Ayutthaya Province – Bang Pa-In Summer Palace , When the name Ayutthaya comes up, what usually comes to mind is temple relics of the ancient capital of Thailand, which I consider utterly boring!
Rather, Ayutthaya’s real gem is Bang Pa-In – the summer palace of Thai kings for generations. It is a spectacular, pastoral palace, which is located on the banks of Chao Phraya river. Its realm abounds beautiful gardens and palaces of various styles and designs, which provide a marvelous look into Thai history in a fun, colorful way that appeals to children as well. Bang Pa-In is located some 60 km from Bangkok, and I highly recommend visiting there.
The serenity, beauty and pastoral charm of the place surround and enchant all visitors, once they step in and sit in the golf vehicle (for independent driving). You feel immediately taken as you move between the various paths, blossoming gardens and beautiful palaces of all sorts.
Unlike crowded tourist attractions, that are packed full of vendors, stalls and kiosks – you won’t be seeing many tourists here, but mostly locals. Even tourists who do come here easily blend into the serene space and vast realm of palaces, so you will hardly notice them.
A hint of history: Bang Pa-In was originally built back in 1632 (rather, its building has begun then), yet it was neglected for hundreds of years and was thus covered by vegetation. In the 19th century, king Mongkut, Rama 4, started rebuilding the place. Most of the structures you’ll see were built between 1872-1889 by king Chulalongkorn, Rama 5. The palaces are built in versatile designs – Thai, Chinese and European. You can enter some of them and explore the regal lives of the time.
In one of the corners, between the blossoming gardens, you’ll find a little memory garden, a tribute to the late queen Sunanda (one of the wives of king Rama 5). It features a marble embossment of the queen and her daughter following a tragedy that occurred on site.
In 1881 – the queen and her only daughter sailed towards Bang Pa-In palace in the royal ship, which turned over. At the time, the law stated that it is forbidden to touch the body of any member of the royal family – and he who will dare to do so, will be sentenced to death. Hence, many Thai people saw the tragedy take place, yet the coast guard commander made sure to enforce the law, and prevented anyone from jumping into the water to save the beloved queen – who thus drowned and died with her daughter – a tragedy which was witnessed by many broken-hearted subjects.
Opening Hours: every day between 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Dress code: visitors should wear modest clothes, similarly to visiting the King’s Palace – make sure that your shoulders are covered and your pants cover your knees (or longer). If necessary, you can borrow a large scarf at the entrance.
FYI: TipTop-Travel Private Family Adventure Tours includes a visit to Bang Pa-In as part of the comprehensive tour program to Kao Yay national park, Nakhon Nayok province and Pak Chomg region.
As always, I’m attaching a clip taken on site which will give you a glimpse of Bang-Pa In and its lovely atmosphere.