What you might anticipate from a Thai royal house is not Bang Pa-In Palace. A stately home in France or Germany wouldn’t seem out of place with some of the European-influenced architecture. You might also get a double take when you see tourists driving golf buggies over a bridge decorated with statues in the Renaissance style. However, the golf buggies offer a useful and contemporary option that enables guests to comfortably tour the vast grounds. While there are etiquette requirements and this is a royal palace, it maintains a welcoming environment. Bang Pa-In Palace, a beautiful complex of structures that blend European and Thai architectural styles, is a reflection of the character of King Chulalongkorn, who oversaw much of the construction.
The History of Bang Pa-In
One such incident occurred at the beginning of the 17th century when King Ekathotsarot, the reigning monarch of Ayutthaya, was sailing on the great River Chao Praya, about 15 kilometers south of the city, when his ship encountered trouble. He sought refuge on an island in the river called Bang Pa-In. He met a local woman while he was temporarily stranded here, then he eventually had a child with her. In 1629, the boy grew up to succeed his father as King Prasat Thong, and in recognition of the island where he was born, Prasat Thong chose to erect a monastery and a summer palace.
Unfortunately, at this point, the history of Bang Pa-In starts to wander a little. Bang Pa-In was a small outpost in compared to the vast capital of the Ayutthayan empire and did not play a big role in the main, newsworthy events of the period, despite its somewhat romantic origin story and its prominent function as a Royal Palace. As a result, little is known regarding its evolution after 1630. In fact, it isn’t even definite if the island palace prospered or fell into disrepair at some time in the following century.
The 6 different Building of Bang Pa-In
There are six buildings in this summer palace which include:
- Sages Lookout
- Thai style pavilion
- Garden of the Secured Land
- Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode
- Wat Niwet Thamprawat
- Heavenly Light
King Rama V constructed the Ho Withun Tasana, also known as the “Sages Lookout,” in 1881. It was used to watch the surroundings and has a shape that resembles a lighthouse. It is painted in various shades of red and yellow.
Thai style pavilion
The Aisawan Thiphya-Art Sala, commonly known as “The divine seat of personal freedom,” is a Thai-style pavilion in a small lake and is perhaps the most well-known. During the time of King Chulalongkorn (Ram V), this building was constructed using traditional Thai architecture, and it houses a statue of the monarch.
On the grounds of the Palace, this is the only structure that was constructed using traditional Thai design. This Royal Sala is a replica of King Rama IV’s Phra Thinang Aphonphimok Pavilion, which is located in Bangkok’s Grand Palace.
Garden of the Secured Land
King Chulalongkorn’s favorite home was the Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian, also known as the “Garden of the Secured Land,” which was constructed in 1877. After being completely destroyed by fire in 1938, the original wooden structure, which had a Swiss chalet-like appearance, was reconstructed at the turn of the 20th century.
Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode
A one-story royal residence designed in neoclassical style, Phra Thinang Warophat Phiman is also known as “Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode.” The throne hall is housed in this highly European-looking structure. The interior of the property is lavishly furnished with stunning artwork and exudes an air of aristocracy. The Royal Family continues to utilize the mansion as their own residence today.
Wat Niwet Thamprawat
Despite its appearance, the Wat Niwet Thamprawat is a Buddhist temple in the European Gothic style. Even the vibrant stained-glass windows found in cathedrals in Europe are present. King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), the first Siamese king to visit Europe, constructed the temple. You can also take a cable car across the river to go to the temple, which is situated on the other side.
The Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun, often known as the “Heavenly Light,” was constructed radically differently. The Chinese sent King Chulalongkorn this two-story palace in the Chinese style as a gift in 1889. A Chinese-style throne is located in the ground-level royal room, and a shrine honoring King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn is located on the second story. It is a stunning structure filled with exquisite furnishings, artwork, and decorations.
Bang Pa-In Tragedy
A royal barge set out from Bangkok on a tragic voyage in 1880. Although it was headed for Bang Pa-In Palace, the boat would never arrive there. King Chulalongkorn was with his first wife and their little daughter were on board the boat. Queen Sunanda was 19 years old when she became pregnant with her second child. Princess Kannabhorn, her daughter, was just a year old. North of Bangkok, on the Chao Phraya River, the boat encountered trouble and overturned.
At that time, it was against Siamese law for any commoner to interact with royalty. The execution resulted from doing so, and anyone who touched royalty or their immediate family would also suffer the same punishment. Due to this law, nobody dared to directly assist Queen Sunanda and her small daughter as the barge started to sink, and as a result, both of them drowned. The catastrophe left King Chulalongkorn in shock, and soon after the incident, the legislation was modified to let commoners interact with royalty to save a royal life.
You should know
Dress regulations: In Bang Pa-In palace, everyone should dress appropriately because this is a Royal Palace and it is essential to wear suitable clothes. You also can rent some clothes from the entrance, you should pay a small fee, but when you return the clothes, the money will be returned to you.
The opening hours: The opening hour of this summer palace is from 8:30 am until 4 pm every day. Some of the buildings are closed to the public.
Entrance fee: The admission fee at the ticket booth is 100 Baht both for adults and for children. You can rent golf carts for 450 Thai Baht for one hour and for additional hours, you just need to pay 100 Bahat.
The accessibility to the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace
The Palace is situated in the province of Ayutthaya, some 60 kilometers from Bangkok, and is accessible in a number of ways such as:
You can board a bus to Ayutthaya that stops in Bang Pa-In and departs from Bangkok’s northern bus terminal, Morchit.
From Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station, you can get to Bang Pa-In train station in around an hour and a half. Samlor taxis may take you to the Palace for a modest cost from the train station. Visit the State Railway of Thailand website for information on prices and departure schedules.
A private taxi is the fastest and most comfortable option. You may either stop one on the street or request one from the majority of Bangkok hotels. Use a metered cab; the one-way fee should be around 1,000 Baht.