A visit to the worlds largest wooden mansion should be on everybody’s list while in Bangkok, but it appears to be a farang free zone
A spectacular example of Thia craftsmanship, not too far out of the main tourist areas, and, most peculiarly, completely off the farang radar.
When we were looking up the Google map address on how to get to Vimanmek Mansion the only review that popped up said ” too many Chinese” , now, we both thought, that’s a little odd, perhaps a bit racist even, however, (and here it comes), there is too many Chinese, or rather, not too many Chinese, more too many nobody else, hello everybody!!, here’s something pretty spectacular, where are you all?.
The car park is full of tour buses, disgorging nothing but mainland Chinese tourists, hundreds of people an hour, and I can understand it, Vimanmek is, quite frankly, beautiful.
I’d love to be able to show some shots of the inside of the mansion, unfortunately the guards where too vigilant and made sure everybody left their belongings in lockers before going into the mansion.
I was tempted to try and smuggle my camera in, lucky I didn’t try, metal detectors and a body pat down at the door would have fixed me right up.
It seems that King Rama V had the mansion built around 1900, in what was a private orchard and gardens for the royal family. The King moved from the Grand Palace to live in Vimanmek Mansion for 5 years while he finished work on yet another mansion, after moving into the new mansion he promptly died, leaving Vimanmek deserted.
It was used as a storage facility for the royal household until the Bangkok Bicentennial in 1982 when it restored.
It’s an amazingly beautiful building, two 60 meter long wings, 3 stories high, all made of golden teak-wood, with a great sympathy of scale, the rooms are all quite large with high ceilings but don’t feel large.
All the rooms are decorated as they would have been in the early 1900′s, with the Royal families personal belongings and very opulent.
So if you find yourself in Bangkok and you’ve done all the other great palaces, give Vimanmek a go, you wont be disappointed.
And as an added bonus, the little lady doing Thai dishes in the food area is great.