Mrigadayavan Palace, Phet Kasem Rd, Cha-am, Cha-am District, Phetchaburi, Thailand
This stunning summer palace, constructed primarily from teak, was built in 1924 and was a functioning residence for the Thai king Rama IV, who was also known as king Vajiravudh. It is located in a beautiful garden setting on the sea front, and was deliberately constructed with the idea to maximise the circulation of sea air, which was believed to offer relief to the king from his rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, access to the interior is currently forbidden due to extensive renovation work, however, the palace and it’s beautiful natural surroundings are still well worth seeking out for travellers visiting the Hua Hin area.
What to See and Expect
The mansion itself is built in an old colonial style, atop a stilted base, and features shuttered windows and doors, all constructed from teak which is a tropical hardwood native to Thailand. There are actually sixteen separate buildings, all raised above the ground, and they are interconnected by elaborate covered wooden walkways. The gardens are meticulously maintained, and include flower arrangements, ancient trees, fountains and stunning views out across the sea.
How to Get There
The palace is located in the ground of Camp Rama IV which is a Thai military base located in Cha-am, about 20km north of Hua Hin. By taxi or tuk-tuk, it takes about half an hour, or a much cheaper option is the regular Hua Hin to Cha-am public bus which actually stops outside the gates to the palace. The bus drivers and conductors speak little or no English, so if you have the name of the palace written down in Thai or saved on your mobile phone, you can just show that and you will be unlikely to have any problems.
Opening Times and Admission Fee
The palace and grounds are opening daily from 08:30am to 4:30pm, and entry costs 30 Baht ($1) per person. The dress code is conservative, knees and shoulders must be covered, so no tank tops or shorts, but they have sarongs which you can hire for 20 Baht ($0.65) if that’s more convenient for you.