Bangkok’s renowned Wangderm Palace is one of the Thai capital’s most significant monuments and lays claim to a rich historical legacy. Following the Burmese conquest of Ayutthaya, Siam was eventually liberated from the aggressors in 1767. At this time a provincial governor and general, Taksin was given the crown of Thailand. This monarch was responsible for the creation of Wangderm Palace to commemorate the creation of the new capital city at Thonburi. At this time the location of the edifice was a place of immense strategic significance.
Eventually following a coup King Taksin was executed and King Rama I ascended to the throne. At this time the capital was relocated once again, to the river’s east bank; subsequently Wangderm Palace served as the residence of a number of individuals of the Chakri royalty. Eventually King Rama V bestowed the building to the Royal Thai Navy, and it serves to this day as its headquarters.
Many aspects of the original building are still to be seen today, with pride of place going to the Throne Hall. A typically Thai building, this edifice consists of a pavilion where the monarch received guests.
Visitors will also see a couple of Chinese-themed structures; the larger of the two exhibits a selection of paintings and antiques, whilst the smaller houses an array of typical Thai weapons along with depictions of the military exploits of King Taksin. Other structures of interest include a shrine dedicated to King Taksin, and the ‘Whale Head Shrine’, a display of whale bones unearthed beneath the site when renovations were being carried out.
Not to be missed is King Pinklao’s residence, which has the distinction of being the initial Thai royal residence to feature American design motifs. Today this edifice houses ceramic antiques, a library devoted to the Thonburi era, a selection of Thai coins and significant memorabilia relating to the life and interests of King Pinklao.
With all of these important features, it is not surprising that the Wangderm Palace compound is considered to be amongst the important Thai royal complexes.
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Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.