Statue and Lake.

Some old negatives (about three rolls of 36 exposure film) recently came to light. I believe they were taken during a work related trip to Bangkok, Thailand around 1999. Usually when I travel on business I don’t find the time to look around much – mostly seeing the hotel, the road to the office, and the office itself. On this occasion though I must have had a weekend to myself because I was able to not only look around in Bangkok, but also to get out of Bangkok and see some sights outside of the capital. I’d already been to the Philippines, but somehow because of the deep connection the Philippines had with Europe (400 years under Spanish colonial rule) it didn’t feel much like what I expected Asia to be like. Thailand definitely did, with its bright (almost gaudy) temples; exotic looking palaces; mysterious ruins etc.

This post will be the first of a series and covers Bang Pa In: a royal palace about 40 miles north of Bangkok.

According to Wikipedia:

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace (Thai: พระราชวังบางปะอิน), also known as the Summer Palace, is a palace complex formerly used by the Thai kings. It lies beside the Chao Phraya River in Bang Pa-In district, Ayutthaya Province.

King Prasat Thong constructed the original complex[1]:211 in 1632, but it fell into disuse and became overgrown in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, until King Mongkut began to restore the site in the mid-19th century. Most of the present buildings were constructed between 1872 and 1889 by King Chulalongkorn.

Amidst vast gardens and landscaping stand the following buildings: 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), a brightly painted lookout tower; and the Aisawan Thiphya-Art (Divine Seat of Personal Freedom), a pavilion constructed in the middle of a pond.

The palace remains largely open to visitors, as King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family use it only rarely for banquets and special occasions.

Phra Thinang Withun Thatsana or “Sage’s Lookout”.

Phra Thinang Withun Thatsana. A colorful Thai-style building in the middle of a pool, with the rather intimidating name of “The divine seat of personal freedom.” Apparently the only example of classical Thai architecture within the palace. It was built by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and houses his statue. It’s a rectangular building and this a view of one of the ends. The front facade is more spectacular, but I didn’t realize that at the time – only later when I saw a picture taken from a different angle.

Buddha

Pavilion

Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun. Apparently built in China and given as a gift to King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in 1889.




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