A Guide to Thailand’s Most Picturesque Palaces

18/03/2022Holly Keates

With centuries of Royal history, it’s no surprise that you can discover a plethora of magnificent palaces in Thailand.

A statue at the Grand Palace.  Photo by Silvia Yohani on Unsplash
A statue at the Grand Palace. Photo by Silvia Yohani on Unsplash

The palaces in Thailand are truly unique and present a one of a kind experience. You can gaze upon intricate designs, different styles of architecture and incredible structures.

The history of most Thai palaces date back to reign of the current Chakri dynasty, which began in 1782. During this time many palaces were built across the whole country.

Today, you can explore these picturesque palaces and find out more about the rich history of Thailand.

What is the Chakri dynasty?

Rama I was the founder of the Chakri dynasty, after he became king of Thailand in 1782. Following the end of his predecessor’s reign after his execution, Rama I organised his kingdom differently. 

The kings of the Chakri dynasty are still the ones you will find on the throne today. The current king is Rama X, who took to the throne in 2016.

5 of the Best Palaces in Thailand

With the respect for the royal family, also comes the respect of the palaces. It’s easy to see how much they are appreciated and valued by the Thais. So, if you are planning on visiting any of these locations, please keep the same respectful attitude that the locals have

Shall we get into it?

  1. The Grand Palace
  2. Bhubing Palace
  3. Bang Pa-in Palace
  4. Chitralada Palace
  5. Dusit Palace

The Grand Palace

As a major architectural symbol of the Thai Royal Family, this is a must-see on your trip to Thailand. Located in Bangkok, it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions, pulling in millions of visitors each year.

The Grand Palace was the former residence of King Rama I, and remained the site of the monarchs all the way to King Rama V. With so many different leaders living underneath it’s roof, you will see a variety of different design styles that were favoured throughout the years.

You will find three different zones that make up the Palace’s grounds. The Inner, Middle and Outer Court. There are numerous different picturesque buildings, pavilions and gardens that make up all of these zones.

The palace is partially open to the public as a museum, but there are still several royal offices inside.

The most popular zone for tourists is the Outer Court. Home to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is honoured as the country’s palladium. In addition to being respectful to the palace, visitors should also be aware that there is also a code of conduct and guidelines for entering the temple.

Inside the Grand Palace.  Photo by Silvia Yohani on Unsplash
Inside the Grand Palace. Photo by Silvia Yohani on Unsplash

Bhubing Palace

Built in 1961 as a royal winter residence in Chiang Mai for the Royal family, this stunning palace has verdant gardens and a large grounds for the public to explore. Bhubing Palace has a beautiful landscape and overlooks the Province of Chiang Mai. 

You can expect to see a rose garden with over 250 different kinds of roses that create a vibrant and colourful path.

There is also a tropical rainforest which is the perfect spot to stay shaded as shade is very limited across the gardens. Due to this we would advise you dress appropriately for the weather, but also having your shoulders and knees covered for basic etiquette.

It’s important to note that the Palace grounds aren’t open during times that the Royal family are visiting. Be sure to check that you are able to make your visit before you plan your trip.

Bang Pa-in Palace

Originally a summer retreat from the 17th Century, Bang Pa-in Palace has a long history. After the original structure fell into disrepair during the 18th and 19th century, King Mongkut began to revive the outer island. Following on, King Mongkut’s son, King Chulalongkorn, then went on to construct most of the buildings you see today.

It may be unexpected to see European inspired architecture mixed with the usual Thai style, however it was the design favoured by King Chulalongkorn. This mixture of styles can be seen in the statues, monuments and buildings.

Similarly to a lot of other palaces in Thailand, you can explore fantastic landscaped gardens. For example, there are a variety of plants, bushes shaped like animals, lakes and water features.

In addition to the gardens, there is also a florating ornate pavilion in the middle of a pond. This is a popular spot for people wanting to take pictures of the grounds, as the water beautifully reflects the magnificent structure.

Chitralada Palace

Situated within another Palace, is the Chitralada Palace. Although this Palace isn’t open for the public to visit, you can view it from outside the perimeter.

This grand structure is surrounded by a moat and is is the official residence of His Majesty King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit. It’s guarded by the Royal Guards, so please don’t attempt to gain access to the Palace!

Despite not being able to enter the Palace, it’s still a beautiful sight to see. There is a lake with stunning Baroque style fountains at every corner.

What makes the Palace even more magical is that during special occasions, the whole Palace is lit up with fantastic lights that make it look like something out of a fairy tale book. 

Dusit Palace

Do you remember we mentioned that Chitralada Palace is within another Palace? Well, this is it! Dusit Palace Park is a compound of royal residences, museums and throne halls.

The most popular and one of the more picturesque structures on the park is the Ananta Samagom Throne Hall. In the hall you will find a museum and a dome, encompassed by six smaller domes, that sits in the centre. The dome walls are covered in incredible paintings which portray the Chakri Dynasty.

Additionally, at the front of the hall is the Royal Plaza which is home to an equestrian statue of King Chulalongkorn, who commissioned the construction of the Hall.

The magnificent Dusit Palace. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
The magnificent Dusit Palace. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Ready to have a royally good trip?

Prepare for not only beaches and sunshine but also a cultural trip full of history and beautiful buildings and grounds to explore.

The Palaces in Thailand allow you to learn more about Thailand and it’s rich history, but also provide a fantastic day out.

Along with this, you can also visit the magnificent temples in Thailand too. Add these trips to your itinerary and check out our blog on 8 Incredible Temples in Thailand That are Completely Unique.

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