The former King of Cambodia Preah Norodom Sihanouk died on October 15, 2012 at a hospital in Beijing, China, after a heart attack. Born in 1922 and came to the throne in 1941, then led Cambodia to independence from France in 1953, the late king was considered as the best national hero by Cambodian people. His coffin was taken to home on October 17 by King Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen. The kingdom then announced 7 national mourning days and have been remaining the late king’s coffin at the royal palace in Phnom Penh for 3 months before an elaborate funeral and cremation.
Sihanouk’s body will lie in state at the palace for 3 months, it means the palace will be closed for the tourists whose tour programs always included royal palace as a must see attraction in Phnom Penh. Meanwhile, the Cambodian government also announced to cancel all planned activities for a famous festival - the water festival that in Khmer called Bon Om Tuk. This is one of the biggest traditional festival in the kingdom.
As a result of the decision, at least to the mid of Jan, 2013 tourists are going to have chance to visit the royal palace. All tour programs in the period had to cancel this beloved place. However, there is another famous attraction - Silver pagoda - still opened to the public. This is also an beautiful architecture located in the royal palace complex with a collection of royal Buddha gold, silver, pearl statues and other valuables.