Nakhon Khiri Historical Park (Khao Wang)
Wang, originally called 'Khao Maha Samana' of 'Khao Khiri',
is located on top of a prominent hill in Phetchaburi town.
Khao Wang is the first Rattanakosin palace built outside of
Bangkok. King Rama IV (King Mongkut) was so fond of the location
that he used the palace as a residence during his trips to
the area. The construction was completed in 1860, and named
by royal command, Phra Nakhon Khiri, but the people of Phetchaburi
still call it Khao Wang (Palace Hill) to this day.
the foot of Khao Wang is a hillside temple called 'maha samanaram'.
Within the rite hall are mural paintings by Khrua In Khong,
a renowned Thai painter who uses Western-style perspective
and bird's-eye views in his work.
Wang comprises royal halls, palaces, temples, and groups of
buildings spread out over three hilltops. The middle one is
the site for the 40-meter white chedi, 'Phra That Jom Phet',
which houses a relic of the Buddha. The western hill has the
various buildings of the palace complex, while the eastern
one is the site of Wat Phra Kaew. Architecturally, the palace
is a harmonious blend of Thai, Western neoclassical and Chinese
styles. The hilltop palace enjoys panoramic views over the
surrounding province and the provincial capital.
buildings in the western palace complex include:
Phra Thi Nang Phet Phum Phairot: This is the largest
building, formerly used as a throne hall, which houses various
personal effects and utensils of the Rama IV and Rama V royal
households, such as beds, mirrors, kitchenware, western-style
Thi Nang Pramot Mahaisawan: the royal bedchamber of King
Rama IV and King Rama V.
both palaces have been converted into the Phra Nakhon Khiri
National Museum, with priceless collections of antiques, bronze
and brass sculptures used for decorative purposes, and ceramics
from China, Japan and Europe. The museum is open daily from
8.30 am to 4.30 pm with an admission fee of 20 baht (adults).
Admission is free for children (not taller than 90 cm).
buildings in the Khao Wang complex include:
Phra Thi Nang Wetchayan Wichian Prasat: built in the
Khmer style with a 'prang' housing a sculpture of King Rama
Phra Thi Nang Ratcha Tham Sapha: an unusual building
incorporating mixed Thai, Chinese and Western styles.
Ho Chatchawan Wiang Chai: used by King Rama IV as an
astronomical observatory. Nowadays, fishermen use it to observe
'Ban Laem' Bay. The best views of Phetchaburi and the surrounding
farmland are from this tower.
buildings comprise 'Ho Phiman Phet Mahesuan', 'Tamnak Santhakhan
Sathan', 'Ho Chatuwet Parit Phot' and 'Sala Thatsana Nakkhataroek',
as well as a number of other structures typical of palaces
such as garage, stable, 'sala mahat lek' (royal page hall),
'sala lukkhun' (official hall), 'sala dan' (post), 'sala yenchai'
(hall for relaxation), 'thim dap' (bodyguards' quarters),
and kitchen. Four forts stand at the four corners of the complex,
each named in rhyme starting with 'thatarot pongpok' in the
east. 'wirunhok borirak' in the south, 'wirupak pongkan' in
the west, and 'wetsuwan raksa' in the north.
eastern hilltop is the location of Wat Phra Kaew, which is
styled along the same lines as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
in Bangkok. The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya period.
Its most outstanding feature is the red Chedi Dang pagoda,
which is visible for miles around. Phra Sutasen Chedi, the
gray-green marble pagoda behind Chedi Dang, was originally
sculpted at Si Chang Island and reconstructed at its present
site. The Phra Ubosot, or Buddhist chapel, features cement
modeling or 'poon pun', a notable art form in Phetchaburi.
The emblem of King Rama IV can be seen on the building's gable.
get to Khao Wang from Bangkok, drive along Phetkasem Road
(the old route), then turn left at the intersection to downtown.
About 1 km before Phetchaburi's city pillar shrine, the stair
access to the palace is on the right hand side. The walk up
takes less than an hour.
car offers another faster route to the top. The station is
located to the west of Khao Wang. The daily service, including
admission to the museum, costs 15 baht (adult) and 8 baht
(children), for one-way or 30 baht (adult) and 10 baht (children)
for the round trip.
holidays, the State Railway of Thailand offers a one-day tour
to Cha-am. The train departs Bangkok at 6.30 am to visit Phetchaburi,
Kao Wang Historical Park, Cha-am Beach and Marukataiyawan
Palace. The fee, including a meal, is 480 baht (adult) and
440 baht (child). For more details, contact the promotion
counter at Hua Lampong Railway Station from 4.00 am to 11.00
pm or Tel +66 2 220-4334 ext 5217 and +66 2 225-6964.
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