After liberating Siam from the Burmese in 1767, following their ransacking of Ayutthaya, a general and provincial governor named Taksin was crowned King. He built Wangderm palace to mark the establishment of the new capital in Thonburi. Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River near Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn), it occupies a site once of great strategic importance, behind the Wichayen Fort and other fortifications that guarded access to the Kingdom's port.
When King Rama I later ascended the throne, following King Taksin's execution after a coup d'etat, the capital was moved to the east bank of the river. Wangderm Palace subsequently became the residence of several members of the Chakri Dynasty before King Rama V donated it to the Royal Thai Navy. Today it serves as their headquarters. While recent occupants have added to the palace, many original buildings and features remain, like the Throne Hall. This traditional Thai structure was built when Thonburi was established, and consists of an open pavilion used by the King to receive guests.
There are also two Chinese-style residences, built at the beginning of the Rattanakosin era, the smaller housing a collection of traditional Thai weapons alongside displays of King Taksin's battle achievements, the larger exhibiting a collection of antiques and paintings. Other buildings of interest include a King Taksin shrine, Whale Head Shrine (containing whale bone relics found beneath Taksin's shrines during renovations) and King Pinklao's residence. Considered to be the first American influenced building to be used as a royal residence, it now houses a reference library on the Thonburi period, antique ceramics, Thai coins and memorabilia showcasing the life and work of King Pinklao. It is open to groups of five people or more, and only by appointment with the foundation.
- Opening Hours: Only to groups of five or more, and by appointment
- Location: Arun Amarin Road, Thonburi