Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace

Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace

Lopburi’s centrepiece

More on Lopburi

In the 1660s, King Narai of Ayutthaya hired French and Italian architects to collaborate with Thai artists on a new palace, briefly turning Lopburi into the kingdom’s second capital. Today the Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace complex includes several ruins along with a section that was rebuilt in the 1850s and now houses the exceptional Somdet Phra Narai National Museum.

Travelfish says:
Striking difference between old and (relatively) new. Photo by: David Luekens.
Striking difference between old and (relatively) new. Photo: David Luekens

Standing largely untouched since the days of King Narai, Dusitsawan Thanya Mahaprasat is a large throne hall where the king received foreign dignitaries. Blending Thai, Chinese and European designs, its walls are still mostly in tact but the roof is long gone. In the corner stands a small statue of King Narai, who died in a nearby building in 1688.

The palace fell into disrepair until King Mongkut (Rama IV) of Bangkok commissioned a major restoration in 1856, rebuilding much of the complex as his personal retreat. A large section of the palace, the Phra Phrathiap buildings, served as housing for the “court ladies” -- all men other than the king were strictly forbidden from entering.

The roof is long gone. Photo by: David Luekens.
The roof is long gone. Photo: David Luekens

While most of the rebuilt structures display a colonial-period European design, the beautiful Chanthara Phisarn Throne Hall resembles a 19th-century Thai temple structure with its sparkling finials and Thai-style windows. The museum begins here with a display on Siamese relations with European and other Asian powers, including a striking painting of King Narai receiving a letter from a French envoy. Also check out the ancient lomphok, a traditional pointed crown worn by Ayutthaya-period kings.

The museum continues in the Phiman Mongkut Pavilion, which King Mongkut used as his personal residence. Sporting teakwood floors, high ceilings and many large windows in the thick white walls, the building is just gorgeous. Opened in 1924, the museum that it houses is one of ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)

Log in to Travelfish

Please sign in to read the rest of this page. The full text is around 300 words.

Log in now
Become a Travelfish member

Choose from a free two-day pass right through to a lifetime membership.

Find out more

Reviewed by

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.

Tours in Thailand



Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Lopburi

Phra Prang Sam Yod
Phra Prang Sam Yod

Quintessential Lopburi

Wat Phra Phutthabat
Wat Phra Phutthabat

Worth the trip

Lopburi heritage walk
Lopburi heritage walk

A suggested itinerary

No pic at the moment — Sorry!
San Phra Kan

Monkey central

Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat

A blend of artistic influences

Ban Wichayen
Ban Wichayen

The foreigner compound

Wat Sao Thong Thong
Wat Sao Thong Thong

Home to a big Buddha

Wat Mani Chonlakan
Wat Mani Chonlakan

The leaning tower of Lopburi

Prang Khaek
Prang Khaek

Ruins beside a road

Wat Nakhon Kosa
Wat Nakhon Kosa

A minor site