On October 11, 2020, I created a post for Silent Sunday on the Bang Pa-In Palace Complex in Ayutthaya, Thailand. I found only three photos for that post but knew I had taken more. A couple of days ago I located the other photos. I’m adding them to this post to produce a more complete picture of that beautiful royal complex.
Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is a complex of palaces, residences and pavilions dating from 1632. Set amidst vast gardens, the area was used as a retreat by Thai kings.
The palaces fell into disrepair over time. Also known as the Summer Palace, most of the present buildings were constructed in Thai, Chinese, and Gothic styles between 1872 and 1889 by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).
Bang Pa-In is located about 40 miles north of Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River. From Bangkok the complex can be reached easily by river boat, train bus or private car. I arrived by coach as part of a tour group from Bangkok. Admission is 100 baht (about $3). Normal operating hours are 08:00 to 16:00 daily. As at many temples and palaces in Thailand the dress code is modest and longer pants and tops are available for sale cheaply.
The complex covers a large area. The grounds are immaculate. Walking to all sites is easy. Those who prefer to ride can rent golf carts for a few dollars.
The building that attracts the most attention is the Aisawan Dhiphya-Asana Pavilion. It sits in the middle of the ornamental pond and is really the only example of classical Thai architecture within the palace. Built by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), a statue of Rama V is the centerpiece of the pavillion.
Just outside the inner palace area is the Varobhas Bimarn residence. The formal throne room, a sitting room, and a large state dining room are open to the public.
The Reception Hall is located on the pond and has distinctly European exterior design.
The most noteworthy building in the inner palace that is open to the public is the structure known as Heavenly Light (Wehart Chamrun). This Chinese-style palace was built by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in 1889. It is full of Chinese styled furniture and decorations.
The throne room on the ground floor contains a throne in Chines style, the second floor contains a shrine dedicated to King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn. Visitors must remove shoes to enter this palace.
King Chulalongkorn built the building below in the garden next to Wehart Chamrun in order to be a place to relax and view the flower garden.
Maybe the most unusual looking building is Sages’ Lookout (Ho Withun Thasana), a tower that looks like a lighthouse. It served as a lookout tower for viewing the countryside.
Bang Pa-In is a compound on the Chao Phraya River featuring several royal palaces in various architectural styles. The complex is easily accessible from Bangkok. You can easily combine a visit to Bang Pa-In with other interesting historical sights and even a river cruise on a day trip from Bangkok. I recommend it highly.