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Published: March 29th 2018
Woolly says – A trip along the coast sounded a great way to spend a day and having acquired the services of a driver, I sat back in the delights of the air conditioned car and watched the scenery speed past. Luxury hotels to the right and shops with a few trees to the left, not exciting but always interesting to see how different countries are. Pulling across the highway and onto a small road I spotted the signs for our destination. Mrigadayavan Palace was once a seaside palace of His Majesty King Vajiravudh or King Rama VI who ruled Siam from 1910 to 1925. Built in 1923 the King only visited the holiday villa twice which seemed a bit sad to me. As we pulled up at the ticket counter I hopped onto the baking tarmac and headed towards the entrance. Large hedges stopped anyone from being able to see the sixteen teak buildings raised on their concrete pillars, it certainly made it very private. We arrived at a sign with one arrow pointing to the left, labelled King’s Statue and one to the right saying King’s Palace, Jo took off to the left leaving me to follow behind.
I thought it made more sense to see the small parts first and leave the best to last. Woolly says – The statue was a beautifully carved bronze stood on a small mound which had been surrounded by two sizes of pots all of which held small trees. It looked just right and fitting for a ruler, he even had a view out to sea. Having admired the beachfront for a short while I was eager to see the building itself and having rounded another high hedge I have to admit it looked wonderful. Sea blue panels with cream coloured surrounded and columns to support it, there looked as though there were thousands of pillars, certainly more than I wanted to count. The first part to investigate was the Throne Room, which was connected to the palace with an open sided walkway, sadly we couldn’t take a picture, but it was a delight, using the same colour theme throughout it had a wonderful ceiling and large balcony which would have provided his Royal highness with a view over the proceedings. A great start I thought as I ambled along a walkway following the
We came to the first set of stairs which was blocked, we knew that the palace was under reconstruction and that some areas weren’t open to the public but once we had been blocked from getting to the Kings bathing house and another stair case it dawned in us that we were only going to see the underside of the buildings and not the glory of what they held. Woolly says – I was more than disappointed and had even considered just wandering past the barriers and seeing if I could get a peek upstairs, Jo had quickly put paid to that idea with a firm, ‘NO’, she seems to read my mind these days! We walked around the ground floor getting tiny glances of the delights of the rooms above our heads with a light fitting, a bedstead or the tip of a wardrobe, it seemed crazy that so much work had been done, restoration work started in 1930 and is still going on, surely if they allowed entrance to the completed rooms and charged more for tickets they could speed the process up! Growing weary of the endless
columns I was delighted to find that we could walk down the veranda to the female and the Queens bathing hut and I galloped towards the sea to see a bit more…… I could see more, more of the building that is as although we could get within three feet again we couldn’t go inside.
Our frustration levels were rising, such a shame after all the hard work the trust that now runs the palace has put in, going by the before photographs on display under one of the stilted rooms. Having admired a huge tree that was pinned with white and gold card we headed towards the exit. Woolly says – A small stable like block had open doors and, in my need, to see something of the interiors I raced up the steps and slid from one end of the wooden floor to the other. Small rooms presented themselves with the signage telling us that these had been the accommodation for the servants of the Royal family and was where the clothes had been pressed and perfume made. Looking in I didn’t envy them at all as all they had
were reed mats on the floor to sleep on with what looked like a brick for a pillow, hopefully they were paid well! My attention turned to the gardens which were also under reconstruction but the areas that had been completed looked colourful and worth a closer look at, if we had been allowed to. I was hot, tired and frustrated as we made our way back to the vehicle, the tiny bits that had glimpsed looked so good and yet I had been denied the opportunity to enjoy them.
We were all disappointed and as we set off back towards the town I wondered what we could do to cheer ourselves up. Woolly says – Our drop off point provided the answer with cold drinks, Indian snacks and lots of people to watch from the shade, not quite the day we had expected but at least my tummy was filling up nicely.
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