The King’s Summer Palace, Near the Ancient City of Ayutthaya, in Thailand

by on February 12th, 2013
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I had the chance to relax during the quick 40 mile drive from Bangkok to the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, known as the Summer Palace. One of Thailand’s famous historical sites, the Summer Palace was originally built in 1632 but the buildings today are dating between 1872 and 1889. Even though the Summer Palace was used in the summer by the Kings of Thailand, today it is only used on ceremonial occasions and is open to the public all year.

What a lovely setting! It is best to take a golf cart because the Summer Palace complex has so much to see and is spread out over a large area.

Within the inner and outer palace, to add to the experience the Summer Palace tour is composed of buildings raging from European, Western, Chinese, Thai, and other architectural styles.

It was startling to suddenly see a touch of China, the beautiful two-story Chinese-style mansion, the Phra Thinang (Royal Residence) Wehart Chamrun (Heavenly Light). Built in 1889 as a gift from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce presented to King Chulalongkorn, visitors are allowed to take off their shoes and tour inside the building. I was intrigued with the bright red doorway, a very royal entrance to discover the treasures inside. There were red, gold, silver and other ornate decorative touches along with a Chinese throne and other furniture. The Heavenly Light building sits next to the lake and the bridge to the colorful Observation Tower, my next stop.

The Observation Tower, Ho (Tower) Withun Thasana (The Sages Lookout) is the tallest building in the complex and a perfect viewing tower. Walk-up the spiral staircase and stand on one of the balconies to enjoy views of the palace grounds and lake.

The exciting Thai classical-style Aisawan Thipya Pavilion, the divine seat of personal freedom, looks as though the pavilion is floating in the middle of the pond yet close-enough to see its distinctive curved overlapping multi-tiered roofs and carved wooden beams.

One scenic vista, the Doll Bridge with European and Greek-style sculptures, was a nice pause to relax by the water and take photos.

Many tours include the ancient city of Ayutthaya and a choice of taking a Chaophraya River (River of Kings) boat back to Bangkok. These boats can be found at many of Bangkok’s riverside hotels.

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