Suan Pakkad Palace, a cultural showpiece

The well-known Suan Pakkad Palace in Bangkok presents an insight into the historical and cultural heritage of Thailand and will draw the interest of any visitor to the Thai capital. The palace compound consists of eight traditionally designed Thai houses, all of which are full of antiques, fine art and other objects of interest. Surrounding these buildings are meticulously maintained tropical gardens with tranquil ponds adding to the charm of the compound.

The site was once the private residence of Prince and Princess Chumbot who, in a gesture of magnanimity donated their personal residence to house the museum in 1952. The royal couple felt that their private possessions were part of the heritage of the country, and therefore should be shared with all.

Taking pride of place at the complex are four traditional Thai houses made of teak, which date to the 19th century. These handsome buildings were brought to the site from their place of origin in Chiang Mai. As is customary in Thai residences, the buildings are of two storeys, and the top floors have been interconnected so that visitors do not have to climb up and down stairways.

The first building features numerous musical instruments belonging to the Prince’s father, a successful composer, including unusual drums, gongs, xylophones and fiddles. Upstairs you will find a number of artefacts relating to different eras in the Thai as well as south-east Asian historical timeline.

The second and third structures contain interesting decorative articles and valuable furniture which once belonged to the royal couple, including 17th century illustrations, Buddhist scriptures, precious silverware, porcelain and containers. Meanwhile the fourth house contains a selection of Buddha figures from diverse periods in the history of Thailand.

The remainder of the houses are of more recent origin, and feature artefacts like prehistoric artworks, shells, minerals, fossilized fish, Thai dance accessories, silverware, glassware and more.

Not to be missed is the splendid Lacquer Pavilion, an exquisite specimen of local architecture dating from the 17th century with a lavish interior and decorations.

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Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+