Anurak Thailand Tourism The tourist website about Thailand by Thaiways magazine, the most comprehensive guide to Thailand.
 
Contents : Hotels, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hua Hin, Krabi, Pattaya, Phang-nga, Phuket, Samui, Maps
Cover story : 10 Mar 06
Vol. 22 No. 23
Palaces in Bangkok
                                             By Dararai

As Thailand has been a monarchy since ancient time, it is natural to find many old palaces scattered throughout its capital and major towns in provinces like Nakhon Pathom and Phetchaburi. In Bangkok, important palaces have been registered as national heritages and have undergone maintenance to preserve their good conditions. Some of them are opened to the public to allow people, especially the younger generations to learn about lives in the past.


Chakri Mahaprasat Throne Hall

There are many royal palaces in Bangkok but Thaiways has selected only five that are magnificent and open to the public to be introduced to you. They are all beautiful historical attractions worth visiting.



Dusit Mahaprasat Hall is used to
house corpses of the members of the Royal family before the cremation and is where high-rank officials receive decorations from HM King Bhumibol

1. The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is probably the place most frequently visited by foreigners. It was built on the east side of the Chao Phraya River after King Rama I ascended the throne as the founder of the Chakri Dynasty on 6 April 1782. At present it is the place for royal ceremonies. It comprises several gorgeous throne halls such as Borommaphiman Throne Hall, Amarinthara Winitchai Throne Hall and Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall.


When entering the tourist gate,
on your left is the Temple of
the Emerald Buddha.

The last one is a 3-storey building. Its top covering is pure Thai with tapering spires and tiered sloping roofs, and the lower parts are in Imperial Victorian style.


Garuda a mythological bird,
is a symbol of the King.


Besides, the temple of the Emerald Buddha housing the most highly revered Buddha image of the same name is located in its compound. Its awesome aesthetic value may make you stunned.


Location: Na Phralan Road Opening hours: Daily 08:30-15:30 Admission: Foreigners 250 baht. Flip-flops and shorts are not allowed.


The Grand Palace and the Temple
of the Emerald Buddha at night

2. The Vimanmek Mansion

Vimanmek is well known as the world's largest golden teakwood mansion which has been made a museum devoted exclusively to the memory of King Chulalongkorn who built it in 1900.



Vimanmek Mansion

The mansion was built entirely of golden teakwood except the octagonal compartment where the King lived, which has four storeys. It is in the shape of the letter "L" extending 60 metres on both sides. The widest part is 35 metres and the height from floor to roof-top is 28 metres. What is amazing is that all the pieces of wood forming the building were mortised together without the use of a single nail except the flooring.




The interior of Vimanmek Mansion

After the King passed away, the mansion was left uninhabited except for a few months in 1925, when it was occupied by a consort of King Rama VI.


Suan Si Ruedu (four seasons)
mansion is in the same compound of
Vimanmek Mansion.

Then in 1982, Queen Sirikit obtained King Bhumibol's permission to have the mansion thoroughly renovated and restored to its former glory and opened it as a museum to commemorate King Rama and to serve as a showcase for the Thai national heritage for future generations.


A delicate hand-made work of
art exhibited at Vimanmek Mansion

Location: Ratchawithi Road Opening hours: Daily 09:30-15:15 Admission: Thais 75 baht; Foreigners 100 baht.

3. The Ananta Samakhom Hall
The hall was created from marble by the command of King Rama V with the objective to make it a throne hall to receive guests and conduct meetings about state affairs. However, the building was not completed until the reign of King Rama VI (1910-1925). It was converted into the Parliament Building in 1932. After the new Parliament Building was created behind it, the Ananta Samakhom Hall has been used for royal and important state ceremonies.


Ananta Samakhom Hall

Besides its magnificent architectural style, on the dome ceilings of the Ananta Samakhom Hall there are artistic paintings depicting important royal meritorious acts of the six Thai Kings from Rama I to Rama VI.
Location: U-thong Nai Road Opening hours: Daily 09:30-15:15 Admission: Thais 75 baht; Foreigners 100 baht



A painting in Ananta Samakhom Hall
depicting the abolition of
slavery by King Chulalongkorn

4. The Old Thon Buri Palace

It was built in 1768 after Phraya Tak succeeded in expelling the Burmese invading army and founded a new capital in Thon Buri, from where he ruled Siam as King Taksin. The palace served as the residence of the King for 14 years. After his death in 1782, it continued to be used by King Rama I of the new Chakri Dynasty until the Grand Palace was constructed across the Chao Phraya River.



The Old Thon Buri Palace


The palace was then used as a residence of several members of the royal family of high ranks until the reign of King Rama V who allowed the palace to be used as the site of the Naval Academy. There are several buildings in the compound such as King Taksin's Shrine and a Chinese pavilion.


Items in King Taksin Museum in the same
compound of the Old Thon Buri Palace


The architectural style of the palace is an impressive mixture of Thai and Chinese arts. The first Western architectural royal residence ever found in the country is also here. It is King Pinklao's Residence. The palace was recognised by UNESCO in 2004 as a cultural heritage.



Inside King Taksin Museum


Location: Wang Doem Road Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 08:30-16:00 Admission: Open for groups only. A permission must be obtained in advance. Please contact your travel agent.



An antique on display at
Suan Pakkad Palace

5. The Suan Pakkad Palace
Amidst the din in the heart of Bangkok on Si Ayutthaya Road, is located a peaceful and shadey place in an area of 6 rai (9,600 sq.m.) called Suan Pakkad, a palace turned museum. Before the construction of the palace, the site was a commercial cabbage garden -- hence, its unusual name which means Cabbage Garden.




Suan Pakkad Palace Museum is considered among the most magnificent buildings in the country. The palace formerly belonged to HRH Prince Chumbhot Paribatra of Nagara Svarga, a grandson of King Rama V (1868-1910) and M.R. Pantip Paribatra.




Since both of them were fond of antiquities, they had collected a large quantity of antiques and works of art. With the objective to preserve their valuable collections, they then opened their scenic residence in 1962 to the public, to view their collections including priceless objects from the pre-historic to the contemporary period.



Antiques and works of art exhibited
at Suan Pakkad Palace

Location: Si Ayutthaya Road Opening Hours: Daily 09:00-16:00 Admission: Thais 50 baht; Foreigners 100 baht

If you are interested in visiting any of the above palaces, you may be required to contact the authorities concerned in advance in case some palaces are during renovation or the opening hours are changed. However, many travel agencies specialize in city tours and you can contact them to set a sight-seeing tour for you.




For the correct pronunciation of romanized Thai words, see
Romanization System of the Thai Language.





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