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Royal museum a towering draw

Khao Wang or the Phra Nakhon Khiri royal palace atop a mountain in Phetchaburi province makes for a scenic stroll along its frangipani garden and stone paths. Built during the Ayutthaya period, it was the summer palace of King Rama IV which has now been turned into a museum.

The mountaintop palace is a complex of three buildings built on three adjoining hills connected by neatly laid brick paths.

Built in European style with distinct Thai and Chinese architecture, the palace has Wat Phra Kaew temple to the east, the main stupa or Phra That Chom Phet in the centre and the residential grand palace to the west.

The palace is now called Phra Nakhon Khiri National Museum. The stone paths that are lined with fragrant frangipani. There are a several picture perfect spots along the way. Apart from flowers and picturesque settings, visitors may come across monkeys that colonise the hills. They survive on what visitors feed them and when in foul mood they don't hesitate to snatch food from their hands.

Apart from the royal memorabilia on display, there is the Chatchawan Wiangchao Observatory from where King Rama IV, an accomplished astronomer, watched the stars. Visitors can climb up the observatory but only during the day.

Another point of interest is the Phra Thinang Santhakarn Sathan, a balcony from where the king watched cultural and theatrical performances staged in an open field to the east.

The museum is open daily from 9am-4pm, but visitors can stay up until 6pm.

For more details, call 032-401-006, 032-425-600. Bangkok Post

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