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Visiting Bang Pa-In Palace






Another view from Sages’ Lookout across the sprawling complex of the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.

Intro: On our second full day in Bangkok we decided to venture to Ayutthaya for a day sightseeing, including a stop at the former royal summer residence at the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.

Our air-conditioned minivan transfer from the Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn to our Ayutthaya tour bus.

After a day spent sightseeing in Bangkok along the Chao Phraya River, visiting Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace and Wat Arun, we really didn’t have any firm plans for our second day in the Thai capital. So we went online to see what tours interested us and found an Ayutthaya day trip, with a return cruise and buffet lunch on the way back to Bangkok. It would include a guided tour of some of Ayutthaya’s most famous sights, as well as a visit to the magnificent Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.

Our tour guide explains a map of the Ayutthaya Historical Park and the sights we would be visiting.

After leaving Bangkok on our tour bus, we drove north towards Ayutthaya, with our first stop being at the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace. Built in 1632 by King Prasat Thong and once the summer residence of the Siamese royal family, it was destroyed in the mid-18th century Burmese raids. After many years of abandonment, King Rama IV began a revival of the palace complex, with his successor, King Rama V, responsible for most of the buildings, pavilions and monuments found today.

One of the calming waterways which meander through the landscaped gardens of the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace complex.

It costs 100THB for the entrance ticket to the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace (open 8AM to 4PM daily), and we followed our tour guide as he explained the significance of many of its buildings and the European influences in the architecture. The complex is set within gorgeous landscaped gardens, and there are ponds and waterways flowing through that are filled with fish. For 15THB, you can buy four rolls of bread from a local vendor and watch as the fish jump and fight over it!

In front of the Asana Pavilion during our guided sightseeing tour of the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.

One of the main highlights of the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is the “floating” Asana Pavilion, also known as the “Divine Seat of Personal Freedom”, which sits in the middle of a beautiful pond, as well as Sages’ Lookout tower that offers fantastic views across the complex. The Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is now mostly used for state functions and the only building that is really open to the public is a Chinese-style palace and throne room known as Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun, with an elaborately carved camel bone dragon and gorgeous ornamental tiling.

Thai school children in bright orange shirts gather in one of the buildings of the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.

When we visited, there was a large group of Thai school children exploring the complex, as well as quite a few other tourists, and the humidity was a bit unbearable. But the gardens and complex were beautiful to wander around nonetheless (apparently even Queen Elizabeth II was very fond of one of its buildings!).

If you forget to cover your shoulders or knees, you can borrow clothing at the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace for a 200 Baht deposit.

Like visiting any Thai temple, there are strict dress codes for entering the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace (covered shoulders and knees) and I actually made the mistake of wearing “jeggings” (leggings crossed with jeans) which were apparently considered “inappropriate”. As a result, I needed to pay a 200THB deposit to rent a sarong, which was returned to me when we left.

Looking across a pond at the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace towards the “floating” Asana Pavilion.

Although I thought the Bang Pa-In Palace was definitely worth the visit, particularly if you are visiting Ayutthaya already, one of the real highlights for me was the ice cream vendor located just before the exit. It was a stinking hot day and ice cream was the perfect way to cool down! I did read later on that you can rent an electric golf cart for 400THB to give you a tour of the palace complex, and if I was to visit again I would definitely consider doing that instead!


  • 1: Dress respectably by covering your shoulders, knees and don’t wear leggings. Otherwise, you will need to rent a sarong with a 200THB refundable deposit.
  • 2: You can feed the fish in the lake by purchasing 4 dinner rolls by a vendor inside the palace.
  • 3: Don’t forget to stay hydrated since the property is vast and the heat/humidity can be draining.
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