sneak a peak at the 5000+ gleaming silver tiles near the entrance - although most are covered and hard to see, because the floor is protected to avoid environment and foot traffic damage. Plus, the staircase that leads up to the Silver Pagoda is made entirely of Italian marble.
The gardens of Silver Pagoda make a pleasant surprise where it is possible to see large-scale models of other temples, such as the well-known Angkor Wat temple
Aim to set aside at least 1 or 2 hours on the Cambodia package tours to give enough time to fully explore the Silver Pagoda and its statues and artefacts. It is possible to hire a tour guide at the entrance gate; even though there is an extra charge for this service, it is well worth the extra information you will gain. Also, most of the structures face east, so plan to visit in the morning to get the really best light for photographs.
How to Dress
All visitors to the royal palace grounds must abide by appropriate dress rules. This means it is necessary to keep the shoulders and knees covered. This can include a long skirt, three-quarter length trousers, a T-shirt, or other top with sleeves. Plus, it can benefit to wear shoes that are quick and easy to take off because they must be removed (convenient cubby holes for storing shoes are provided outside) before entering the Silver Pagoda.
How to get there
The Royal Palace is situated within a relatively short distance from the city of Phnom Penh close to the river. It is a 5 minute walk from the central market of Phnom Penh or slightly longer if walking from the train station. Other travel options for those that prefer not to walk include a taxi or a tuk-tuk.