King Rama V (1853 – 1910) was a reformist and experienced traveller, who travelled extensively to India, Singapore and Java before he turned 20. So when he converted a derelict palace in Bang Pa In, Ayutthaya, to a summer palace, he did not seem to have a traditional palace complex in mind. Instead, he restored and added new buildings inspired by different architectural styles from a Swiss chalet to a Khmer shrine. Originally built in the 17th century by King Prasat Thong of Ayutthaya Kingdom, the place was said to consist of a building and a man-made pond. It was abandoned after the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767. King Mongkut, the fourth king of the current Thai dynasty, started the project to revive the place but it was his son, King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V, who added most of the buildings. The construction lasted 17 years from 1872 to 1889. The palace has ever since been a summer palace of recent kings. It was also used to receive royal guests such as Tsar Nicolas II, Queen Elizabeth II of England, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Magarethe II of Denmark and Prince Akishino of Japan. Today the palace is used rarely by King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) as a residence and for holding receptions and banquets. Situated on the bank of the Chao Phraya River opposite Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, the Bang Pa In Palace comprises a beautiful landscaped garden and several buildings built in Thai, European and oriental styles, including a Chinese-style royal palace and throne room, a royal residence, a brightly painted lookout tower and a pavilion constructed in the middle of a pond. The Bang Pa In Palace is only a walk away from the pier where the Mekhala boat picks up and drops off guests. It is worth a visit if you have one hour before or after taking the Mekhala cruise. Bang Pa-in Palace is open daily between 8.00 a.m.–5.00 p.m. Tickets are available during 8.00 a.m.–3.30 p.m. Admission is 100 Baht. Dress Code for men and women Visitors are requested to be dressed appropriately before entering the buildings in the palace.
- Shorts, short skirts, tight fitting trousers cannot be worn as outer garments.
- See-through shirts and blouses, as well as or quarter length trousers cannot be worn.
- Sleeveless shirts or vests cannot be worn as outer garments.
- Sandles (without ankle or heel straps) cannot be worn.
- Sweat shirts and sweat pants, wind-cheaters and fisherman trousers cannot be worn.
Aisawan Thiphya-At is the only classical Thai-style building in the palace. Sitting in the middle of a pond, this beautiful spired pavilion has been designated as the archetype of the Thai pavilion (sala Thai). Inside the pavilion is a statue of King Rama V.
Phra Thinang Warophat Phiman is a Neo-Classic style one-storey mansion built in 1876 as King Chulalongkorn’s residence and throne hall. The audience chambers and anterooms are adorned with oil paintings depicting important events in Thai history and scenes from Thai literature.
Wehart Chamrun is a magnificent Chinese style mansion with ornamented tiled floors and big ebony furniture. It was built by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and presented to King Rama V in 1889. It was the favourite residence of King, Rama VI.
Ho Witthunthassana is a three-storey lookout tower. It has a spiral staircase leading to the top floor hall. During his stay, King Rama V used this tower for viewing the surrounding countryside