One weekend I took a day trip out of Bangkok to Ayutthaya and Bang-Pa-In or the Summer Palace. The palace is actually a large complex with lots of buildings from different periods, somewhat like the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Its construction was begun in 1632, but most of the structures were built in the 19th century by King Chulalongkorn.
The most striking aspects of the Summer Palace are how peaceful the space is and how European the buildings are. King Chulalongkorn or Rama V was educated in Europe and brought many reforms to the country in addition to his love of European architecture. He ruled in the mid-late 19th century. Chulalongkorn is widely credited with careful diplomacy that kept Thailand independent and uncolonized by European powers.
Check back tomorrow for more pictures from the Grand Palace and to find out whether Chulalongkorn’s father King Mongkut offered President Lincoln elephants to help fight the American Civil War.
Title quote: Royal residence, excellent and shining heavenly abode”