Take time off to visit this hidden gem. Suan Somdet Ya or Princess Mother Memorial Park is a beautifully landscaped space dedicated to the memory of Srinagarindra the mother of the present king of Thailand, revered as the Princess Mother by Thais, that was opened to the public in 1997. Located in Khlong San district, close to the Chao Phraya River it is a green, tranquil space amidst the noise and hectic pace of Bangkok. Mature tropical foliage arching overhead, beautifully planted open spaces, crumbling masonry incorporated into the landscape design creating interesting features, fountains taking the edge off the mid day heat, shaded lawns and neatly laid out walkways complete a visually beautiful picture. A banyan tree with roots running all over provides an interesting touch. In a green arbour shaded by a gazebo is an informal sculpture of the Princess Mother, a poignant memorial.

A point of interest in this green landscape is the full scale model of the Princess Mother’s childhood home complete with furniture, kitchen utensils and even a covered well in the garden with a bucket atop, ready for use. Two exhibition halls display portraits, signed photos, personal items and other memorabilia of the Princess Mother and of the Thai royal family including some very special portraits of the Princess Mother with the king, information on the nearby Wat Anongkharam where the Princess Mother attended school as a girl and on Thonburi, her childhood home. A series of photographs and texts take visitors through the life of the Princess Mother; from her simple childhood to her transformation into a princess right up to her elaborate cremation ceremony. A souvenir shop sells items from charitable foundations and welfare organizations which were the special projects of the Princess Mother. The small gallery on the premises holds rotating exhibitions of photography by Thai artists.

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