The Khao Wang on a hill above the historic city of Petchaburi in Thailand once served as a summer residence for King Rama IV and today functions as a museum and a fantastic vantage point over Petchaburi.
The Khao Wang Palace in the historic city of Petchaburi in southern Thailand is one of the city's most famous landmarks and the first rattanakosin palace to be built outside Bangkok. It is perched on a hill overlooking Petchaburi and offers a fantastic panoramic view of the provincial capital.
Khao Wang means something like "palace hill". Originally, the palace was called Phra Nakhon Khiri, but the simpler name has prevailed among the population until today. The majestic building lives up to its name. From its nearly 100m high hill, its bright white façade beams at you from afar.
Khao Wang was built in 1860. The Thai King Rama IV was so taken with the fantastic location that he claimed the three-hill Khao Wang as his summer residence.
Tip: The best view is from Ho Chatchawan Wiang Chai. The crimson tower at the other end of the palace complex opposite the Chedi was used as an observatory by Rama IV and today serves fishermen as a lookout over Ban Laem Bay.
The entire palace complex on its airy seat consists of several royal halls and palace buildings, as well as temple buildings, which display an interesting mix of Thai, Chinese and Western-influenced architecture.
The palace's eye-catcher, a 40-metre-high chedi, the typical pointed towers of Southeast Asian architecture, is enthroned on the central hill. Inside the chedi is a Buddhist shrine. On the eastern hill is Wat Phra Kaew, modelled on the Emerald Buddha Chapel in the Royal Palace in Bangkok.
Visit to the Khao Wang
Some parts of the Khao Wang can also be visited from the inside, and some rooms now house a museum. In the largest main building on the western hill, the Phra Thi Nang Phet Phum Phairot, which once functioned as the throne hall, furniture, mirrors, kitchen utensils and personal belongings of Kings Rama IV and Rama V are on display.
The Phra Thi Nang Pramot Mahaisawan housed the private chambers and bedrooms of the two kings. In the Phra Thi Nang Wetchayan Wichian Prasat, which was built in Khmer style, a statue of Rama IV can be seen.
Today, the two buildings are combined under the name "Phra Nakhon Khiri National Museum", in which valuable collections of antiques, bronze sculptures and ceramics from China, Japan and also Europe are displayed alongside the royal belongings.
There is also a museum at the foot of the hill. In the temple "Maha Samanaram", works by the renowned Thai artist Khrua In Khong can be admired, who uses Western-influenced perspectives and bird's-eye views in his paintings.