on May 27, 2002
The Teak House is a nice place to visit after moving through the crowds of Khao San Road. A few minutes after getting on the bus at Democracy Monument you will see the sky and lawns open up and take over on every side. That's the lawn for the National Assembly and the world's largest building made of golden teak: the Vimanek Teak House. Winding right along you'll soon get off on a tree-lined lane and head through the fences to this house that was first built as a royal residence on Ko Si Chang, then moved here in 1910, by what method I do not know. Once on the grounds you will leave modern Bangkok behind.King Rama V lived here at the turn of the century and in the 81 rooms you will see many of the antiques and works of art that were there during the period of his residence. The Teak House is colonial in style, though Thailand was never colonized- only influenced by European styles. Its name- Vimanek- means, 'Palace of the Clouds.'When I arrived I felt a little arrogance on the part of the staff, especially when a young woman approached to inform that I needed to rent slippers and a sarong. In the gift shop I paid about a $1 for the new outfit and bought a shiny embroidered cap, too. Upon returning a Thai dance was announced and I headed around the corner to see that before taking the tour. The dancers were fun before the show, giggling for pictures and talking on cell phones. The dance was good, the traditional costumes intriguing, including one that resembled the Intel spaceman suit.Soon we were walking carefully through rooms that the Hearst Mansion puts to shame. That's not an insult, just a little perspective. What I liked best was the feel of Old Thailand. The statues and images of King Rama V carried me back. Some of the the artifacts were Burmese and I kept thinking Thailand had been colonized by the British when I was in this mansion. Not so. The greens of the rugs and walls distinguishes it from other famous residences, and while the guide had her nose in the air, her respect for the subject and knowledge made the tour worthwhile.The exterior is classic and may make you want to design your own home in this style. Instead, just enjoy the pictures; it's probably too expensive to decorate even a room with this fine teak and craftsmanship.Outside friendly soldiers will pose if you want to take a picture.
Free guided tours in English are available every half hour beginning at 9:30 am everyday. If you go at 2 pm, while you wait for the next tour you can watch the Thai dance in the foyer.
Open Daily 9:30 am-4 pm.
Entrance Fee: 50 baht
Uthong Nai Road
The Teak House is not served by the Skytrain.
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