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Tambon Bang Len, Amphoe Bang Pa-In, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
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Few miles down the Chao Phraya River finds Bang Pa-in Palace, a complex of royal residences first built in around the 17th century to serve as a summer palace of Ayutthaya kings. It was later abandoned and ruined until King Mongkut (Rama IV) restored the complex. Most of the buildings we see today were ordered to build during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who regularly spent his summers here with his royal consorts. Each building features different architectural style: for example Wehat Chamroon Palace, the only royal residence currently open to public, was built in a traditional Chinese style with materials imported from China while Aisawan Tippaya Asna Pavilion set in the middle of the lake features traditional Thai style embedded with colorful glass mosaics. On the other side finds a monument of Queen Sunanta, King Rama V's royal consort, and their son who were died in a boat accident. Bang Pa-in Palace is, slightly similar to the Grand Palace, divided into two zones: the outer zone for royal ceremonies and the inner zone that is reserved only for the king, his consorts and their small chikdren.
Places of interest in outer zone:
· Ho Hemmonthian Thewarat is the stone Prang (pagoda) under a banyan tree near the pond within the outer part of the royal court, where an image of a deity is housed. King Rama V ordered 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 was formerly a two-story wooden villa served as a royal living quarter and throne hall. Later during his reign, King Rama V ordered the reconstruction, replacing with a European-style to serve as a throne hall for royal ceremonies.
· Saphakhan Ratchaprayun. This two-storey building was a resident of relatives of the king and non-consort members and is now an exhibition hall displaying the history of Bang Pa-in Palace.
Places of interest in inner zone:
· Phra Thinang Utthayan Phumisathian is a 2-story, pink-colored, Victorian style mansion serving as a residence for members of the royal family and their guests. The only mansion in Bang Pa-in Palace that is not open to public, this building is actually a new building ordered a construction by HM Queen Sirikit in 1938 to replace the old one, which was made of wood in Swiss chalet style and was burnt down in a fire accident.
· Wehat Chamrun Hall was the latest mansion during the reign of King Rama V, built in 1889 as the royal offering by the wealthy Chinese merchants led by Phraya Choduk Ratchasetthi (Fak). The mansion was crafted in traditional Chinese Emperor style and was used as a royal residence for King Rama V, his queen and their son, King Rama VI during a royal visit in the cool.
· Ho Witthunthassana: This three-storey, tower-style building was used as the view spot to see the royal elephants and the surrounding area.
From Bangkok, take Phahon Yothin Road until Pratu Nam Phra In. Cross the outer ring bridge and turn left around Km.35 for approximately 7 kilometres to Bang Pa-In palace, or pass to Ayutthaya and turn left at Chedi Wat Sam Pluem Circle via Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Wat Phananchoeng, Amphoe Bang Pa-in to Bang Pa-in Railway Station, turn right to Bang Pa-In Palace
1. Take Highway No.1 (Phahonyothin Road.) then take Highway No.32 to Ayutthaya.
2. Take Highway No.304 (Chaeng-Watthana Road.) or take Highway No.302 (Ngamwongwan Road.) ; turn righ to Highway No.306 (Tiwanon Road.), then take Highway No.3111 (Pathum Thani-Samkhok-Sena) and turn right at Amphoe Sena to Highway No.3263
3. Take Highway No.306 (Bangkok - Nonthaburi - Pathum Thani Road.) then take Highway No.347
From Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal, on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, there are buses to Bang Pa-in daily every 30 minutes. For more details, please call Tel. 0 2936 2852-66 or click www.transport.co.th and Ayutthaya Bus Terminal, Tel. 0 3533 5304