Dusit Park in Bangkok is known as Suan Amporn but later renamed the Dusit Palace. It's actually a magnificent palace complex consisting of several royal residences and throne halls all within a spacious and beautifully manicured garden setting.
The grounds were developed during the reign of Rama V(King Chulalongkorn) in 1899 shortly after the king returned from a royal tour of Europe. He was the first Thai monarch to have visited the continent at the time and because he was so immensely inspired by what he had seen, he brought back some radical plans to modernise the leafy area of Dusit.
To this day Rama V still commands a loyal following, so much so that a statue of the king on horseback stands proudly on a huge square at the approach to the gardens along the tree-lined boulevard of Ratchadamnoen Avenue.
Not only are offerings presented and placed in front of the statue every week, but the area is the focus of celebrations held on the 23rd October known as Chulalongkorn Day.
Directly behind and north of the square where the statue of Rama V is situated is the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. This magnificent grey marble building of Italian extraction is crowned with a huge dome. Construction began in 1907 by Rama V and later completed in 1915, five years after his death.
The building was originally the king's throne hall thereafter it housed the Thai parliament until I974. Open daily from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. Free with your Grand Palace ticket.
Located immediately behind to the east of Vimanmek Mansion is the handsome and gracious Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall. It was built in 1904 and formally used for the meetings and banquets of many high-ranking dignitaries. The hall sports a fanciful ornamental arrangement around and under the roof's eaves.
The main attraction is the Support Museum inside the hall. It contains a vast collection of exquisitely crafted artefacts produced under Queen Sirikit's charity project.
Other outstanding exhibits on display here include a variety of handbags, baskets and pots woven from the lipao fern that grows wild in southern Thailand and lengths of intricately woven silk from the northeast. Other fine works include jewellery and figurines beautifully inlaid with iridescent colour wings of beetles.
Not far from the north entrance and ticket office to the park and just behind the Royal Ceremonial Photographic Museum you'll find the Royal Carriage Museum.
The museum contains quite an extensive if not unusual, collection of old-worldly regal vehicles. Inside are two long stables lined with antique cars and thirteen ceremonial horse-drawn carriages. Her Majesty Queen Sirikit officially opened the doors to the museum on her 60th birthday in 1991. The idea surrounding the museum came about to preserve Thai heritage for future generations.
Past history will tell you that horse-drawn carriages were the popular choice of transportation for many people. Royalty, however, took it to a much higher level as can be seen in some of the carriages found here. They were mostly used on official ceremonial occasions and when king's return from oversea jaunts.
The dazzling display of carriages presents many exquisitely restored examples of the type of models once used by King Chulalongkorn during his reign and a few kings thereafter. One is a glass state stage coach commissioned by Stuart and Company of Calcutta and another fine example from Alfred Alder of London.
The best way to get to there is to take the BTS Skytrain to Victory Monument station and then a taxi down Ratchawithi Road. The cost of a taxi ride from the station is about 50 THB and the journey will take approximately 10 minutes. The actual address is 71 Rama V Road, Chitrlada sub-district, Dusit District, Bangkok.
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