|Bang Pa-in Summer Palace |
A few miles down the Maenam Chao Phraya from Ayutthaya is the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace. The site was first used by the royal court as a summer retreat in the 17th century. However, the Palace was destroyed with the fall of Kingdom of Ayutthaya and was restored by King Rama IV in the mid-19th century. Most of the buildings that exist today date from the reign of King Rama V, who regularly spent his summers there. The structures represent a variety of architectural styles, set in a large park around ponds and waterways. The only royal residence open to the public is the Chiness-style Wehat Chamroon Palace, constructed entirely of materials imported from China. In addition, there is an Italian-style palace, a circular pavilion with steps leading down to a pool, the graceful Thai-style Aisawan Tippaya Asna Pavilion in the middle of a lake, and, across one of the waterways, a Buddhist chapel in the neo-Gothic style with stained-glass windows. Scattered around the extensive gardens are European statues as well as monuments ordered to be built by King Rama V in memory of members of his family, one of them a much-loved Queen who drowned in a boating accident.
Places of interest in the Bang Pa-in Palace are as follows:-
Ho Hemmonthian Thewarat is the stone Prang under a banyan tree near the pond within the outer part of the royal compound, where an image of a deity is housed. King Rama Vordered its construction in 1879 to replace an old shrine built by villagers as an offering to King Prasatthong of the Ayutthaya period.
Aisawanthipphaya-At Pavilion A Thai design pavilion in the middle of the pond was built in the reign of King Rama V. Originally built of wood throughout, King Rama VI commanded to change the floor and pillars to be reinforced concrete.
Warophatphiman Hall It is north of the“Saphan Sadet” the royal path to and from the river landing. Formerly the two-storey wooden villa was used as both the royal living quarters and Throne Hall. Later during his reign, King Rama V commanded the original one to be demolished and replaced with a European design building to be used as the Throne Hall to receive his subjects for royal ceremonies. In this hall are paintings of the royal historic records, Inao literature, Phra Aphai Mani literature and the Ramayana epic.
Saphakhan Ratchaprayun This two-storey building on the river bank outside the palace wall was constructed by the royal command of King Rama V. It is in front of Warophat Phiman Hall in the south and was used as the living quarter of the non-consort members.
Phra Thinang Utthayan Phumisathian is a 2-story elaborately constructed building, which is tinted alternately in dark and light green, located to the east, opposite the pond. Its balcony is similar in design to that of a Swiss chalet. Before being destroyed by fire during the restoration in 1938, the whole building was built from wood and decorated with mahogany furniture ordered directly from Europe.
Theatre This theatre was constructed by the royal command of King Rama VI in the compound of his consort’ s living quarters near the pond in the garden west of Utthayan Phumisathian Hall.
Wehat Chamrun Hall This hall located in the north of the palace, was constructed in the Chinese Emperor style as the royal offering by Phraya Choduk Ratchasetthi (Fak). King Chulachomklao usually made a royal visit during the cool season.
Keng Buppha Praphat is the Chinese-style pavilion nearby the garden’s pond within the inner part of the royal compound. It was built in 1881 during the reign of King Rama V.
Ho Witthunthassana This hall, constructed in the form of a tower between Utthayan Phumisathian and Wehat Chamrun, is a three-storey building having a spiral staircase leading to the top floor hall. When residing in Bang Pa-In Palace, King Rama V used this hall as the place to get the bird’s eye view of the surrounding area.
Monument of Queen Sunantha This is a 3 metre high hexagonal marble building, situated on the east side of the royal palace. It was constructed to keep the ashed of the affectionate consort of King Rama V (Somdet Phranangchao Sunantha Kumarirat).
Monument of Phra-Akkharachayathoe Phra-Ong Chao Saowaphaknarirat and Three Royal Children,or Anusawarirachanuson It is the marble relief memorial that King Rama V, with his deep sorrow, ordered to be constructed in 1888 to commemorate his beloved consort (Phra - Akkharachayathoe Phra - Ongchao Saowaphak Narirat) and three royal children who passed away at different times of the same year, 1887. These portraits stand nearby the memorial of Somdet Phranangchao Sunantha Kumarirat.
Bang Pa-in Palace is open daily between 8.00 a.m.–5.00 p.m. (Tickets are available during 8.00 a.m.–3.00 p.m.) Admission is 100 Baht. There is also a 25-minute River Jet service leaving Bang Pa-in Palace Pier every 1 hour and circling around the island of Wat Niwet Thammaprawat between 9.00 a.m.–3.00 p.m. (until 4.00 p.m. on weekends and no service on Wednesdays and Thursdays). For more details, contact the Bang Pa-in Palace Bureau at Tel. 0 3526 1044.
Location (No. 15 on the map) : Click Here