PHNOM PENH, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Royal Palace, the most popular tourist spot in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, will be reopened for the public from Dec. 1 after a closure for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"National and international tourists will be allowed to visit the Royal Palace from Dec. 1, 2022 onwards," Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol said in a letter released to the media on Friday.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the beautiful towering spires of the buildings at the Royal Palace are a great example of classic Khmer architecture found in Cambodia.
Tourists are welcome to visit the Throne Hall (Preah Tineang Tevea Vinichhay), where coronations and official ceremonies take place, the ministry said.
The gardens are beautifully manicured, and buildings on the palace grounds include the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Preah Keo Morakot), Stupas, the Royal Dining Hall, the Chan Chhaya Pavilion and a French building that was a gift from Napoleon III, the ministry added.
Among the numerous interesting buildings, within the 183,135-square-meter compound is the Khemarin Palace, or the "Palace of the Khmer King", which is the official residence of current King Norodom Sihamoni, the ministry said, adding that the Khemarin Palace is in a protected part of the compound and not opened to the public.
The number of international tourists to Cambodia has increased at a faster-than-expected pace, prompting the kingdom to lift its target to 2 million tourists for 2022, up from earlier forecast of 1 million, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said.
"Cambodia's full reopening of its borders to all travelers, high COVID-19 vaccination rates and tourism development strategies are key to attracting tourists to the kingdom," Khon told Xinhua. ■