A guide to understand and visit Silver Pagoda Phnom Penh

Southeast Asia is an emerging tourism industry, therefore, countries there are welcoming more and more foreign visitors. Not only do travelers relax and entertain but they also come there in order to discover the culture, religion and tradition. To plan your Indochina tours, Cambodia is a country which worth exploring. If you want to dig into the religion especially Buddhism, you should never miss Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. This article would provide you with a basic guide about the destination.

History of Silver Pagoda Phnom Penh

Silver Pagoda is located in the south position of Royal Palace, Phnom Penh. The official name of the pagoda is Wat Ubaosoth Ratanaram which means Temple of the Emerald Crystal of Buddha; but people usually call Wat Preah Keo for short. The pagoda used to be a place where the King worshiped, prayed and practiced every Buddhist Silas Day. Besides, Buddhist ceremonies were also held by royal family. It was originally a wooden construction in 1892 under King Norodom. After 11 years, the opening ceremony was held, in other words, it was called Banchos Khan Seima ceremony. 


Silver Pagoda
A corner of Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Later, the temple underwent through a serious damage and Queen Kosamak Neary Rath asked for the repair. Then the pagoda was dismantled and rebuilt in 1962 in the same site with reinforced concrete under the lead of Samdach Preah Norodom Sihanouk; who was the Queen’s son as well as the head of the state at that time. In the reconstruction, the structure was remained; yet the floor was laid with silver titles and the columns were covered with glass stone. It is the fact that 5,329 silver titles were used to cover the floor, then it is called Silver Pagoda like today. 

Silver Pagoda travel guide

Not only is the pagoda covered with more than 5,000 silver titles but the staircase leading to the pagoda is made of Italian marble, with the temple home to a life-sized gold Buddha dripping with 2,086 diamonds. The largest is said to weigh a 25 carats. Moreover, there are about 1,650 art objects which are mainly Buddha figures inside the temple. They are made of gold, silver, bronze and other valuable materials. These statues are gifts from the King, the royal family, dignitaries and other people worshiping at Preah Vihear Keo Morakot where they pray for peace and prosperity, for happiness and the preservation of Cambodian cultural heritage for the next generation. 

Objects of particular interest in the Preah Vihear Keo Morakot include the Preah Keo Morakot and the Emerald Buddha which sits atop throne in the center of the temple. Statues in other cabinets are the keepsakes and decorated objects for royal and Buddha ceremonies. The surrounding of Silver Pagoda also impresses you with lofty gallery. The wall of the gallery is hang with traditional paintings of the entire Ream Ke epic. It is said that these paintings were done by 40 Cambodian artists between 1903 and 1904. The 642-meter-long Ream Ke painting starts from the south of the eastern gallery and run around the gallery. Therefore, visitors have to walk in a circle so as to understand the historical stories.


Overview of Silver Pagoda
The overview of Silver Pagoda – the most famous pagoda in Cambodia

In front of Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot, there are two stupas and a statue under the roof. The south stupas hold the remain of King Ang Doung, the great-great grandfather of King Sihanouk. The north stupas hold cremains of King Norodom, the great grandfather of King Shihanouk. Both stupas were dedicated on March 13, 1980. 

In addition, a bell hat is installed in the West of Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot. The bell hat is used in various ceremonies and to mark the opening and closing of Silver Pagoda. This bell, in the past, was used to call monks studying Pali language in the pagoda. 

When you go there, you will be introduced about Tipitaka, the fundamental scriptural canon of Buddhism, include Sutta Pitaka. The Sutta Pitaka, or a collection of discourse, is composed based on the conversation between the Buddha and people. It consists of five groups of texts: Digha Nikaya – Collection of long discourses, Mijjhima Nikaya – Collection of medium discourses, Samyutta Nikaya – Collection of grouped discourses, Anguttara Nikaya – Collection of discourses on numbered topics and Khuddaka Nikaya – Collection of miscellaneous texts.


Silver pagoda
Travelers would understand more about Buddhism once visiting there

Silver Pagoda entrance fee

In order to visit Silver Pagoda, you have to go through the Royal Palace, therefore, your ticket include the visiting fee for both places. The destination is open to public everyday of the week on the schedule from 7:30 to 11:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00 (except for important events, the place is only available for the royal family or the government). The entrance fee is US$3 and the fee will be fluctuated depending on whether you take photos or not. US$2 is added for taking pictures. However, photography is allowed in the outside exhibition areas only. Visitors should remember that exposed knees and shoulders are considered disrespectful.

Suggested Phnom Penh tours

In conclusion, Silver Pagoda is a guide to help you understand about Cambodian culture and religion. Certainly, your horizon about Southeast Asia in general and Buddhism in particular will be expanded. Don’t hesitate, hit your road, plan your Cambodia tour package to visit Silver Pagoda.


Mai Linh – Travel Lover

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