The little known Phra Nakhon Kiri National Museum

Phra Nakhon Kiri National Museum as seen from afar.

If you are visiting the beachside town of Hua Hin in Thailand, there are plenty of attractions worthy of your time. However, one hour away is the Phra Nakhon Kiri National Museum, an old palace built by King Rama IV in 1859 as a retreat for Thailand’s royal families.

It was built atop a hill known as Khao Wang or Palace Hill. Apart from the palace building, the museum complex also includes several stupas and a wat.

This museum is very unique, being a mix of Thai, Chinese and European architectural designs, with the cobbled pathways surrounding it lending a feel of opulence to the former palace.

Pretty view surrounds the museum.

Together with the main palace building, this complex also consists of the Phra That Chom Phet with its 40-metre high white spire. There is also the Wat Phra Kaew Noi, which is a small temple built to resemble its bigger brother in Bangkok. Finally, there is the Phra Prang Daeng stupa, with Khmer design elements. All these three structures are situated at the summit.

The picturesque Wat Phra Kaew Noi is situated within the museum complex.

All these attractions at the Phra Nakhon Kiri National Museum are accessible by walking along the pathways through the forested areas.

How to get there

Phra Nakhon Kiri National Museum is situated on Phetkasem Road, along the main highway from Hua Hin heading towards Bangkok.

There are two entrances to the museum – the East Entrance and the West Entrance.

Using the East Entrance will necessitate having to walk your way up through the museum complex. On the other hand, the West Entrance is accessible via cable car (or a mini funicular train – depending on your understanding of the rail system). It is much like the one in Bukit Bendera, Penang, Malaysia but smaller in size.

What the museum has to offer

The building is magnificent up close, with its extravagant and intricate designs. If you used the West Entrance, start your visit at the main museum since the capacity inside is limited.

You will have to remove your shoes before entering. Once inside, the historical items on display and the photos of the palace in the old days will leave you awestruck.

Stop for a while and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.

After visiting the main museum, a walk around the compound is recommended if you truly want to appreciate the beauty of this place. You can also walk around until you reach one of the peaks.

If you are a history lover, the heritage buildings will delight you. If you’re a fashionista, you will surely love the place for its many photo opportunities.

The view of the Phra Prang Daeng stupa from afar at Phra Nakhon Kiri National Museum

Phra Nakhon Kiri National Museum

Khlong Kra Saeng
Mueang Phetchaburi District

Opening hours: Daily: 8.30 am to 4.00 pm
Entrance fee for cable car return trip: THB 200 adults; THB 15 – Children
Entrance fee for Museum: THB 150

Khai and wife Amira are Malaysian travel bloggers who blog at Kaki Jalans. Their travels have taken them to almost all the countries in Asean and five countries in Europe. They are still actively travelling and adding to this list.