Bangkok, Thailand




Dusit Palace
Dusit Palace (sometimes called New Royal City, Dusit Park, Dusit Garden or simply "Dusit") is a complex of palaces and royal residences in Dusit. The palace was established by King Rama V, the first Thai monarch to visit Europe. The king was impressed by the royal parks and residences in Europe, which had a relaxed and spacious character as opposed to the Grand Palace, which was cramped with buildings for his numerous wives, children and servants. As a substitute, King Rama V started building the Dusit Palace upon his return from Europe.

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Dusit Palace by Deror Avi
The main structure is the Vimanmek Mansion, touted as the world's largest golden teakwood residence and the former home of King Rama V. Purchase a ticket for 100 baht at the northwestern side of the palace grounds or enter free if you still have the Grand Palace entry ticket (remains valid for a week). You can visit all the museums on the palace grounds with one ticket, except the Anantasamakhom Throne Hall and the Royal Elephant National Museum which will set you back another 50 baht. The palace grounds open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. but the last tour of the Vimanmek Mansion starts around 3:15 p.m. and some of the smaller museums close by 3:30 p.m.

Keep in mind that the same dress codes apply at Dusit Palace as in the Grand Palace (in Rattanakosin), so leave shorts and sleeveless shirts in your hotel room. You must store your belongings in a locker before entering each museum. It's free, except the Vimanmek Mansion - if you're on a stringent budget, go to another museum first and leave your belongings there. Allow a whole day if you want to see all the buildings and museums. Make sure you get a map when purchasing a ticket, as the palace grounds are large and you need a map to to navigate.

Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall by ScorpianPK

Some of the attractions at the Vimanmek Mansion Museum include: 

  • The Presentation Hall - This hall features a multimedia slideshow about the history of Dusit Palace. It also gives an overview of the different residential halls and their exhibits, so you can more decide which ones you want to visit. There's also a collection of pictures showing the Vimanmek Mansion beautifully illuminated at night.
  • Vimanmek Mansion - Was the home of King Rama V in the early 20th century and a guide tours tells you all about the life of King Rama V and his collection of royal memorabilia inside the building. You can also see the first Thai indoor bathroom, first typewriter with Thai characters and some of the first portrait paintings of Thailand.
  • Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall - This beautiful hall was built in 1904 and was formerly used for royal meetings and banquets. Its exterior is a unique mix of Victorian and Islamic influences. Exhibits include handbags, baskets, pots, jewellery, figurines and silk created using traditional Thai techniques.
  • Ancient Clock Museum - This is a two-storey brick house that King Rama V built for his sister Princess Puang Soi Sa-Ang. The residence has been converted into a museum displaying old clocks and timepieces. The ground floor has 19th-century antique clocks from the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States.
  • Ancient Cloth and Silk Museum - This was the fourth royal residence King Rama V and built for one of his sisters. Today, there are exhibits of rare fabrics and textiles used during the reigns of King Rama IV and King Rama V. There are also modern pieces of textiles from the 21st century woven using traditional methods.
  • Prehistoric Ban Chiang Pottery Museum - A small brick building that was once the home of Princess Bootri (daughter of King Rama III). Now it is home to prehistoric artifacts from the Ban Chiang Archaeological Site in Northern Isaan. The artifacts are from a civilization that existed between 3600 BC and 200 AD.
  • Shipwrecks Museum - The hall has displays of potteries from the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods, recovered in 1976 from underwater shipwrecks in the Gulf of Thailand (along the coast of Rayong and Chantaburi). It is believed these vessels were Chinese and Vietnamese trade junks from the 15th to 18th century.
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