Now the central building of the National Museum, the Front Palace used to be an enormous complex stretching from the Chao Phraya River across Sanam Luang to Lot Canal. It was built in the 18th-century, along with the Grand Palace. The Front Palace housed the heir to the throne, who was appointed by the King; usually a son or brother of the reigning monarch who bare the title 'Second King' or 'Vice-King'. The title of Second King started in the Ayutthaya Period, but gained a significant amount of power during the Rattanakosin Period when the Second King even got its own private army and navy. This large amount of power often led to conflicts between the King and the Second King. The last to bare the title of Second King was Prince Vichaichan. In 1884, he got into a power struggle with King Rama V in an event known as the Front Palace crisis. King Rama V tried to modernise Siam in a rapid pace, and conservative forces and the nobility, including Prince Vichaichan, saw their power and influence being slowly eroded. When Prince Vichaichan got a letter threatening his life, he mobilised up to 600 of his private troops around his palace. The King also mobilised his troops, but this only underlined that the Second King's guards were more numerous and better equipped. After an explosion, a mysterious fire broke out in the Grand Palace, threatening Wat Phra Kaew, and the Second King's troops got on their way to the Grand Palace to try and extinguish it; however this was blocked by the King's Royal Guards who feared that the fire was orchestrated by the Second King to take over the country. Afterwards King Rama V criticised the Second King for not moving all his troops to the Grand Palace, as an ancient custom dictated that the Second King's troops must actively protect the King and the Grand Palace in an emergency. King Rama V ordered his troops to surround the Front Palace, and Prince Vichaichan fleed to the British embassy. After mediation, the powerful Western countries supported King Rama V, who abolished the title and introduced the Western-style 'Crown Prince of Siam' for the heir apparent. Prince Vichaichan died one year later. The palace was turned into the National Museum's main building housing Thai art objects. Some walled remains of the old Front Palace complex can be found inside the Thammasat University complex.
Na Phra That Rd
Nearest Transit: MRT Hua Lamphong Station (Lines: Blue)
+66 2 215-8173
Front Palace and Nearby Attractions on Map
Grand Palace(1.1 km)
A must-see attraction in Bangkok, the Grand Palace complex has the royal residence and the venerated Temple of the Emerald Buddha, apart from throne halls and government offices.
Wat Pho(1.4 km)
Wat Pho, popularly known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn in Thai), is the largest temple of Bangkok, and probably the oldest too, predating the founding of the capital by almost 200 years.
Wat Arun(2.1 km)
Wat Arun, often called the Temple of Dawn, is located on the other side of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi, you can find more information in that district article.
Wat Intharawihan(1 km)
This temple is known for the so-called Standing Buddha or Big Buddha (Luang Pho To), a 32-metre-tall golden Buddha image.
Dusit Palace(2.5 km)
The Dusit Palace is a large complex of 13 royal residences and few other buildings built by King Rama V on Rattanakosin Island in the early 20th century.
Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall(0.8 km)
The Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall explores the history of Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok's royal city where the Grand Palace, Wat Po and National Museum are located.
Wat Ratchabophit(1.1 km)
Built by King Rama V in 1869, it was created to keep up with the tradition that each newly-appointed monarch erected a temple to mark his reign.
Memorial Bridge(2.2 km)
No tours found for Front Palace !