Yes, everyone visits the Grand Palace in Bangkok. And especially – the first-time visitors to Bangkok. And there are many reasons for that! Bangkok is counted among the most vibrant cities in the World! But accept being famous for its amazing nightlife and party scene, the capital of Thailand is also a great place to marvel at some of the most beautiful Buddhist temples ever built!
After visiting the Wat Arun and Wat Pho Temple in the morning, we headed to The Grand Palace which is the largest (with a total area of 218,400 m²) Buddhist temple complex in Bangkok. The marvellous Grand Palace is located at the heart of Bangkok in the Thai district of Phra Nakhon. Nowadays, The Grand Palace still remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom.
Since the year 1782, from King Rama I to King Rama V, it is the official residence and the home of the Monarchy of Thailand. In 1925 the King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) moved his residence to Dusit Palace, but nowadays the Grand Palace still holds state functions and royal ceremonies every year.
The Grand Palace is the place where 10 Kings reigned in Thailand over the period of 150 years. Although the complex is the most crowded location in Bangkok (for sure!) it is dazzling and spectacular, and one of the most beautiful and fantastic places I’ve seen so far! The moment you arrive outside the palace walls you will see the throng entering the Royal Buddhist Complex.
Be sure you are following the strict dress code in order to enter the Palace. For men it is not enough to wear a Sarong – you should be dressed in long pants and should wear shoes (no sandals!). For the ladies, a Sarong will be fine but make sure your shoulders are covered. If you are not dressed properly, you can still buy some long pants across the street. Be aware that you must pay a minimum of 100 bahts, which is a bit more than the normal price of Thai pants if you buy these anywhere else in Bangkok.
The Grand Palace Bangkok
The Royal Complex is divided into two main areas – Chakri Maha Prasat or the Royal Reception Halls, and Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Wat Phra Kaew is again divided into three main zones: the Outer Court, the Middle Court, and the Inner Court. Each court has its own functions defined by laws and traditions.
The general design and construction of the Grand Palace, like the rest of Ratanakosin Island, are laid very similarly to the palaces in the glorious former capital of Siam, the Ayutthaya.
Chakri Maha Prasat: Tourists are allowed to visit the Grand Palace Hall which is built in a spacious European style. The Hall is often used for some royal ceremonies such as the coronation of the new King. The Royal Hall is also where you’ll be able to see the Throne of Thailand.
The Outer Court: Located near the entrance (from Wiset Chai Si Gate to Phiman Chai Si Gate) the Outer Court houses diverse government departments, such as Bureau of the Royal Household, the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary, the Office of the Royal Institute, the Office of Army and the Treasury.
The Middle Court: located between the Outer and Inner Court (starts from Phiman Chai Si Gate to Sanam Ratchakit Gate) is the sector where some of the significant royal ceremonies are held. Here you will be able to visit the Phra Maha Monthien, the Chakri Maha Prasat, as well as the Siwalai Gardens
The Inner Court: The Inner Court used to be the palace during the reign of King Rama I. An interesting fact is that the southern part of the Inner Court was a Royal-Female-Only (the Queen, the King’s mother, daughters, etc.) zone.
Wat Phra Kaew: the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
The major attraction not only in the Grand Palace but also in Bangkok is the Emerald Buddha Temple which is officially known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is situated in one of the corners of the Outer Court. What you can see inside the Temple is the most revered of all Buddhas in the country, considered to be the protector of Thailand.
The Emerald Buddha dates back to the 14th century when it was carved from a single block of emerald (jade). The Emerald Buddha remained in Chiang Mai until 1552 when it was taken to Luang Prabang, then the capital of the Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang. Although the Buddha is the most revered in Thailand, it is only 45cm tall! The Emerald Buddha is the image of Buddha meditating in yogic posture in the style of the Lanna school. This image of Buddha traces its roots back to the 5th century in India where the Lord Buddha attained Nirvana.
The Emerald Buddha is covered with a different seasonal robe which is changed 3 times a year (Winter, Summer, and the rainy season) by The King of Thailand.
The Grand Palace Bangkok: Things to Know Before You Go
Official Name: Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang
Adress: 1 Na Phra Lan Rd, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Opening Hours: The Grand Palace is open every day from Monday-Sunday – 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Tickets: 500 baht (14,00 €)
Ticketing Service: From 8:30 am to 3:15 pm
Hotels Near The Grand Palace: Find the best deals here!
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