Another nice day trip, is to visit the Summer Palace. We set off at 8:00am on Sunday morning, for a gentle trip up the Chao Phraya river. Cold water is provided on board, and the views are tremendous! It is only on journeys like this that you appreciate just how many temples there are in Thailand, for as one is passed, the next approaches!
The journey is broken on the way up river by a stop at a Handicraft centre where all the traditional crafts of the Northern tribespeople are kept alive. Although mainly for tourists, the centre also houses a craft school, exhibitions and demostrations are available in wood-carving, silks, basket weaving and pottery, as well as a large shop for souveneirs and purchases!
Wat Chumphon Nikayaram
The royal palace at Bang Pa-In has a history dating back to the 17th Century. According to a chronical of Ayutthaya, King Prasat Thong (1629-1656) had a palace constructed on Bang Pa-In island in the Chao Phraya river. A contemporary Dutch merchant, Jeremias van Vliet, reported that King Prasat Thong was an illegitimate son of King Ekathotsarot (1605 – 1610), who is his youth was shipwrecked on the island and had a son by a woman who befriended him. The boy grew up to be Chief Minister and having usurped the throne became known as King Prasat Thong.
The King founded a monastery, Wat Chumphon Nikayaram on the land belonging to his mother on Bang Pa-In island, and then had a pond dug and a palace built to the South of that monastery. These pictures were taken walking around the grounds of the monastery.
Bang Pa-In Summer Palace
The present day royal palace dates from the reign of King Chulalongkorn (1868 – 1910), when most of the buildings standing today were constructed between 1872 and 1889. The palace is used occasionally by King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit as a residence, and for holding receptions and banquets.
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