Perhaps it was inevitable that after His Royal Highness Prince Krom Phra Naresworarit built a group of palaces called Sukaves beside the beach of Hua Hin, other members of the Royal Family also built palaces in the area. Prince Krom Phra Naresworarit was the first ever member of the Royal Family to build a palace in Hua Hin, a district of the Prachuap Khiri Khan province roughly 285 kilometers South of Bangkok. And when the village became a popular beach resort with the nobility, King Rama VII also built another palace, the Wang Klai Kang Won Palace and made Hua Hin the Royal Family’s official summer retreat.
The Wang Klai Kang Won Palace was built by His Majesty King Prajadhipok Rama VII for his wife, Her Majesty the Queen Rampai Phanee. It was constructed in 1926 just after the King was crowned. Built with a European architectural design, the palace was originally named Suan Klai Kang Won and Phra Tamnak Piamsuk, meaning “The Garden Far From Worries” and “The Royal Residence Full of Happiness” respectively. Now, the magnificent summer palace of the King Rama VII and his wife is a Royal residence of His Majesty King Bhumipol and his wife the Queen Sirikit.
The palace was designed by the Architect Prince Iddhidehsarn Kridakara, the Director of the Fine Arts Department. It has a dominantly Spanish style architecture, beautifully manicured lawns all around and it stands gracefully right beside the Hua Hin Beach.
Originally, the palace was composed of three buildings. The two-story buildings were for the royals while the smaller ones were for their entourage. The formal garden in the front has stone sculptures from Bali. It also has fascinating sundials, nautical instruments, lamps and other beautiful ornaments. In addition, an interesting topiary can be found with well-kept plants and bushes of different sizes and shapes.
Similarly, the palace houses a beautiful and extensive collection of shells inside its Shell Museum. But it’s not only the manicured gardens and the Shell Museum that gives the palace an eye value. It’s also the site of many historical events during the reign of the King Rama VII when absolute monarchy was ended and replaced by a constitutional form of government. Sadly though, there were no records of the event on display in the palace.
The Wang Klai Kang Won Palace, which translates to “Far From Worries” in English, truly lives up to its name. Facing the sea, its Spanish-designed windows designed to admit the refreshing breeze from the sea add to the carefree atmosphere of a summer house, and also offer a beautiful view of the waters. Through the years, the King has ordered various additions to the palace and now that it has become popular with the public, the Royal Family has opened its doors for public viewing when they are not in residence. If you’re in Hua Hin, this one should definitely be on your list of must-visit. Have a taste of the Royal Family’s worry-free antidote of a summer palace right when you most need it.