The Dusit Palace, also called the New Royal City, is a complex of royal residences and palaces located right in the heart of Thailand’s political center in Rattanakosin district in Bangkok. The Dusit Palace is the result of King Rama V’s visit in Europe. The King was said to be the first monarch to ever leave Thailand and visit Europe. He was inspired by the wide roads and avenues of royal residences in Europe and had envisioned the same for the canal-filled roads of his country. The resulting structure of the palace reflects a different kind of architecture with a largely European feel.
The following are some of the most remarkable structures in the palace:
- Vimanmek Mansion Museum. This is probably the most popular building in the palace. It is said to be the world’s largest residence made in teakwood. It used to be a summer retreat home of the King Rama V, and was transported piece by piece from its original location on the island of Ko Si Chang to the palace in 1901. It contains fragments from the final years of the 19th Century when decadence and self-doubt was said to be flourishing. The Vimanmek Mansion Museum includes residential halls that are also open to the public.
- Anantasamakhon Throne Hall. The building has renaissance and neo-classical style architecture. The roof of the hall has mural paintings depicting scenes of royal activities from the reign of King Rama I to the reign of King Rama VI. Thai handicrafts can also be found here.
- Royal Elephant National Museum. The place used to be the royal stable of the King and contained white elephants. White elephants are considered by Thais as holy and the museum contains history and all information about white elephants and the characteristics of a true holy white elephant.
- Dusit Zoo. Houses wild animals and has picnic areas and parks that offer water activities like foot-paddle boating. It’s perfect for families with small children.
- King Rama V Equestrian Statue. The statue of King Rama V riding a stallion is found at the entrance of the palace. It is the first monument in Thailand that was ever dedicated to a Thai King. When it was finished, it was opened ceremonially by King Rama V himself. Every 5th of December, a ceremony for the Trooping of the Colors is held here.
- Numthong Gallery. This is an art gallery that showcases the work of some of the most promising Thai artists. If you are fascinated with art paintings, a visit in the Numthong Gallery may prove to be interesting.
- Wat Benchamabophit. Also known as the Marble Temple. It has a European ecclesiastic structure and houses a collection of bronze Buddha images. It was constructed during the reign of King Rama V. Every morning, monks gather here in the temple where donations are encouraged and welcomed by the monks themselves.
The Dusit Palace also hosts shows of Thai artists performing the Thai traditional dance. It’s held twice daily at 10 A.M. and 2 P.M.