A summer palace designed for Thai monarchs since the 17th century, Bang Pa-In Palace has a charming collection of houses and pavilions in a variety of Thai, Chinese, Italian and Victorian architectural styles surrounded by beautiful gardens as well as a lake.

Originally built by King Prasat Thong in 1632, Bang Pa-In Palace was abandoned after the sacking of Ayutthaya in 1767. The palace was partially restored by King Mongkut (Rama IV) in the 1850s and the restoration was completed by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).

The grounds are not too large to be covered on foot, but take an umbrella and some water with you. As at all royal sites, proper dress is required. This means no sleeveless tops, t-shirts or shorts. Sarongs are available for those who come unprepared.

For those who don't fancy the walk, there are golf carts for rent which will carry four people.

If you're in a group it's only 100 baht each.  A couple might prefer to walk. Be aware that there are many areas where the carts cannot go, so there's some walking which ever method you choose.

The gardens are beautiful and it's worth the stroll just to enjoy the scenery and the scents.

There are plenty of trees which provide welcome relief from the heat of the morning sun.

Saphakhan Ratchaprayun or The Exhibition Hall is a colonial-style two-storied building originally built for the King's brothers. The building now houses a small museum covering the history of the palace, and makes a good first stop on a tour of the area. It was built in 1879.

Ho Hem Monthian Tevaraj

Ho Hem Monthian Thewarat is a small stone structure in the form of a Khmer-style. It was built by King Chulalongkorn in 1880 and dedicated to King Prasat Thong of Ayutthaya.

A prasat is the residence of a king or god with a corncob-shaped super-structure. This one houses a small altar where merit can be made.

Aisawan Thiphya-At or Divine Seat of Personal Freedom

Built in the year 1876 it is the only Thai-style building in the palace. This beautiful pavilion sitting in the middle of a lake has been designated as the archetype of the Thai pavilion or Sala Thai, a national symbol of Thailand.

Many consider this to be one of the finest buildings to be found anywhere in the Kingdom. The statue standing in the middle represents King Rama V and was erected by his son.

Warophat Phiman or Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode

This one-story mansion contains King Chulalongkorn's throne hall. It was built in the year 1876 and is richly decorated in turn-of-the-century European aristocratic style.

The Royal Family stay in this building whenever they come to visit Bang Pa-In Palace.

All female visitors have to wear a skirt. If wearing pants, there are sarongs you can borrow there. No photos are allowed inside this building.

The so-called "inside zone" is where the former King and members of the royal family stayed.

Between the "inside" and "outside" zone, there was a connecting bridge. Along this bridge, no one could look into the "inside" zone. However, the "inside" zone could look out.

Tevaraj Kanlai Gate is the principal entrance to the Inner Palace at Bang Pa-In. It's about halfway round the palace grounds so it's a good place for a rest. There are tables and chairs inside and you can buy cold drinks there too.

Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian or Garden of the Secured Land

This was the favourite residence of King Chulalongkorn when he stayed at Bang Pa-In Palace, sometimes as often as three times a year. Built in 1877 of wood in the style of a two-storey Swiss chalet, the mansion was originally painted in two-tone green.

Unfortunately, while undergoing minor repairs it was accidentally burnt down in 1938. The new building which replaced it was constructed in 1996 at the express wishes of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. The water tank, disguised as a crenelated Neo-Gothic tower, is only part of the original structure still in existence.

Ho Withun Thasana or The Sages Lookout

The observatory was built by King Chulalongkorn in 1881 as a lookout tower.

If you're feeling energetic, you can climb the stairs all the way to the top.

From the top of the lookout there's an impressive view of the surrounding countryside.

Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun or Heavenly Light

This Chinese-style two-storey mansion was built by the equivalent of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and presented to King Chulalongkorn in 1889. It has ornamented tiled floors and ebony furniture. Inlaid mother of pearl, gold, silver, and porcelain were freely used for decorative purposes, together with a stupendous dragon sculpture carved from camel bone. Delicate fretwork can be found on the columns and on the windows.

The ground floor contains a Chinese-style throne; the upper storey houses an altar enshrining the name plates of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn with their respective queens.

This Chinese-style mansion was the favourite residence of King Vajiravudh, Rama VI (1910 - 1925) when he visited Bang Pa-In Palace.

Memorial to Queen Sunandakumariratana
In 1881 Queen Sunandakumariratana drowned when her boat sank in the Chao Phraya River while she was on her way to Bang Pa-In Palace. King Chulalongkorn, overcome with grief, set up a marble obelisk as a cenotaph to her memory.

The King composed the moving dedication himself in Thai and English.

Residence of H.M.Queen Sawang Vadhana

HM Queen Sawang Vadhana is the paternal grand-mother of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Residence of H.M. Queen Sukhumala Marasri

Across the river from the Palace is Wat Niwet Thamprawat, built in 1878 by King Chulalongkorn.

Getting there is half the fun, as a basic motorized cable car swings visitors across the river!

Unfortunately, the service is rather haphazard, but it's fun if the monks happen to be there.

This is an active Buddhist temple cleverly disguised as a Gothic church, down to the spiky eaves and stained glass windows.

Book your Bang Pa In Palace~Ayutthaya Trip with Bangkok Day Tours