Originally intended to be used as rainy season retreat away from Bangkok, King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn) funded the building of this royal palace at Phetchaburi from his personal finances. The Thai monarch commissioned a German architect, Karl DÃ¶hring, to design the royal residence. Using the palace of Kaiser Wilhelm for inspiration, DÃ¶hring incorporated European period features and baroque styling. Construction began in 1910, but King Chulalongkorn died on October 23 the same year. Work on the palace was completed in 1916.
Many locals in Phetchaburi still refer to the palace by its original name of Wang Ban Poun and a sign in front of the main courtyard notes that title. The name was officially changed to Som Phet Prasat Throne Hall before being changed again in 1918 to ‘Phra Ram Ratchaniwet’ (‘Royal Residence of King Rama’) when the function was also changed to that of accommodating state visitors during the reign of King Rama VI.
Phra Ram Ratchaniwet is now open to the pubic as a museum. No photography is permitted inside the building and visitors need to be politely dressed to gain access. If you are interested in history or architecture, the palace is worth seeking out especially if you are already in Phetchaburi visiting Phra Nakhon Khiri Royal Palace or you are en route to Cha am and Hua Hin for the Marukhathaiyawan Teakwood Palace. If you are visiting with a Thai partner or Thai friends, you may find that Phra Ram Ratchaniwet is of particular interest to them because it allows them to pay their respects to one of Thailand’s most loved monarchs, King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn). A room inside the palace is set aside for visitors to pay respects to King Chulalongkorn. Visitors also place garlands of flowers at the statue of the king which stands proudly in front of the building flanked by four canons pointing in each direction of the compass.
Open daily from 08.00-16.00 with an entrance fee of 50 Baht.
The palace is located within the grounds of a military base so don’t be alarmed if soldiers approach your vehicle before you enter the base. The palace is in Phetchaburi town centre close to the river and less than 10 minutes’ drive south of Phra Nakhon Khiri (Khao Wang).