Historical cluster of Thai houses
Once home to a grandson of King Rama V, the conveniently located Suan Pakkad Palace now features two distinct museums: the first comprises a beautiful set of 19th-century teak houses and the second exhibits a fine collection of artefacts from the Ban Chiang archaeological site.
Visitors are first pointed to an office in a modern building to purchase tickets and leave any cameras and bags in lockers. From there you enter the Ban Chiang Museum, which we didn’t expect and offers a great chance to learn about an intriguing bronze-age culture without going to the actual excavation site in Northeast Thailand.
Here you can gaze at 3,000 year-old bronze tools, stunning bead necklaces and pots sporting Ban Chiang’s signature swirling designs. There’s also a quirky model depicting the moment when an American college student tripped and stumbled on to the first of several excavation sites that unraveled secrets of a compelling ancient culture.
Visitors then wander further back into a garden anchored by a gorgeous stilted pavilion that dates from the Ayutthaya period. Showing scenes from the Ramayana and the Buddha’s life, the gold-and-black lacquer murals adorning the inner walls were restored after the pavilion was dismantled and moved to Suan Pakkad in 1959.
A stone footpath leads from the pavilion to Suan Pakkad’s main event: a cluster of eight traditional Central Thai style teak houses connected by raised walkways. Dotting the varnished wood floors are many antiques including ancient Buddha images in the Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Khmer, Burmese and Dvaravati styles, which are up to 1,000 years old.
A fine assortment of antique pottery derives from the Sawankhalok tradition of the Sukhothai period and Qing dynasty China, among others, while another room features antique instruments used in classical Thai music. Another room has a spread of khon masks with animated faces depicting the demon Tosakan, the monkey-king Hanuman and other characters from the Ramayana.
Suan Pakkad Palace remains an obscure attraction even though we found it more interesting than the similar (and far more popular) Jim Thompson’s House Museum, which can be easily hit on the same day. Located a five-minute walk from Phaya Thai BTS Station in the Pratunam vicinity of central Bangkok, Suan Pakkad is also easy to reach.
Take exit 4 out of Phaya Thai BTS Station, turn immediately right on Sri Ayutthaya Rd and you’ll reach the entrance after a few hundred metres.
Address: 352-354 Sri Ayutthaya Rd, Bangkok
T: (02) 246 1775-6; (02) 245 4934;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º32'13.68" E, 13º45'24.85" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 100 baht
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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