The Royal Palace and gay gossip in Phnom Penh
It is not allowed to take in weapons, says the sign at the ticket counter of Cambodia’s Royal Palace that has the best location in town facing a river arm of the Mekong. Not being armed but, as it turned out, dressed inappropriately, it was time to change into a difficult to walk in scratchy, ugly, dark red Sari that I had to rent for 10 $ at the palace.
Inside the royal court, we enjoyed a walk in peace without being herded around like surrounding tourist flocks, only being followed by the burning sun. Sunscreen factor 50 did a great job today.
The Palace was build in a mixture of Khmer and French style and only dates back to the 19th century, which also underwent many changes and face-lifts in modern times, thereby lacking that antiquated palace feel. It is all very shiny and new. Many of the palace buildings were closed for ongoing renovation. Expositions of royal life, received court presents and dancing traditions are very outdated and poorly presented, which are either a turn off for further examination, or mostly a good laugh. Dusty exhibits are mixed up in themes, not labeled or just carelessly thrown into glass commodes.
The highlight is clearly the Silver Pagoda with many beautifully carved and jeweled Buddha statues, two of which are very precious: the alien looking green Emerald Buddha (my favorite) and the expensive life size golden Buddha topped with over 9,000 diamonds. The floor of the Silver Pagoda is covered with silver plates the size of bathroom tiles. This is where unique design ideas meet royal wealth.
The Cambodian open royal secret is that the king is gay. Still a bachelor at the age of 58, a trained ballet dancer, grew up in Prague, lived in Paris, whose father says that ‘his son likes women as sisters’, how many stereotypes is that? Apparently, the king also spoke in favor of gay relationships and said that ‘as a liberal democracy, Cambodia should allow marriage between man or woman’.
Enjoy the palace pics:
|Halt! You are not entering in that outfit!||How did she get in topless?|
Scary statue or Buddha statue – whose donation box would you fill?
He always gets in without a ticket and has access to all prohibited areas.
|Closed door.||Curious monks.|
The royal gardens.
Royal buildings. Khemarin Palace in front.
Blinded by the royal structures and the sun.
Behind the windows is the throne hall. Photography not allowed. So here is Tomek instead.
That is such a perfect royal hedge and guarding statue.
Nice palace close ups.
Sitting, standing, watching.
What’s in here? Following the wise monks for answers.
Golden deco everywhere.
Lotus flower stupa.
Found this sweet bunny in between the exhibition mess.
Meet his majesty the king: as a tiny statue or being carried away as a real person – to better gay rights in Cambodia maybe?
Royal glimpse of the palace from a distance.