While visiting Bang Pa-In, the Thai Summer Palace, be sure to visit Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, just a cable car ride across the river from Bang Pa-In’s parking lot. We visited this temple as part of our day trip to the ruins of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. After completing our walk around Bang Pa-In, we crossed the parking lot to the cable car that runs over the Chao Phraya River to Wat Niwet Thammaprawat.
The cable car is free, but there are donation boxes nearby. The cable car is electric and manned by Buddhist monks in the control tower.
When you first get across the river, it looks like you’ve entered a little European Village. Tri-colored buildings with sloping roofs and stained glass windows sit amid red mailboxes and small Buddhist shrines encased in mini-gothic structures.
The temple complex was commissioned by King Rama V, the same monarch responsible for the rebirth of Bang Pa-In as a European-style garden and palace. The architecture of the buildings at Wat Niwet Thammaprawat features gothic details, such as the pointed arch windows and doors and the towering spire.
The interior of the assembly hall continues the gothic style on the inside, but while the interior may look like a church, it’s a functioning temple, once used by King Rama V himself.
It only takes about 30 minutes to explore the grounds here, but I think it is definitely worth a visit. We enjoyed the unique experience of crossing the river by electric cable, and we found the river to be more attractive in this less populated area.
You can take under 2 hours to visit both Bang Pa-In and Wat Niwet Thammaprawan, and only Bang Pa-In has a small admission charge of 100 baht. If you go near the end of the day, definitely visit Bang Pa-In first, as it closes early.