Thailand has a centuries old Royal history and a great number of Royal Palaces around the country. Most Thai Palaces were built during the reign of the current Chakri dynasty, which started in 1782 with the founding of the city of Bangkok and the start of the Rattanakosin era.
A number of Palaces and Royal Mansions are open to the public, some are still in use by the Royal Family and are open to visitors only occasionally.
With Bangkok being the capital city and residence for the Chakri dynasty, many of the Palaces were built in this city.
The most famous Palace in Thailand is the Grand Palace in Bangkok, a must see for everyone interested in the history and culture of Thailand. The Grand Palace consists of a large number of buildings of different ages and of different architectural styles, some very Thai, some influenced by Chinese or European architecture. The Grand Palace was the official residence for a number of Thai Kings, today it is a museum.
Visiting the Palaces and Royal Mansions offers a rare opportunity to take a journey back in time and see how the Royals lived. One of the nicest places to see the personal living quarters of members of the Royal Family as well as numerous photos, paintings and personal use items is the Vimanmek Mansion in Bangkok.
Other Palaces were built outside of Bangkok used as a Summer Palace, like the Phra Nakhon Khiri Palace in Phetchaburi. Kings of the Chakri dynasty have a history of visiting remote areas of the country. The present King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) has visited many rural remote communities and initiated a number of Royal Projects aiming to improve the lives of poor people. A number of Palaces were built to accommodate member of the Royal Family while visiting areas outside of Bangkok.
Some Palaces can easily be visited as a day trip from Bangkok, such as the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace just North of Bangkok, while some are close to the popular seaside resort of Hua Hin, like the Klai Kangwon Palace and the Maruekhathaiyawan Palace.
While much of the Grand Palace is built in traditional style Thai architecture, some of the Palaces that were built later on are influenced by European style. The Phra Ram Ratchaniwet Palace in Phetchaburi province South of Bangkok for example is in European style, while the Sanam Chandra Palace in Nakhon Pathom province looks like a French or English castle. The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, a magnificent building in Italian Renaissance style was built around a century ago.
Traditional Thai architecture which has been influenced by Burmese, Chinese, Indian and Khmer styles is very recognizable and has taken a long time to evolve. Multi tiered roof lines, the use of distinctive colors like red and gold, the very detailed ornamental decorations and mural paintings, often telling stories from the lives of the Buddha. Some good examples of traditional Thai architecture can be found in the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
Royal Palaces in Bangkok
- Grand Palace
- Dusit Palace
- Vimanmek Royal Teak Mansion
- Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall
- Phayathai Palace
- Bang Khun Phrom Palace