Study Trip

A day in Lopburi The glory and tragedy of King Narai

Saturday, 1 December 2018
Leader: Dr. Dhiravat na Pombejra, former council member of the Siam Society



This full day excursion is built around the story of King Narai, who ruled over the Kingdom of Siam between 1656 and 1688. It was a time of great prosperity in trade, extensive diplomatic activity, and complex political intrigues. Intellectually curious and commercially astute, King Narai traded or had diplomatic contact with China, Japan, Persia, India, Portugal, England, The Netherlands, and France as well as Siam’s Southeast Asian neighbours. He employed Indian, Persian, and Turkish Muslims as his officials, and at the end of his reign appointed Englishmen and Frenchmen to provincial governorships. His court favourite was the Greek Constantine Phaulkon.

Although Ayutthaya was the royal capital, King Narai came to prefer holding court at Lopburi, or “Lawo” as it was known then, where he could go hunting tigers and elephants in the nearby forests. The palace revolution that effectively ended King Narai’s reign – and Phaulkon’s life - took place in Lopburi in 1688.

Accompanied by Dr. Dhiravat na Pombejra, an historian who specializes in this period of history, we will depart form the Siam Society at 8:00 a.m. Visit King Narai’s Royal Palace (Phra Narai ratcha niwet), where the king entertained his foreign guests and where the 1688 revolution took place. This palace is now a very fine National Museum, containing mementoes of King Mongkut as well as art from earlier periods.  We will visit also the ruins of Wat San Paolo the Jesuit church and observatory; and the European- style Foreign Ambassadors’ Residence (“Phaulkon’s House”), built to house the French embassy in 1685 but later occupied by Phaulkon. If time allows we will stop at Wat Saothong Thong with its unusual architecture, and Phrathinang Yen (Phrathinang Kraison siharat), a small royal residence where, as a keen astronomer, the King observed the stars and the skies, then we expect to return to the Society at 7:00 p.m.


The contribution of Baht 2,700 (Baht 3,000 for non-members) will cover transportation, lunch and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Please pay by cash or cheque payable to “The Siam Society”. Alternatively you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no.053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.



The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.