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In Thailand, Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is worth a visit out of Bangkok
In the first week of May, I happened to visit Thailand's Bang Pa-In Royal Palace out of the capital city of Bangkok as a part of a group tour. We started in the morning from Bangkok in a van with a female guide accompanying us who was articulate with loud hand gestures.

The Palace was situated 60 km north of Bangkok and within easy reaches by road. We combined the visit to the palace with to Ayutthaya which had the ruins and remains, characterized by Prangs or reliquary towers and gigantic monasteries reminders of the past splendour of the city.

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, also known as the Summer Palace, is a well maintained palace complex that was formerly used by the Thai kings as a summer residence.  Often, tourists stop here on the way to Ayutthaya for a short while to have a look at the palace complex.

The palace is situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bang Pa-In district, Ayutthaya Province of Thailand. The most of palace remains open to visitors, as the present Royal family uses it only rarely for banquets and special occasions when foreign dignitaries visit the country.

The guide told that King Rama IV had a temporary residence constructed at the site. Thereafter, King Prasat Thong extended it to have a larger palace complex in 1632 which was modest and had the local and Chinese style buildings. However, King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn developed the palace complex further in the mid-19th century by adding western style palace architecture, landscaping, fountains, gardens, statues and artifacts.

Thereafter, the guide explained the location of various buildings on the map next to the cafe at the entrance of palace and told us to walk around and see the main building such as the Wehart Chamrunt (Heavenly Light - a Chinese-style royal palace and throne room); the Warophat Phiman (Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode), a royal residence; Ho Withun Thasana (Sages' Lookout).

The guide said that after seeing the brightly painted lookout tower and the Aisawan Thiphya-Art (Divine Seat of Personal Freedom - a pavilion constructed in the middle of a pond), the group should return to the cafe after 1.5 hours.

We choose to walk, though one could hire golf carts, since the area was flat with wide sidewalks and the palaces were close to one another.

We found the palace complex interesting which had both the eastern and western style extravagant and grand buildings; well maintained water monuments; temples; dining room on the river and more.  Also, there was a nice aerial view of the surroundings from the tower.

While visiting the interiors the knees and shoulders should be covered, which many tourists find irritating. Even one has to do so while to seeing the real throne that earlier kings used inside a building. Another irritant is the presence of stray dogs on the complex despite all out efforts to chase them away.

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