Monday, October 15, 2012

Royal palaces remain as major tourist attractions in Bangkok

The Thai government, led by the Bureau of Royal Household, is continuously sprucing up the royal palaces and landmarks in this capital city, still the favorite sites that tourists visit when they are in Thailand.

About one million tourists, mostly from China, are expected to visit the magnificent, beautiful and well-preserved sites located in the heart of Bangkok formerly used as abodes of monarchs and members of the royal family.

These sites include the Grand Palace, which remains the city's foremost landmark, Vimanmek Mansion and Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. Next to the Parliament in Dusit area is the world's largest golden teakwood mansion built in 1900 during the reign of King Rama V the Great.

Known as Thailand's first chamber of parliament, used since 1933 until 1974, Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall was made of marble in Italian Renaissance style by Italian architects and artisans in 1915. Displayed outside the hall are indigenous handicraft items produced under patronage of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.

The Vimanmek Mansion had been rarely used since the end of the reign of King Rama V the Great until HM Queen Sirikit had it renovated in 1981.

The completion of the mansion's renovation in the following year was scheduled to coincide with the bicentennial anniversary of Bangkok. The world's largest teakwood mansion has become a tourist attraction since 1985.

According to Paisal Lomthong, head official in charge of the mansion and the hall which are under care of the Bureau of the Royal Household, Vimanmek Mansion and the adjacent Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall drew an estimated 700,000 tourists last year and are expected to attract as many as one million this year.

More than 2,000 tourists visit Vimanmek Mansion and Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall daily. Most are Chinese tourists with an English-speaking tour guide and interpreter. The tourists are guided through different sections of the Vimanmek Mansion.

The sight-seeing tour of the teakwood mansion and surrounding buildings is arranged in orderly fashion.

As they are guided through the various spots inside and the mansion the tourists will get a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of Thailand and the significance of the places in the Thai history.

Exhibited inside the octagonal mansion are invaluable art objects and antique items made of silverware, ceramics, crystal and ivory as well as ancient photographs.

Besides Vimanmek Mansion, several houses, formerly residences of members of the royal family, and a Chinese dragon pavilion, are open to foreign visitors.

These include Princess Buangsoi Sa-anga Residence, Princess Arunvadi Residence, Princess Busban Buaphan Residence, Princess Krom Luang Vorased Thasuda Residence, Princess Oradaya Debkanya Residence, Tamnak Ho Residence, Suan Farang Kang Sai Residence and Abhisek Dusit Hall.

Vimanmek Mansion and adjacent homes, surrounded with green lawns and trees, were occasionally used as temporary residences for distinguished guests of HM Queen Sirikit.

Though Vimanmek Mansion has become a museum open to tourism, it remains under management of the Bureau of the Royal Household.

Inside the compound of the mansion, all visitors are required to follow a dress code and some regulations. Tourists are requested to remove their shoes before entering the mansion or surrounding buildings. They are also advised not to touch any exhibited objects, make loud noise or take pictures inside the mansion and the other buildings.

The priceless artistic collections displayed at the Vimanmek Mansion's have been carefully preserved by the Bureau of the Royal Household for the Thai public and foreign visitors to appreciate.-Sina English (October 15, 2012 08:31:12GMT

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