Lopburi Palace boasts one of the better museums in Thailand, and has beautiful grounds to walk around in. Its the perfect escape for an afternoon after exploring the other sights of Lopburi in the morning.
Nearby Attractions: I suggest you head here for the afternoon after spending the morning at the Monkey Temple
Getting There: a 10 minute walk north of the train station, easy to find just keep an eye out for the impressive gates
Costs: entrance fee is ฿150 which includes the on site museum which is pretty fascinating.
Additional Information: the palace was free when I was there, so my opinion is slightly biased as if I had paid the entrance fee it may have been different. However the museum is one of the best in Thailand which in my opinion would make it worth it to visit.
Sitting on the North side of Lopburi is the 17th Century palace of Phra Narai Ratchaniwet, constructed by European architects by decree of King Narai. This impressive palace complex briefly turned Lopburi into the Kingdom’s second capital, the first at the time being Ayutthaya.
Lopburi palace is an easy walk from the train station and the main entrance is an impressive set of gates. You may wonder why they needed gates that big; it was for King Narai to ride his elephants into his palace. Every King needs to be able to ride his Elephants through his palace gates, right?
The gates lead through to the immaculately manicured grounds, the ruins of the palace and the impressive Phra Narai National Museum. Much of the site was restored by King Mongkut in the 1850’s as a personal retreat but most of the ruins that you’ll see still stand as they were from the days of King Narai. There are 12 large ruins, which used to be storage for the King’s many possessions, these lead up to the impressive throne hall ruins. This is where the King would receive foreign dignitaries, seated on his throne overlooking the reception hall.
The museum is next to the throne hall and the building itself used to be the residence of King Mongkut and is an impressive structure with intricate teakwood flooring throughout. The museum itself is actually one of the best I’ve seen in Thailand, housing dozens of Buddha statues that date back as far as the 6th century. What sets this apart is that the museum is well signposted, all of the artifacts are explained thoroughly and well laid out information boards with significant dates take you through the cultural history of Thailand.
There are a few slightly weird exhibitions like the statue of Napoleon that can be found on the top floor of the museum. The explanation is that King Mongkut and Napoleon signed a treaty in 1856 to facilitate trade between Thailand and France.
You can spend a couple of hours exploring the grounds of the museum and what you’ll take away is the historical significance of Lopburi and the important heritage of this site to the Thai people.