Category: Royal Palaces

Grand Palace

The Grand Palace

Every visitor to Bangkok should see the magnificent buildings within the Grand Palace compound to get a feeling of the grandeur architectural style.

Since the founding of Bangkok as the Nations capital by King Rama I, The Grand Palace has been the major architectural symbol of The Thai Royal Family. In the present time, The Royal Family resides at Chitralada Palace while The Grand Palace is used for ceremonial purposes.

The main buildings within the Grand Palace compound were built for King Rama V, who was the first Thai King to travel to Europe.

The Grand Palace

Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat, built in 1877 by King Rama V as his Royal Residence, is the most highly recognized architectural landmark of the Nation. The central Throne Hall, which was formerly used for the reception of foreign envoys, is flanked by reception areas decorated with galleries of portraiture. The central room on the second floor is used as a shrine for the reliquary ashes of Kings Rama IV, Rama V, Rama VI, Rama VII and Rama VIII.

Borom Phiman Mansion was also constructed during the reign of King Rama V. When his son, King Rama VI ascended to the throne, he had it improved for use as his residence. The three succeeding Kings also resided here at one time or another.

The Siwalai Gardens, where the office of The Royal Household Bureau is located, were used for receptions as well as a recreation area for the royal women and children.

Maha Monthien Prasat houses The Audience Hall of Amarin Winitchai where ceremonies of the Court usually take place in front of the throne surmounted by its canopy of nine tiers of white cloth.

The Grand Palace

THINGS TO KNOW:

How to go there: The most enjoyable route is to take the BTS Skytrain to Taksin Station. From here take a Chao Phraya River Express boat to Tha Chang Wang Luang Pier. It is a short walk from the pier to the entrance to The Grand Palace public entrance.

Opening Hours: Open to the public everyday, except during special Royal Ceremonies, from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

Admission Fee: Baht 500. This also includes admission to Wat Phra Kaeo, The Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion in the same compound and to Vimanmek Mansion Museum on Ratchawithi Road. Baht 100. for rental personal audio guide in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese or Mandarin.

Contacts: Tel : 0 2623 5500 ext.3100, 0 2224 3273
Website: www.palaces.thai.net
Nearby Attractions: Tha Chang Pier , Wat Pho, Wat Arun, National Museum

The Grand Palace

Dress Code: Visitors are required to dress appropriately. Thus the following dress – code (applicable to both ladies and gentlemen) is requested:
1. Shorts, mini-skirts, short skirts, tight fitting trousers, as well as tights can not be worn as outer garments.
2. See-through shirts and blouses, as well as culottes or quarter length trousers can not be worn.
3. Sleeveless shirts or vests can not be worn as outer garments.
4. Sandals (without ankle or heel straps) can not be worn.
5. All shirt sleeves, whether long or short, can not be rolled up.
6. Sweat shirts and sweat pants, wind-cheaters, pajamas and fisherman trousers can not be worn.

Suan Pakkard

suan pakkard

On the site of what was once a cabbage field (suan pakkad), Princess Chumbon of Nakhon Sawan had the palace built as a weekend resort, and after World War II was over, she moved in permanently. Now, visitors can see her collection of arts and antiques, including betel nut utensils, minerals, shells, Khmer Buddha statues and antique furniture sheltered in five traditional Thai houses on the palace grounds. Other artifacts on display date from prehistoric times (Baan Chiang pottery) to the Rattanakosin period, and include objects from other Asian nations. The outside area is equally beautiful; magnificent landscape surrounds the tranquil lake and the Japanese-style garden. In the back of the complex lies the Lacquer Pavilion, a building from the Ayutthaya period. It features beautiful lacquer murals showing illustrations of Buddha’s life and scenes from the Ramakien.

THINGS TO SEE:

House 1: This building contains images of the Thai Royal Family, model boats and six drums. Upstairs are artifacts such as an image of the goddess Uma, Buddha images from the U-Thong period of Thailand, India and Myanmar.

House 2: This was originally a reception area, and displays personal objects such as ivory boxes and bowls inlaid with mother-of-pearl.

House 3: Thai musical instruments, nielloware, Bencharong ceramics and a palanquin are displayed here.

House 4: Originally a dining room in Japanese style, this house has a mother-of-pearl inlaid door fram dating from the 17th century. On the lower floor is an exhibition titled “The cave of Ali Baba”, showing the princess’ extensive mineral collection.

House 5: the upper room displays ancient Baan Chiang pottery, while downstairs there are sea shells, rocks and fossils.

