The Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is situated 60 kilometers from Bangkok and just a few kilometers from Ayutthaya. Originally built in the 17th century by King Prasat Thong of Ayutthaya, it was later destroyed by the Burmese and left abandoned for almost a century.
During the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV) in the 1850s, part of the palace was restored, but most of the site seen today is down to his predecessor, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who restored and expanded the entire grounds. Today the palace is still used by the Thai royal family as a summer residence.
The iconic buildings scattered across the complex each feature their own unique architectural style. For example, the Wehat Chamroon Palace was built using traditional Chinese materials and designs, while the Aisawan Tippaya Asna Pavilion, set in the middle of a lake, is typically Thai. Other buildings are clearly European in architectural style.
If not on a day tour, visitors can reach Bang Pa-In by train from Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok, or by catching one of the regular buses that departs from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit). The Bang Pa-In Palace is open from 8:30am until 5pm, although the ticket office closes at 3:30pm. The entrance fee is currently 100 Baht.