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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrJust a short 20-minute walk north of Wat Benchamabophit is where you’ll find this splendid complex of regal abodes, residential and coronation halls. The Royal Palace is quite distinctive in architecture from all others in the country. Although this is partly due to its relatively younger age, it has more to do with the fact that King Chulalongkorn Rama V, who also ordered its construction, was the very first Thai King to ever visit Europe. The influence and inspiration of western architecture, and use of more extravagant building materials, is beautifully evident.
In total, you’ll find over a dozen stunning buildings, including the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, perhaps the most outstanding of all, and Vimanmek, the official residence of the King. The latter is made of super stained teak wood and is now used as a museum to showcase the personal effects of the King. This is a wonderful museum to visit if you want to catch a glimpse of regal life in Thailand at the very beginning of the 20th century. Visiting this mansion is only allowed with a compulsory (but free) guided tour.
Two other museums which you may have interest in visiting are the Royal Elephant Museum which does a great job in educating visitors on the history of the country’s cultural reverence of elephants, and the Royal Carriage Museum where several of King Rama V’s carriages are on display.
If coming to the Dusit Palace first, you may also reach it via express river boat although this will involve a 20-minute walk at least. On a very hot day, this may not be so pleasant. Entry to Dusit Palace and all of its buildings and museums is included in the Grand Palace ticket, which remains valid for a whole week from time of first visit. If you don't have it with you then you'll pay ฿100 ($3.10) to visit most buildings, and an extra ฿50 ($1.55) for the Elephant Museum.
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Author: Laura Pattara. Last updated: Feb 15, 2015