House 6: Sawankhalok ceramics, ancient stone axes, earthenware utensils and figurines from the Sukhothai period can be seen here.

House 7: This is a Khon museum with masks, costumes and accessories, and a model of Ramayana troupe playing a scene from the battle of Kumphakan, as well as video presentations.

Lacquer Pavilion: This is perhaps the most exquisite building in Suan Pakkad Palace. Outside are carvings, lacquer patterns. Inside are pictures in lacquer, covering topics that range from the Ramakien to everyday life in Ayutthaya.

Marasi Gallery: located on the first floor of the Chumbnot-Pantip Art Gallery. Exhibitions are held here regularly to promote contemporary art, photography, ceramics and performance. The Ban Chiang Museum on the second floor displays ancient artifacts and features an exhibition about the details of Bang Chiang art and culture.

THINGS TO KNOW:

Address: 352 Thanon Si Ayutthaya

Tel: 0 2245 4934, 0 2246 1775-6

To get there :

Bus routes 14, 17, 38, 77, 29,39,36
Phaya Thai BTS  station

Open: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Mon-Sat

Admission: 100 baht for foreigner, 50 baht for Thai people, 20 baht for students.

Website : www.suanpakkad.com

Misc .:

No photohraphy is allowed inside the buildings.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS:

Victory Monument
Thai Labour Museum
Pratunam Market
Siam City Hotel

The Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall

Bangkok Guidebook
Bangkok Guidebook
The Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall is the beautiful white building facing the Royal Plaza where the statue of H.M. King Chulalongkorn ( Rama V )stands.

In 1906, His Majesty commissioned the construction of a new Throne Hall within the grounds of the Dusit Palace. The name Ananda Samakhom was taken from a previous building that had
deteriorated and was no longer usable. The foundation stone was placed by His Majesty King
Chulalongkorn on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his ascension to the throne.

The design and construction was supervised by Chao Phraya Yommaraj, with a team of Italian architects, engineers and painters. It took nine years to complete the building, which is designed in Italian Renaissance style. The exterior is decorated with marble imported from Carrara in Italy.

As beautiful as the exterior is, it is the exquisite paintings inside that really take your breath away. These paintings, by Mr. C. Riguli and Prof. G. Chini, trace the history of the Chakri Dynasty from Kings Rama I to Rama VI.

The north side dome is painted to depict King Rama I on his return from a battle in a neighbouring country, while the eastern dome has paintings of Kings Rama II and Rama III and their support for the arts.
How to get there:
Bus routes 70, 72, 503

Open : Daily  from 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except public holidays) Admission : 50 baht (proper attire is essential)Tel : 0 2628 6300 ext. 5119 – 5121  www.palaces.thai.net

The Former Palace

The Former Palace (affectionately nicknamed Wang Doem) is situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River at the mouth of Bangkok Yai Canal, next to Wat Arun (The Temple of The Dawn).  Sitting on the opposite bank from Bangkok’s Grand Palace, Wang Doem represents a crucial period in the history of the Kingdom of Siam.

It was the ruling palace of the City of Thonburi, which was established by King Taksin the Great in 1768, after he recaptured Siam’s independence from Burma.  Since Ayutthaya (the previous Siamese capital) had been totally razed by the Burmese invaders, King Taksin established Thonburi as his capital city instead.

Though the reign of King Taksin the Great lasted just 12 years (1770-1782), he set the Kingdom firmly back on the path to independence and national pride, having restored both the country itself and the spirit of the people.  Thonburi remained the capital of Siam for 15 years, until it was decided to move across the river for reasons of strategic defense.  The location of the old city of Bangkok is nestled by the Chao Phraya on three sides, making it easier to defend.

Even after the move, the Former Palace retained its crucial importance because of its ‘Wichai Prasit’ Fort.  Also called ‘Wichai Yen’, this fort was built during the reign of King Narai the Great of Ayutthaya Kingdom.  Wichai Prasit Fort was an essential line of defense to protect Bangkok from invaders.

Besides its administrative and military glories, the Former Palace was the place where Kings Rama III and IV of the Chakri Dynasty were born.  In 1910, King Rama V donated the palace to the Royal Thai Navy School.  It still serves as the headquarters of the Royal Thai Navy.

Buildings of the Former Palace:
The Principal Audience Hall is a Thai-style building, its roof adorned with magnificent Naga and swan stuccos.   Formerly, this was the audience hall in which visiting officials were received in state.  In front of the hall is an open pillared verandah covered by a saddle roof containing a throne from which the king would grant audiences.

