We visited this impressive teak mansion and its surrounding complex several times over the years, but it's been a while and we thought we'd pop over again, combining the day out with a trip to the Dusit Zoo next door (see separate review).
Entry is 100 THB for foreigners (approx $3.50), with another 150 THB if you want to visit the larger, more impressive Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall on the palace grounds, which houses Thai art masterpieces.
There have always been strict regulations about appropriate clothing (no bare shoulders for women or men, no shorts, leaving shoes at doors, no photography indoors). On this occasion, though, things had been taken to extreme. We were not only not allowed to take in bags: we were also forced to lock up phone, camera, etc in lockers which cost another 20 THB. Visitors are then patted down by door attendants AND pass through an electronic scanner before entering the building.
That's all fine, but what is new is that staff yell at you to stop if they see you taking photos of the buildings EXTERNALLY. There are no signs saying it is not allowed, but the message is clear.
I remember both the teak mansion building and its contents being very impressive in the past, but to be honest the crush of people made it impossible to see a single thing, and all our efforts were focused on finding a way out of the one-way passages and back out of the building. There were literally back-to-back crowds of mostly Chinese tourists occupying what seemed to be every available millimeter of space, with their tour guides loudly describing what no one could see anyway.
There are several other smaller buildings dotted around the complex to which you are granted admission with your teak mansion ticket. Two of these house photographs by and of the King, including one filled with photos mostly of his family. They are both beautiful and touching, as it is clear there is a great deal of love in the family.
Your ticket will also allow entry to the small Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall which has some lovely Thai handicrafts and trinkets on display.
Because of the sheer numbers, the staff are unusually brusque and abrupt and queues for absolutely everything including toilets and refreshments long.
I don't know if there is a day of the week or time of day which you can attend when the car park and roads approaching the complex are NOT full of massive tour buses, but if you can time your visit for then, go. Otherwise, it's an expensive, hot and frustrating couple of hours out.
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