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Lying to the north of old royal Bangkok, the spacious, tree-lined avenues of the Dusit area present a striking contrast, and give the area an almost European feel. It was first groomed as the citys new royal quarter at the turn of the 20th century by King Rama V, a monarch renowned for his progressive policies and interest in the West. Although the present royal residence, Chitralada Palace, is located in Dusit, its extensive grounds effectively hide it from public gaze.

Vimanmek Palace

Billed as the worlds largest mansion built of golden teak, Vimanmek Palace is located behind Bangkoks National Assembly at the end of Rachadamnoen Nok Avenue. Originally a hjome of King Rama V, this splendid three-storey, 81-room mansion is an architectural gem. Inside is a collection of furniture, ceramics and other artefacts from the Fifth Reign.

Open daily 09:30 - 16:00.

Dusit Zoo

Next to the National Assembly near Vimanmek Palace, Dusit Zoo provides one of Bangkoks few quiet, green areas, although the collection of animals is unremarkable. Also in the grounds is a lake where pedaloes and rowing boats can be hired.

Photos of Dusit Zoo

Open daily 08:00 - 18:00

Wat Benchamabophit, The Marble Temple

This is the supreme example of Thai religious architecture in the modern period. Located on Sri Ayutthaya Road, the temple is famous for its royal bot, completed in 1900 on the orders of King Rama V. Faced with white Carrara marble, the building displays surprising unity and symmetry.

The imposing Buddha image inside the bot is a copy of the famous Jinaraja (Chianraj) statue of Phitsanulok. In the courtyard behind the temple is a collection of more than 50 Buddha images, some originals, some copies, illustrating sculpture styles from variouse periods and diverse locales.

Open daily 07:00 - 17:00.