The Royal Palace at Bang Pa-In has a history that dates back to the 17th century but the present-day palace was built during the reign of King Chulalongkom during the time between 1872 and 1889.

The Palace sits on the banks of the Chao Phraya River about 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Bangkok. The Chao Phraya River is the largest river in Thailand and passes by the Grand Palace as it makes its way through Bangkok before getting to the Gulf of Thailand.

The Royal Palace is also known the Summer Palace because it was used by Siamese Royalty as a summer residence. Today, it is used by the King and Queen for holding receptions and banquets and infrequently as a royal summer residence.

The palace is largely made up of manicured gardens and lakes with several buildings built on islands connected by bridges. The two most iconic buildings are the Floating Pavilion and the Observatory Tower.

Floating Pavilion

The floating pavilion is a Thai style pavilion with four porches that sits in the middle of a pond. The pavilion was modeled after the Phra Thinang Aphonphimok Prasat in the Grand Palace. In the center of the pavilion stands a bronze statue of King Chulalongkron in the uniform of a Field Marshal.

Observatory Tower

The Ho Withun Thasana Observatory (Observatory Tower) was built in 1881 as a lookout tower for viewing the surrounding countryside. Visitors are free to climb the stairs to enjoy the view from the top but visitors are requested to take off their shoes before climbing the wooded staircase.

Royal Residence

The Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun (Royal Residence) is a two story Chinese style mansion built in 1889 and is located just behind the Observatory Tower.

Connecting the islands to the gardens are elegant bridges that look out of place because of their European styled architecture. Some of these bridges feel like they belong in a lavish estate in France or Germany.

It is said that King Chulalongkorn enjoyed spending time in the gardens which is evident due to how beautifully manicured and decorated the gardens are throughout the compound. The following photos provide a glimpse of the palace gardens.

A large portion of the palace is gardens and green space that is attractive for local wildlife. Some of the wildlife is attracted to the lakes and ponds while other wildlife is more attracted to the grass, plants and trees. Some of the wildlife that I photographed while I walked around the palace gardens are shown below.

Asian Water Monitor

Yellow Headed Temple Turtle

Oriental Magpie Robin

Red Collared Dove

Chinese Pond Heron

White-vented Myna

Common Myna

The Dust on My Shoes

The Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is a large compound comprised mostly of pristine gardens and massive water features with impressive buildings scattered throughout. If you are expecting a smaller version of the Grand Palace then the Royal Palace will surprise you. The most interesting thing to me is the diversity of architecture. The pavilion is the only symbol of Thai architecture, the residence is Chinese style and the Observatory Tower reminds me of an Atlantic Coast lighthouse and European influences are noticeable in many places.

The Royal Palace is also referred to as a Summer Palace which is designed for getting away from the busy city and relaxing. Without a doubt the summer palace is a great place to spend the day enjoying the beautiful gardens and just relaxing.

Traveling is not all about seeing everything that we can squeeze into 2 weeks. Sometimes the best part of a vacation is having a little quiet time to be alone!

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