The Royal Residence contained the Royal Bedchamber and living quarters.

The twin buildings were built in a blend of Chinese and Thai architectural styles.  At present, the big building exhibits King Taksin’s great works for the Nation, as well as paintings, utensils and maps, while the small building displays information concerning warfare, exhibited through maps and paintings.

Phrabat Somdej Phra Pinklao’s Royal Residence was built according to Western-style architecture.  The upper floor was formerly the residence of King Rama IV’s younger brother, the beloved Phrabat Somdej Phra Pinklao.  In fact he was so well loved that he was considered to be the 2nd King of Siam.  The ground floor served as the dwellings of royal servants and court officers.

At present, the building’s upstairs exhibits Phrabat Somdej Phra Pinklao’s work, as well as serving as a library, while the downstairs displays coin and currency exhibits, exquisite nielloware, and ancient Thai pottery.

King Taksin’s Shrine and Wichai Prasit Fort are two other amazing buildings located on the palace grounds.  They have both been renovated and are well-maintained.

For further information

The Foundation for Conserving the Former Palace (Phra Ratchawang Doem), Royal Thai Navy Headquarters, Tel. 0 2475 4117.

Admission is 60 baht for the public and 20 baht for students.

Open from 8.30am – 4pm everyday, except public holidays.

Vimanmek Teak Mansion

vimanmek

An outstanding example of 19th century architecture. While admiring the craftsmanship of the carpenters, you will travel back through time to gain a rare insight into the lifestyle of royalty.

Vimanmek Mansion, the principal building in the palace compound, was built for King Rama V on land he named The Dusit Garden located between Padung Krungkasem and Samsen canals. The completion was celebrated on March 27, 1901 and King RamaV took up residence until 1906. The mansion was originally his Summer Palace, the Munthaturaltanaroj Residence, on Sri Chang Island. It was dismantled and re-built at the present location under the supervision of HRH Prince Narissaranuwaddhiwongse.

The three-storey Vimanmek Mansion is the largest golden teak building in the world, built in an architectural style that reflects European influences. There are two right-angled wings, each 60 metres long and 20 metres high. The section where The King resided is octagonal and has four storeys. The mansion has 81 rooms, halls and ante-chambers.

Following King Rama V moving to Amporn Satarn Mansion in 1906,  Vimanmek Mansion was un-occupied until 1925 when King Rama VI gave permission for his wife, HRH Indharasaksaji to take up residence there. She stayed there until his death.

For the next 50 years it was used as just a storage area for the Bureau of the Royal Household until 1982 when HRH Queen Sirikit initiated its restoration as a museum to commemorate King Rama V.

Today, there are 31 exhibition rooms. Exhibits include a silverware room, ceramic display room, glassware and ivory display. Some of the rooms have been preserved to retain the atmosphere of the earlier era, particularly the bedrooms, bathrooms and the Audience Chamber. Other buildings in the compound also house displays of various artifacts and precious art objects.

THINGS TO SEE:

  • Classical Thai dancing: 10:30-14:00 daily
  • Porcelain: During King Chulalongkorn’s reign, Thailand was significantly influenced by Western culture. Porcelain that had been imported from China since the Ayutthaya period was replaced by European-style porcelain. King Rama V, an avid collector of porcelain, owned a lot of the items that are on display here.
  • Gold- and silverware: When King Rama V visited Europe to promote international relations, he brought back with him pieces of fine gold-enamel work, especially some pieces from the legendary Peter Carl Faberge, the famous goldsmith at the Russian court.
  • Glassware: This became popular during the reign of King Rama V. In Europe in the late 19th century glassware design developed in the Art Nouveau style. Art Nouveau glass was very popular with Thai aristocrats who used it for decorating Buddha altars.
  • Antique photographs and household items

THINGS TO KNOW:

Address: 16 Ratchawithi Road (within the Dusit Palace compound)

Tel: 0 2628 6300-9
Fax: 0 2281 6880

To get there :

Bus Routes 18, 28, 108, 510, 515

Open: 9:30 am – 3:15 pm daily

Admission: 100 baht for adults, 50 baht for children. Free with purchase of Grand Palace ticket.

Website : www.palaces.thai.net

Free English tours are available daily.

Dress code must be observed. No sandals and sleeveless shirts.

Misc .:

No photohraphy is allowed inside the buildings.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS:

1. Amphorn Garden
2. Amphornsathan Palace
3. Anantasamakom Throne Hall
4. Chang-ton Museum
5. Chitralada Palace
6. Dusit Zoo
7. Parliament House
8. Statue of King Rama V