Phra Ram Rajaniwet Palace


My rating: ★★★★

King Rama V (Chulalongkorn) had this small palace built near the Petch River south of Petchburi City. Construction began in 1910. The overall design is based on the summer palace of German Kaiser Wilhelm, where King Chulalongkorn had been a guest. The building was planned and supervised by the German-born architect Karl Dohring, who also designed the Bang Khun Phrom palace in Bangkok. The building was not finished until 1916, under the reign of King Rama VI.

Phra Ram Rajaniwet Palace
The Phra Ram Rajaniwet Palace, with a statue of King Chulalongkorn in front.

Although rather small as palaces go, the scale and details of the building make this one of the grander of the many palaces built around the turn of the twentieth century. The various state rooms on the ground floor are laid out along a wide corridor which runs the lengs of the building, from the rotunda facing the river to the portico on the western end. Floors are tiled in black and white marble, while from the high ceilings are black iron chandeliers with blue glass in an Art Deco inspired design.

On the second floor are the private apartments. There are separate bedrooms for the king and queen, as well as two small bedrooms for the prince and princess. There is also a large sitting room. The king's bedroom has a large attached bathroom with a small plunge pool as well as the most elaborate shower you will probably ever see. Most of the rooms are paneled in dark wood, with white walls above and high white ceilings.

The palace now sits in the middle of a small army base (many palaces were turned over to the military after the 1932 revolution ending the absolute monarchy). Gaining access to the base to see the palace may require a little Thai, since the guards do not speak English. Admission to the palace is 50 Baht (1.30 USD). It is open every day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. No photography is allowed inside the building, and you must remove your shoes to enter.