Phra Ram Ratchaniwet Palace is an extremely elegant building in typical early 20th century European style. The Palace is located on the grounds of a Thai army camp in Petchaburi town, some two hours drive South West of Bangkok.
In 1909 King Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V) bought a piece of land on the Petchaburi river and ordered a Palace build there. The King wanted to use the Palace as a rainy season retreat.
Just a few kilometers away the King had another previously build Palace, called Phra Nakhon Khiri, on top of a mountain overlooking the area. In the rainy season however, the buildings experienced problems during heavy rains.
Construction of Phra Ram Ratchaniwet, also known as Ban Puen Palace began in 1910 and the Palace was finished in 1916. It was modelled after the Palace of the German Kaiser Wilhelm. Unfortunately, the King did not get to use the Palace, as he died in 1910.
The Palace was designed by German architect Karl Siegfried Döhring, who also designed several other Royal Palaces and villas, including Varadis Palace and the Somdej Residence of Bang Khun Phrom Palace in Bangkok.
European influenced style
The architectural style of Ban Puen Palace is early 20th century European and is influenced by both art nouveau and baroque. King Chulalongkorn was the first King of Siam, as Thailand was called back then, to travel to Europe in 1897. Many buildings constructed in Thailand during that time were in European style.
The Palace is an impressive, very elegant two storey building with high windows from floor to ceiling and a massive dark colored roof set in a very well kept garden. Thanks to the large windows the Palace rooms feel very bright and spacious. The interior of the Palace speaks of luxury and grandness.
The first floor contains a number of rooms including the dining room and the Throne Hall. The main color of the dining room is yellow, with the walls decorated with ceramic tiles with pictures of animals and plants.
The stairs to the second floor is decorated with green tiles. On the second floor you will find among others the King’s bathroom which still looks in its original state and the King’s bedroom, where the main color is gold. Surrounded by the Palace buildings is a small garden with a fountain.
Use of the Palace after Rama V
After the death of King Chulalongkorn, King Rama VI used Phra Ram Ratchaniwet to accommodate foreign state visitors. After that, the Palace was used for many purposes including a teacher training school, a boy scout leaders school and a public school for girls. During the second World War, the Palace was used by the Thai military. During 1986 and 1987 the Palace was renovated by the Fine Arts Department and is now in use as a museum, where among others the original plans of the Palace made by architect Karl Siegfried Döhring are on display.
How to get to Phra Ram Ratchaniwet Palace
The Palace is located inside a Thai military base in Petchaburi town on the Western bank of the Petchaburi river. Coming from Bangkok, it is just past Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park on the main road to Hua Hin. You can visit both Palaces in one day. Best way to get there is by private taxi.
Opening hours & admission
Phra Ram Ratchaniwet Palace is open daily from 8.30 am until 4 pm on weekdays, and from 8.30 am until 5 pm on weekends. Admission is 100 Thai Baht per person. Taking photos inside the Palace is not allowed.