Two of the 1000 places are in Cambodia. One is the world famous Angkor Wat near Siem Reap and the other one is the Silver Pagoda. Today I’ll recap our trip to Phnom Penh and the wonderful Silver Pagoda, which is part of the Royal Palace. There isn’t too much to write about the Silver Pagoda, so I hope that at least the pictures will waken you desire to travel to South East Asia.
In a previous post I already wrote about the trip to Phnom Penh and the wonderful things we seen on the way (like the crazy “public transportation”), so now I can focus on the Silver Pagoda.
First, lets start with the Bad
As mentioned before, the Silver Pagoda is part of the Royal Palace of the King of Cambodia. Because the King still lives there, only very few parts are open to the public. Since we went there on a sunday (bad idea), we had to wait in line for quite a while to get in because the entrance is free to Cambodians.
That was something we have seen quite a lot in Cambodia and to be honest, I didn’t really like that Cambodians get in for free. I understand that they can’t pay the same as western tourists, but considering that in some cases like Angkor Wat, most of the money for restoration comes from other countries, I would expect the Cambodians to pay their share, even if it’s only ten cents compared to the $7 we each had to pay.
To make things worse, they cancelled a service they had, where you could rent a shirt or “dress” for $1 if you had inappropriate clothes on (shoulders showing and/or pants to short). Instead now you have to buy a hideous t-shirt of the Silver Pagoda for $4. So if you are going to any temple in South East Asia, remember to dress appropriately.
And now to the Good
When we finally got into the Silver Pagoda, we got to see one of the most beautiful temples in South East Asia. Of course, after a while, you might suffer from a temple burnout as most temples do look very similar to the untrained (or western) eye.
The area which is open to the public consists of many different temples and buildings and some are more interesting than others. The main attraction is the Silver Pagoda where the entire floor is covered in silver tiles. Inside there is life-size golden buddha, which is covered in 9500 diamonds. One of the diamonds is supposed to weigh 25 carats. Unfortunately, there are no photos allowed inside any of the temples.
The entire temple area is surrounded by a wall with magnificent wall paintings which have probably suffered badly from the floods, since only the upper parts of the paintings are still visible.
Is the Silver Pagoda one of the 1000 places?
The Silver Pagoda is a wonderful Buddhist temple and if you haven’t seen to many of them yet, you will be stunned. If you have traveled around South East Asia before, you might have already seen too many temples to really appreciate the beauty of it. Therefore the temple is too impressive to scratch it from the list, but not distinguished enough to be a place on its own.
And since we have been so impressed by the Cambodian countryside, we decided to combine the two into one.
So if you are already in Cambodia, maybe to see the miracle that is Angkor Wat (you’ll hear more about that soon), you should hop on a bus to Phnom Penh, enjoy the beautiful Cambodian sights and stop by the Silver Pagoda, one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples.