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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Chiangmai - Bhubing Palace [Royal Winter Palace]

Located at Doi Buak Ha, Tambon Suthep,Muang District, Chiangmai Province
4 km uphill after Wat Phrathat, Doi Suthep
How To Get There – by tour group, cycling, motorbike, red song thaew
Dress code strictly applied. Dress modestly or pay 15 baht for fisherman's pants to cover your lack of it. This includes any leg above the ankle for either gender.
Entrance fee is 50 baht for adults and 10 bahts for children. 

This royal winter palace has lavishly landscaped gardens and is open to the public daily from 8:30-11:30 am and 1:00-3:00 pm when the Thai royal family is not in residence.  It's a place you can visit if you are up at Doi Suthep.
Take note that the area is prone to rain especially during the rainy season. Bring along an umbrella or a raincoat if you wish to cover the whole palace ground in the rain.  Get a map from the information centre to guide you round the palace grounds.
The grounds have a main modest palace, royal log cabins for family, guesthouses and a large rose garden.  There are many places of interest to see especially for nature and flower lovers with numerous species of flowers and big roses and giant bamboos.
Bhubing Palace - It is the royal winter residence in Chiangmai where the Royal family stays during seasonal visits to the people in northern part of the country.  The palace is also the royal guesthouse for prominent State visitors from abroad.
In the past, Their Majesties welcomed or granted royal audience to State visitors only in the capital of Bangkok.  Bhubing Palace was built in 1961.  The construction started initially with only the royal resident building and the guesthouse. The other buildings were additionally built on the later dates. 

This palace is worth visiting as there are the extensive gardens are picturesque with some amazing plant life including carefully curated tropical flowers as well as centuries-old trees and giant bamboo. The water reservoir, plant exhibition greenhouse, Suan Suwaree [rose garden] and many others are places worth venturing.  The cool weather is especially refreshing.  You may need 2-3 hours to complete seeing every part of it provided the weather is goodSpecially loved the flowers and ferns at the Plant Exhibition Centre.  One of them is the Bromeliad which has little flowers blooming in the centre.  There are various species of orchids, rose flowers, bell flowers and ferns.

Couldn't take much photos especially on the awesome  fountain reservoir as it was drizzling and very misty.  This reservoir was dedicated to the Queen of Thailand in 2004 on her 72th birthday.

A sign at the bottom of the hill near the zoo indicates when it's closed. It is close to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, so travel directions are similar. 
After visiting Bhubing Palace, nearby is the car park and there are numerous food outlets, cafes and shops for you to enjoy some local ala carte food and hot beverages.
Since it was about lunch time, we have lunch at one of the food outlet.  Surprisingly, the food and service is good.  The prices of food is reasonably taking into consideration is in a highland area.  
We had Khao Pad [Thai Fried Rice], Rad Na [Thai Stir Fried Flat Rice Noodles in gravy], a cup of coffee and cocoa.  The portion was quite big and the food comes steaming hot.  This meal only costs 155 Bahts.  The price of noodles and rice ranges from 40 - 60 Bahts and for hot drinks it's about 15 - 20 Bahts.  Very reasonable price.  Notes - Advisable to have lunch here before you go downhill to visit Wat Phrathat cos' is a place you need to walk around and hike up a little if you are not taking the two-way cable tram.

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