Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bang Pa-In Palace (Ayutthaya- Thailand)


For a solo traveller like me, a guided tour is a perfect fit. Book and pay. Everything is cared for, including transport to and fro from the hotel. However, sleeping in late is out of the question as most tours start very early except for the first half a day tour which was in the afternoon, on the day I arrived in Bangkok (Pathumwan Princess Hotel Part 1). For this Ayuttaya tour, I was up by 5.30am, so, I couldn't possibly squeeze breakfast in. Anyway I had opted out of buffet breakfast because I wanted to keep food free and easy as well (Pathumwan Princess Part 3). But I sure did fill me stomach with hot coffee in my room. Transport arrived on the dot at 6.30pm, off I left prior to arriving at the tour agents office and then into the coach with the rest of the unknown tourists. All of them Westerners, mostly from the older age group. I wondered why, I was the only colored one among them, didn't bother me, journey to Ayutthaya took approximately an hour, the first stop was in Bang Pa-In Palace.

Setting foot in the huge compound, we attentively listened to the guide and the next two hours is ours. While everyone opted to walking, I paid 400 baht for buggy service. Why not, instead of sweat dripping to walk from one end to the other, mind you, Bang Pa-In Palace is, as I have already said, in a huge area and by this hour, 9.00am, sun had already beamed high up. Why sweat when there is always the easy way to sightseeing, of course, if you don't paying.  







Decent dressing must be observed in Bang Pa-In Palace. Make sure you don't miss the small room like place where you can get the wrap around, which you should return back on your way out to get back your 100 batt. Therefore, Bang Pa-In Palace is all yours. I was happy I opted for buggy service. I was driven from one spot to the other in Bang Pa-In Palace or Summer Palace. Originally built in 1632, most of the buildings standing today were constructed during 1872-1879 and restored in 199, take your time in viewing -
  • Ho Hemmonthian Thewarat  - the stone Prang (pagoda) under a banyan tree near the pond within the outer part of the royal court and where an image of a deity is housed. King Rama V ordered its construction in 1879 to replace an old shrine built by villagers to offer to to King Prasatthong during the Ayutthaya period.
  • Aisawanthipphaya-At Pavilion - a Thai design pavilion in the middle of the pond and 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 with concrete.
  • Warophatphiman Hall was formerly a two-story wooden villa served as a royal living quarter and throne hall. Later King Rama V ordered the reconstruction, replacing it with a European-style to serve as a throne hall for royal ceremonies.
  • Saphakhan Ratchaprayun. This two-storey building was a resident of the relatives of the king and non-consort members, and is now an exhibition hall displaying the history of Bang Pa-in Palace.









The Inner Palace on the other hand is reserved for the King and his immediate family - 
  • 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 crafted in traditional Chinese Emperor style was used as a royal residence for King Rama V, his queen and their son, King Rama VI during a royal visit. 
  • Ho Witthunthassana: This three-storey tower-style building was used as the view spot to see the royal elephants and the surrounding area. 



By the first hour, I have covered Bang Pa-In Palace. Beautiful. Stunning. Well maintained. Nevertheless, photos are prohibited and you are not allowed inside some of the buildings. I then walked out and at the stall outside, I had a simple breakfast of fried goodies and a drink while waiting for the rest. 

Up next - Wat Mahathat - Ayutthaya







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5 comments:

  1. Wow, amazing! I felt as if I am roaming there. Nava, wonderful post with very interesting pictures. Keep it up!

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  2. I love the elephants. Guess it took long time to grow those

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  3. I like the elephant sculpture..
    Th people like elephants..

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  4. I love the last pic! Elephants in the garden!

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  5. I've been to Ayutthaya once & the place is beautiful especially the reclining Buddha. Did u take pix with it?

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