Photo: East meets West.

Bangkok is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Bangkok as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Bangkok’s different areas.


Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall

Our rating:

No single building in Bangkok displays the extravagance of Siamese royalty during the early 20th century stronger than Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall.



Update: Anananta Samakhon Throne Hall will close for restoration on 1 October 2017, and a reopen date has not yet been released.

Commissioned by King Rama V in 1907 and completed eight years later during the reign of King Rama VI, the dramatic edifice was crafted from Italian marble and other pricey foreign materials in the Italian Renaissance and Neo-Classic styles. It’s now one of two major drawcards, the other being Vimanmek Mansion, found in Dusit Park.

Nothing else quite like it in Thailand. Photo taken in or around Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Nothing else quite like it in Thailand. Photo: David Luekens

From outside, the hall could pass as the capital building of a European nation with its dozens of pillars supporting a broad central dome and marble statues of children with Caucasian features dotting the rooftops. But instead of hosting a room for parliament, the whole structure revolved around a throne for a king who held absolute power in Siam.

The impressive scale and richness of the hall may make it seem like Rama V was a narcissist, but it did have strategic value. This king spent his entire reign walking a tightrope of diplomacy to keep Siam independent from the colonial powers pressing in on either side of his kingdom—Britain to the west and France in the east. Constructing great halls fit for European royalty helped to show the colonialists that Siam was not a backwater kingdom, but a modern and innovative nation that deserved to preserve its sovereignty.

The interior has only two floors and the upper one, housing the throne room itself, is simply magnificent—forget the longwinded audio tour guide for a moment and just pause in a corner to soak it all in. High above on the ceilings, exquisite frescoes painted by Italian artists Galileo Chini and Carlo Riguli display Thai-style designs framing a vivid pictorial history of the Chakri Dynasty. It’s a striking juxtaposition of East and West.

That marble is a long way from Italy. Photo taken in or around Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

That marble is a long way from Italy. Photo: David Luekens

One scene displays King Rama I returning home victorious on elephant-back after a military victory against the Khmer. Another spotlights the religious freedom that was so important to King Rama IV, depicting him in a discussion with leaders of different religions. Rama V is shown standing at Bangkok port after decreeing slavery illegal in 1905. In more recent times, the late King Rama IX stood high up on an upper terrace and gave his birthday speeches to tens of thousands of Thais squished into the royal plaza that fronts the hall.

The throne hall doubles as a museum of traditional Thai arts supported by the Queen Sirikit Institute. Along with models of thrones used by various kings, the main throne room features exquisite woodcarvings, models of royal barges and wall-size works of silk embroidery that are as intricate as fine temple murals. On the ground floor, smaller pieces include gold and silver images of celestial beings and characters from Thai literature. Altogether the works combine to form one of Thailand’s finest collections of traditional art.

One thing you won’t learn about here is the role of the hall in Siam’s transition from absolute to constitutional monarchy. After seizing power in a coup in late 1932, a group of military and civilian leaders announced their new form of government in the hall, and Rama VII later revealed Siam’s first constitution here under threat of removal (he later abdicated on his own terms).

With no photos allowed inside, we’re kind of struggling for material here! Photo taken in or around Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

With no photos allowed inside, we’re kind of struggling for material here! Photo: David Luekens

To this day, sensitivities persist at a site that’s symbolic for both Thai royalists and supporters of democracy. In 2017, a plaque that had been installed in the road fronting the royal plaza to commemorate the 1932 abolishment of absolute monarchy was quietly removed late at night and replaced by a new plaque praising the monarchy. The fate of the old plaque remains a mystery, and many observers view its removal as an attempt to erase a chapter of Thai history.

Note that all visitors must wear long pants or skirts past the knees and shirts covering shoulders; otherwise you’ll have to rent a sarong to cover up. Photography is prohibited inside and handbags and even cellphones must be left in lockers at the gate.

A visit to Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall takes less than an hour, though you could easily lose half a day combining it with visits to Vimanmek Mansion and other related sites such as Dusit Throne Hall, Dusit Zoo and Wat Benchamabophit. There’s also a large statue of King Rama V on horseback standing at the centre of the royal plaza.


Sponsored placement.

How to get there
Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall is located in the Dusit area, more than three kilometres north of Khao San Road. City buses 5, 18, 56, 70, 72, 503 and 515 all pass within walking distance of the entrance, which is just east of the hall off Soi Uthong Nai near Dusit Zoo. Otherwise the closest public transport option is the Phadung Krung Kasem canal boat that stops at Government House Pier, less than a kilometre south of the hall. Thewet Pier off the Chao Phraya river ferry orange flag line is 1.5 km to the east, and Victory Monument BTS Station is two km to the west.

Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall
Sri Ayutthaya Rd
Tu–Su: 10:00–16:00
T: (02) 283 9411, (02) 283 9185 
Admission: 150 baht

By .

Location map for Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall

Popular attractions in Bangkok

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Bangkok.



What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Bangkok.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Bangkok.
 Read up on how to get to Bangkok, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Bangkok? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Thailand with Tourradar.




Like what you see? Then you’ll love our newsletter

The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.


See below for more sights and activities in Bangkok that are listed on Travelfish.org.


Top of page