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Published: January 1st 2019
The National Museum
View from its garden
This morning we walked along the river front to the National Museum. It’s only a 2km walk from our hotel but being so hot and humid we stopped for an iced drink before going in.
The museum costs $10 for entry and a further $5 for an audio guide. Personally I think it’s very overpriced. The museum itself is interesting with mostly religious items from the pre-Angkor (Buddhist and Hindu) and Angkor (Buddhist) eras. There’s very little from more recent times and not much that explains activities of daily life and how people used live. Personally I find how people lived more interesting than the religious artefacts.
The museum is built around a beautiful courtyard with lily ponds containing fish and this is a calm & quiet place to relax.
If you go I would give the audio guide a miss - it seems to have been made up from clips of words and then put together into sentences which makes it very hard to listen to. It also has far too many different things to listen (well over 400) to with no indication as to which are the most important pieces to choose and most of the artefacts are reasonably
Just around the corner from the museum is a little restaurant called ‘Davids’ the food here is reasonably priced and good. We enjoyed a Tom Yum soup each. The best bit was that they make their own noodles and you can watch them doing it out the front of the restaurant.
After eating we headed to the Royal Palace next door. Originally built in 1866 the palace is still the home of the royal family and so you can only see a small part of the complex. Entry is $10 and they have a strict dress code (essentially shoulders and knees need to be covered).
As you enter the complex the first building you can see is the throne room, which is incredibly opulent. It has frescos all around the ceiling and plenty of gilding. You can’t actually go inside but can peak in through open doors & windows.
The other main building to see is the silver pagoda - this has a silver tiled floor (hence its name) which is mostly covered up. It also contains an emerald Buddha and has collections of smaller gold & marble Buddhas.
As you leave the palace there are
a number of small galleries which are easy to miss. We found these worthwhile looking at. There was a room full of small elephant statues in gold, silver, marble and wood. You can’t help but wonder why you would ever need so many identical elephants... There’s also a collection of photos of the king, momento’s from the royal dancers and a mock up of a traditional Cambodian house.
Having explored the palace we walked back to our hotel along the river front. This walk is much more pleasant in the late afternoon when it’s shady and cooler.
Back at the hotel I went for a swim before getting ready for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Our hotel put on a free buffet and the rooftop bar had fab views over the river so we could watch the fireworks.
Happy new year!
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