Monday, May 26, 2008

Vimanek Mansion

Vimanek Mansion is said to be the largest teakwood mansion in the world. This impressive structure is made entirely of wood (they used wooden pegs instead of nails) and was built by King Rama V. It took 19 months to build, while a scale model of the mansion which can be found inside took 18 months to finish! The architecture itself is a marvel but inside, you will also see the king's bedroom, the very first bathroom in Thailand, his porcelain collection, gifts that were presented to the royal family, and other interesting knick knacks.

Entrance fee is included in the ticket price of the Grand Palace so if you have a couple of days to spare in BKK, I suggest that you visit Vimanek Mansion. They have well-informed english guides available. The tour is thorough (each room and its contents will be explained to you) and very organized. They have a couple of restrictions, though. Shoes are not allowed inside the mansion so if you're not comfortable walking around barefoot (like me and my mom), better wear socks. Cameras, cellphones and bags are also not allowed, but they have lockers for rent (Thb20). It's weird that you have to pay for the locker when they don't allow bags inside.

Since cameras were not allowed inside the mansion, we took photos outside instead.

Mom and Yan liked the elephant-shaped plant.

The entrance to the mansion.

There's the mansion at the back.

This gate leads to the back of the mansion.

The brown house in the background is where the king used to entertain his commoner friends. The tour guide told us that during his reign, King Rama V would go around the country wearing a disguise so he can observe them without being noticed. It was said that this house is where he spent some of the best times of his life.

Vimanek Mansion is actually inside a compound that contains many buildings. One of which is a building that houses all the royal carriages.

At the back is Suan Hong Residential Hall which contains the collection of pictures of royal rites and ceremonies.

We had lunch at the small restaurant inside the compound. This is also mom and dad's first taste of real Thai cusine.

Dad had the omelette with rice.

Mom had the shrimp with thai basil and rice.

Alyannah had the stir-fried chicken with garlic and rice.
I had the tom yum kung.
From Vimanek Mansion, we took a short drive to the Temple of the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit). This buddha is made of solid gold and weighs more than 5 tons. One interesting fact about this buddha is that it used to be covered with white plaster. The crane that was being used to move it accidentally dropped the image so the plaster came off, revealing the golden buddha inside. Galing no?
The temple's facade.
The golden buddha.
After all that walking and staying under the sun for too long, we proceeded to Central World Mall to chill.
Ice cream break at Dairy Queen.
We stumbled on a crazy toy sale at Central World where they were giving discounts from 70-95%. Alyannah bought a Barbie doll for only THB150, a Barbie bath set (bath tub, bath robe, dresser, etc) at THB300, and a Kelly toothfairy doll set for only THB160. That's three toys for the price of one Barbie doll at regular price!
Since we got here, I've been looking forward to mom and dad's visit because I want to share my new discoveries with them -- the sights, the food, the smells (haha!), shopping, etc. But no one seems to be happier than my little girl Alyannah because her lolo and lola are here and they spoil her to the max. Mommy and daddy are powerless because we are overruled by lolo and lola! Haha!

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