Today I took a short but truly wonderful trip with Shanghai Tang to Petchaburi, a province around two hours south of BKK.
Our first stop was the Phra Nakon Khiri National Museum (constructed in 1859), a palace complex sitting on top of a hill with breath-taking views of Petchaburi.
We started with a very brief cable car ride to the top of the hill. We then explored the compound, which is a mix of a palace, a stupa, and a smallish temple all scattered on three main peaks of the hill top. The style of the structures is an elegant mix of Chinese, European, and Thai influences and the buildings seem to rise from a teeming canopy.
We also dropped by the imposing Phra Ram Ratchaniwet (constructed in 1910-1916), a resort house of King Rama VI. A German architect was commissioned to design the palace. The vast interior has dazzling touches of Jugendstil or Art Nouveau, with glazed tiles on the floor and the walls.
Obviously, the style is very European, but was adapted to tropical climate through numerous wide windows and grills on the walls to enhance air circulation. The steep roof was maintained though, which to me was just an awful waste of space. LOL. But then, palaces are mostly whimsical anyway.