Bang Pa-In

Aisawan Thiphya-At Pavilion and the Tevaraj-Kanlai Gate

Bang Pa-In (บางปะอิน) is in Ayutthaya Province, 60 km north of Bangkok. It is notable for the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, former summer residence of the kings of Thailand.

Understand

The Death of Queen Sunanda

In 1881, Queen Sunanda Kumariratana and her only daughter Princess Karnabhorn Bejraratana were on their way to the palace when the royal barge carrying them capsized. According to Thai law at the time, touching a royal was punishable by death, so onlookers could do nothing but watch them drown. An officious guardian on another boat even ordered help not to be given. King Chulalongkorn, shocked by the events, demoted and jailed the vizier who obeyed the letter of the law at such cost and erected a memorial to her in Bang Pa-In.

Get in

By bus

Air-con 2nd class buses depart from stall 99 of Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) every 30 minutes or so, no advance ticket needed. You may also be able to board along the way outside MRT Phayon Yothin station. Being a second-class bus, it stops at every bus stop, shopping mall and grilled chicken stand along the way, so the journey takes the better part of two hours.

From Ayutthaya, minibuses and songthaews connect Bang Pa-In with the central bus station, a 40-minute journey.

By train

Bang Pa-In is the stop before Ayutthaya on the northern line, which runs to Chiang Mai. Several trains per day in each direction stop at Bang Pa-In, and the journey from Bangkok's Hualamphong station takes 1.5 hours. Early birds may appreciate the 07:00 departure but the 09.25 departure is also convenient. The train ride to Ayutthaya is only 15 min.

By boat

There are no scheduled services, but many of the tourist cruises to Ayutthaya stop at Bang Pa-In on the way.

By taxi

A taxi from Bang Pa-In to Ayutthaya costs a fixed 150 baht.

Get around

Tuk-tuks of various interesting shapes and sizes shuttle between the bus station, the train station, and the Palace.

See

Sages' Lookout (Ho Withun Thasana)
  • Divine Seat of Personal Freedom (Aisawan Thiphya-At). 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 (sala Thai), a national symbol of Thailand. The statue standing in the middle represents Rama V and was erected by his son.
  • Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode (Warophat Phiman). A one-story mansion containing Chulalongkorn's throne hall. Open to visitors and well worth a visit, as it is richly decorated in turn-of-the-century European aristocratic style, only with quirky Thai touches.
  • Exhibition Hall (Saphakhan Ratchaprayun). A colonial-style two-floor 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.
  • Heavenly Light (Wehart Chamrun). Built by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in 1889, this opulent Chinese-style palace is also another stand-out, full of red, gold, dark woods and inlaid mother of pearl. Also open to visitors, be sure to catch the stupendous dragon sculpture inside carved from camel bone.
  • Memorial to Queen Sunanda Kumariratana. Built in 1881 in memory of the drowned Queen Sunanda (see box), this simple marble monument has a slightly ungrammatical, but touching English dedication by King Chulalongkorn.
  • Sages' Lookout (Ho Withun Thasana). A merrily painted lighthouse-lookalike that gives sweeping views of the countryside.
Inside the church-cum-temple, Wat Niwet

Buy

Exit from Bang Pa-In palace is through a giftshop selling touristy junk like fluorescent baseball caps emblazoned with "Phuket" in large letters.

Eat & Drink

The palace grounds have a number of simple cafes selling soft drinks and snacks (10-20 baht). The best views are from the one inside the Tevaraj-Kanlai Gate, right opposite the Thai pavilion.

There are basic but rather unappetizing food stalls just outside the entrance to the palace grounds. Central Bang Pa-In near the bus station has more of the same, as well as the obligatory 7-Eleven across the road.

Sleep

Bang Pa-In is easily visited in a day trip from Bangkok or Ayutthaya, so there is neither any real reason to stay here nor any facilities for doing so.

Go next

Routes through Bang Pa-In

Chiang Mai Ayutthaya  N  S  Rangsit Bangkok
Chiang Rai Saraburi  N  S  Rangsit Bangkok


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 18, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.