Phaya Thai Palace is located on Ratchawithi Road near the Victory Monument in the grounds of Phramongkutlao hospital. It was built in 1909 by King Rama V as a summer house when the surrounding area was farmland and orchards. During the reign of Rama VI, the main palace building was demolished and rebuilt. A statue of Rama V is located on the lawn in front of the palace.
It has five buildings all constructed in a combination of Neo-Gothic and Romanesque styles with the outstanding feature being the European influenced round red conical turret like that of a castle. The interior is also European influenced featuring ceilings adorned with Italian style frescos.
King Rama VI lived at the palace after it’s rebuilding and it has also been used as a radio station and an International hotel before being taken over by the military and becoming part of the Phramongkutlao military hospital complex. The palace has also featured in the TV series, the Amazing Race. The palace has now become a museum and is slowly being restored back to its original glory though the work is ongoing.
The main palace building is the Gothic-Romanesque style Phiman Chakri Hall. The 2-story building features marble floors, fresco ceilings, crystal chandeliers, gilded carved wood door panels, ornamental wall designs, and swing open windows. A mezzanine leads up to the gothic tower.
To the east is the Romanesque style Waikun Thepayasathan Hall with one of the king’s bedchambers on the 3rd floor. To the west is the gothic style Sisuthaniwat Building featuring a small English Gothic style turret and an open corridor linking it to the Phiman Chakri Hall. The walls and ceilings are decorated with floral designs.
The Udom Wanaporn building is to the east of the Waikun Thepayasathan Hall joined by an open bridge on the first floor. This building differs from the others as it has a white glazed tile interior rather than the frescoes. The highlight is the main central staircase with art-nouveau wrought Iron railings.
Behind the Sisuthaniwat Building is the Mekhala Ruchi Pavillion It is a 2-story teak building which was the residence of King Rama VI while the palace was under reconstruction. It has been beautifully restored and you can see how the King’s lived including his large bathing room as well as paintings and furniture. A pond and a canal surround the building on three sides. Look out for lurking “Bangkok Crocodiles”.
In front of the palace is a monument and statue of King Rama VI who the hospital next door is named after. Just behind the monument is Cafe de Norasingha, the most historic coffee shop in Bangkok. Originally a coffee shop of the same name was located near the Grand Palace during the reign of King Rama V and was the first coffee shop in Thailand.
The room housing the cafe was originally a royal reception room for visiting dignitaries. The cafe oozes old world charm and has a classic vintage design and décor in the style of the rest of the palace with high vaulted ceilings and period furniture. It serves meals, snacks, cakes, and beverages.
Back outside, and to one side of the cafe is a tall birdhouse. Also in front of the palace is a Byzantine style glass and a wooden building called the Thewaratsaparom Throne Hall, that was formerly a Theater but is mostly used now as a reception hall and for ceremonies.
This is the only surviving building from the original Rama V built Palace. Its interior is decorated with intricate mosaics, wood carvings, and paintings of men, women, children, trees, and flowers. The ceiling has a central dome and a vaulted roof.
Located behind the palace is a Neo-Classical Roman style garden with a pavilion featuring a domed roof supported by Corinthian columns and adorned with Roman style marble statues. Next to the pavilion is a large pool with a fountain featuring a Buddha image and surrounded by a garden with seating.
Location: 315 Ratchawithi Road.
Opening Hours: 09.30-13.30 Saturday-Sunday. Free tours at 09.30 & 13.30.
Rules: Dress respectfully
BTS: Victory Monument Station (exit 3), then 10-minute walk down Ratchawithi Road
Bus: 8,12,14,18, 28, 97, 108, 125, 509, 515, 522, 536, 539.