Bang Pa-In Palace
Whenever I am on holiday, I usually try to avoid tour group tours as much as possible. I'm just not a fan of the "Get out of the bus and hurry, we only have 15 minutes at this place!" kind of travel. One of the tours during my recent travels in Thailand though did lead me to a royal palace I had never heard about and I can thus share with you today. North of Bangkok and close to the old capital of Ayutthaya lies Bang Pa-In Palace. Nestled away in a traditional Thai small town, the palace complex and former summer residence of the royal family of Siam and later Thailand boasts a surprising number of European-style looking buildings and some of the statues could have been taken straight from Versailles.
Bang Pa-In Palace owes is existence to King Prasat Thong, who ruled Siam between 1629 and 1656. Legend has it that he was an illegitimate son of King Ekathotsarot, who was shipwrecked on the island in the Chao Praya River and had a child by a local woman. Other sources indicate that the future King Prasat Thong was the maternal cousin of King Songtham. Whatever his origins, he held great power at the court of King Songtham and became Chief Minister.
Good to know:Bang Pa-In Palace is open to daily from 8am to 4pm. Admission for foreigners is 100 baht.