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Timings : 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM

Entry Fee : THB 500
Audio guide: THB 200 (two hours)

Grand Palace, Bangkok Overview

The Grand Palace, the residence of royals for several generations, is the perfect place to begin your historical tour in Bangkok. It houses one of the holiest Buddhist temples, Wat Phra Kaew, built in the year 1782. The Grand Palace stands among the top tourist attractions in Bangkok, Thailand, showcasing the rich history of Bangkok.

A former official residence of the monarchy of Thailand, the Palace is structured in a rectangular space. Often mistaken for a single structure, the Grand Palace is a group of numerous buildings, halls, pavilion sets, grounds, lawns, and courtyards. While being the official ceremonial residence of the monarch of Thailand, the Palace is also used for many official ceremonies and state functions, amplifying its allure.

Apart from marvelling at the eclectic and unique architectural style of this majestic complex, visitors can also find the exquisite Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddhist Thai temple. Along with a public museum amidst displayed historic structures of the nation, this attraction showcases the evolution of the rich culture and heritage of Thailand dating back to the 18th century.

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Grand Palace History

The construction of the Grand Palace first started in the year 1782 at the direction of the King Phutthayotfa Chulalok also known as Rama I. Due to lack of funds and material the palace was initially made of wood, which was eventually replaced with masonry when the king took permanent residence. Upon completion of the construction, the King held the coronation ceremony here and went on to become the first ruler of the new Rattanakosin Kingdom.

Grand Palace Bangkok
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Soon after, the structures of the Grand Palace were rebuilt with new material, with the addition of the royal chapel, the current home of the Emerald Buddha. Between 1782 and 1932 the Grand Palace was the country’s religious as well as the administrative centre and was an abode to a large population of government servants, princesses, guards, and ministers. The Grand Palace somewhat shares some resemblance in terms of location, organisation, divisions, walls, and gates to that of the Royal Palace at Ayutthaya, the ancient capital city of Thailand. Interestingly, both the palaces lie near the rivers.

Architectural Style and Structures

Grand Palace Bangkok
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The Grand Palace is an architectural beauty reflecting the grand history and culture of Thailand, resting peacefully at the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

Brief Guide Through the Palace
As you enter the Palace through the main entrance, on your left will appear a vast conglomerate of perfectly aligned buildings adorned with crimson sloping roofs and golden spires. The large bell-shaped stupa with a tall pointed spire represents the Buddha and his path to enlightenment.

Zones of the Palace
The Grand Palace consists of 4 major zones: the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Outer Court, the Inner Court and the Middle Court.

Thung Phra Men
There’s a large field, Thung Phra Men at the north of the Palace which was used as an open space for royal ceremonies and as a parade ground.

A City Within A City
The high, whitewashed walls, massive forts and guard posts of the palace bear significant similarity to the walls of Bangkok, thus granting it the name ‘a city within a city’.

Chakri Maha Prasat
Another prominent building within the Grand Palace and also one of the largest is the Chakri Maha Prasat meaning the throne hall which seats the throne of the king. The Throne Hall was established in the reign of King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V).

A Thai - Western Blend
The throne was designed with an eccentric blend of Thai and western culture, which also depicted the change in Thai society and the influence of the west. The western design illustrated modernisation of the Thai community, whereas the traditional Thai design displayed the power of the Thai king, the Thai belief, and the rich Thai culture. The exterior of the Chakri Maha Prasat is a blend of Thai and Italian renaissance indicating the deeply rooted trades in the olden days. The Grand Palace is an architectural wonder which will astonish anyone with its beauty.

Temple of the Emerald Buddha

 

Wat Phra Kaew, Grand Palace Bangkok
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The temple of Emerald Buddha is the most sacred Thai Buddhist temple that dwells within the Wat Phra Kaew. It houses the world-famous Emerald Buddha, a dark green statue carved out of single jade stone and which stands at 26 inches in height. Spread across a vast area of 94.5 hectares, featuring more than 100 buildings, the place exemplifies the rich history of 200 years of the royal family and brilliant craftsmanship.
Other than the Thai king and the crown prince, no other person is allowed to touch the statue. The statue was enshrined in 1782 to mark the beginning of the Chakri Dynasty of Thailand. The robe of the Emerald Buddha is changed by the king three times each year, depicting an essential Thai ritual.

Sightseeing at the Grand Palace

Grand Palace Bangkok
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With over 100 buildings in its complex, the Grand Palace is home to some of Thailand’s finest structures. Some of the biggest attractions within the Grand Palace are the Temple of Emerald Buddha, Phra Maha Monthian; the royal ceremony hall, the museum, the Pavilion of Regalia, The Miniature Model of Mount Kailasa and Chakri Maha Prasat; the throne hall.

Dress Code

It is recommended to wear full clothes as the temple of Emerald Buddha is one of the holiest places, and there is a strict dress code to be followed, but not to worry if you are not prepared then there is a booth available outside the palace which offers extra cover-ups for a small deposit. Also, it is recommended to wear white clothes as a way of showing respect to the late King Rama IX.

Tips

  1. Make sure you hire a guide at the ticket window and not from outside, to enjoy the best of the temple.
  2. Dress modestly, avoiding too much skin exposure.

How To Reach Grand Palace

The simplest way to reach the Grand Palace is by using the subway system in Bangkok known as BTS and the express boat. Take a ticket for Saphan Taksin Station (S6 Station) and use the exit no.2 to enter the dock for Chao Phraya Express Boat. There are also some other boats like the long tail boat, shuttle boats, canal boat taxis or local boats available too. You can also hire a cab or a tuk-tuk to reach the Saphan Taksin Station. However, the chances of getting stuck in Bangkok traffic is quite high.

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