Sanam Chandra Palace
A Surprising Castle in Nakhon Pathom0
Built in 1907 in the small town of Nakhon Pathom, Sanam Chandra Palace is set in a beautiful park full of giant trees and perfectly manicured lawns winding around ponds and lakes. In the middle of this garden stands the most unlikely building, a yellow castle worthy of a Cinderella fairy tale. Located fifty kilometers west of Bangkok Nakhom Pathom is well-known for the world's tallest stupa called 'Phra Pathom Chedi', but despite being located only a kilometer from it, this unusual royal palace is only visited by a handful of local tourists.
This stupa plays a key role in the history of the palace. Before ascending the throne, the then Crown Prince Vajiravudh (later H. M. King Rama VI 1910 - 1925) visited the Nahn Pathom pagoda and decided to build this residence as his retreat to enable him to visit the pagoda regularly. It took nine year to complete the project. Past its prime, the palace lost its shine and the park was abandonned. It was only in 2003 that it was given a new lease of life and was reopened to the public.
This beautiful green park features five remarkable buildings of French, English and typical Thai construction, called the Chaleemongkolasana Residence, the Bhimarn Prathom Residence, the Samakkeemukamartaya Hall, the Mareerajaratabulung Residence and the Thub Kwan Residence. You probably won't remember any of these names but if you do, you will certainly impress your friends.
The main building is called 'The Chaleemongkolasana Residence', is the most popular and most photographed. This two storey Walt Disney castle with towers and turrets is built on one side of a lake in a French Renaissance style, then connects by a long covered half-timbered English style bridge to the Mareerajaratabulung Residence, a set of Thai traditional teak wood houses built on the other side. The castle itself is not very large and includes a bedroom, living room and study room. Unfortunately for some obscure reasons and as is often the case in Thailand, photos are not allowed inside.
Further along is the Bhimarn Prathom Residence, the first house built in the park in a mix of Thai and European styles, and at the end of the garden is the Samakkeemukamartaya Throne Hall, a very large classic Thai style building which includes the meeting room for the royal military unit called 'The Wild Tigers Corp'.
Don't miss the beautiful Thub Kwan Residence, a set of traditional Thai houses made of golden teak but painted dark red. On the way out sneak in the back of the large house next to the entrance gate to find 6 colorful Volkswagen combi kept in perfect condition inside a garage with a large american car.
With 335 acres, the palace grounds makes it a ideal for a sunday afternoon walk, wandering under the shade of centennial trees or even spotting the giant monitors swimming in the ponds. A small coffee shop is available selling soft drinks, few sweets and crackers.
Sanam Chandra Palace is not really worth a daytrip from Bangkok on itself, but if you manage to rent a car, combine it with the surprising Jesada Car Museum, The Thai Human Imagery Museum and of course 'Phra Pathom Chedi' the tallest chedi in the world!
Sanam Chandra Palace
- Opening Hours: 9 am to 4 pm daily except mondays
- Price Range: 50 Baht