The Ban Pa-In Royal Residence has a strange assortment of architectural styles, even by Thai standards.
The small town of Ban Pa-In has a Royal Residence on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. Originally constructed in 1632 by King Prasat Thong, it fell into disuse and became overgrown in the 18th and 19th centuries before King Mongkut (Rama IV) reclaimed it from the jungle in the mid-19th century to use as a retreat from Bangkok life.
The royal palace stands amidst vast landscaped gardens, featuring an ornamental pond. It is an odd assortment of architectural styles. You may be able to see the brightly painted “Sages’ Lookout”. Around it is a throne room that was actually built in China and gifted to King Chulalongkorn by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in 1890, with Chinese architecture and enterior design, complete with ebony and red laquerware trimmings. There is also the Royal residence that was originally said to have been built to the style of a Swiss Chalet, but was refurbished to a “Paris Metro” art-deco style.
Wat Niwet Thamprawat stands adjacent to the palace on a river island. If it weren’t for the golden statues of Buddha, one might be convinced that it was a Christian church, as it was built in the style of a Neo-Gothic church, complete with stained glass and soaring ceilings.
These days the royal family only uses the residence rarely for banquets and special occasions, so the palace remains largely open to visitors.
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