Bangkok, Thailand

Destinations

 
 

Rattanakosin

Palaces

Front Palace (Krom Phra Rajawang Bovorn Sathan Mongkol)
Na Phra That Rd (Tha Chang Pier). Opening: Wednesday-Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., closed on holidays.
The Front Palace is now the Bangkok National Museum, the main branch of Thailand's National Museum.
Built in the 18th-century (along with the Grand Palace, it was once an enormous complex stretching from the Chao Phraya River across Sanam Luang to Lot Canal. The Front Palace housed the heir to the throne (usually a son or brother of the reigning monarch) and bore the title of "Second King" or "Vice-King". The title of Second King gained a significant amount of power during the Rattanakosin Period, often leading to conflicts between the King and the Second King.

 
 
 
 
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The last to bare the title of Second King was Prince Vichaichan. In 1884, he got into a power struggle with King Rama V in an event known as the Front Palace crisis. The title was eventually abolished and replaced with a Western-style "Crown Prince of Siam" for the heir apparent but Prince Vichaichan died a year later. The palace was later turned into the National Museum's main building housing Thai art objects. Some walled remains of the old Front Palace complex can be found inside the Thammasat University complex.

Front Palace by Heinrich Damm

Wang Tha Phra
31 Na Phra Lan Rd (Tha Chang Pier). Opening: daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Just outside the Grand Palace is Wang Tha Phra Palace, now a part of Silpakorn University. In August 2010, Tha Phra Palace celebrated its 200-year anniversary. King Rama I built the palace for his nephew Prince Kasattiyanuchit and was once a residence for many high ranking princes including King Rama III, when he was a prince. The last prince to live here was Prince Naris, who moved out in 1934 when the palace was turned into an art school.

The palace is a combination of Thai and European-style architecture. Just walking around the campus is interesting, as usually there are students undergoing some art projects. Entrance to the palace grounds is free but for 50 baht you can get into the library, which has plentlanguage books about the Grand Palace, art, culture, religion, architecture and travel. Also within the Wang Tha Phra compound are the Silpa Bhirasri National Museum and Silpakorn University's Art Centre.

Art Centre at Silpakorn University by Heinrich Damm
 
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