Experiences - Asia

Thai Grand Palace, Bangkok

The sesquicentennial legacy of Bangkok, the Grand Palace has been home to the Thai King, the Royal Court and the administrative seat of Government. If there is any one must-see in Bangkok, it has to be the Grand Palace.

Thai Grand Palace

Photo courtesy of Rob Taylor used under the Creative Commons Licence

Built in 1782, the Grand Palace of Bangkok is a magnificent old monument which amazes tourists every time with its beautiful architecture and intricate details, all of which was brought to life by the ingenious and creative Thai artisans. Within its walls were also the Thai war ministry, the mint and other state departments.

Thai Grand Palace

Photo courtesy of Rob Taylor used under the Creative Commons Licence

Several royal ceremonies and state functions are organized at the Grand Palace every year, even today. Rather than being a single structure, the palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. Desperate for materials and short on funds, the palace was initially made entirely out of wood.

Throughout the period of absolute monarchy, from 1782 to 1932, the Grand Palace was both the country’s administrative and religious centre. You can take a tour of the Grand Palace for a fee of 400 Thai Baht. Remember to follow the dress code before visiting the palace. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Thailand’s most sacred site.

1. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves- no tank tops.

2. You cannot be bare feet (If you are wearing slippers or flip flops, make sure you have your socks on).

3. Women must be modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders etc.

4. You must leave your passport or credit card at the entrance booth for security purposes.

The Grand Palace is open every day from 8:30am to 3:30pm unless it’s being used for a state function, which is quite rare. Free guided tours in English are arranged at 10:00am, 10:30am, 1:30pm and 2:00pm. You can also choose to rent an audio guide for 100 Baht plus passport and credit card to secure return.

To get to the Grand Palace, take the Chaophraya Express Boat to the Chang Pier (Tha Chang), walk through the market around the pier and out onto the plaza flanked by old shop-houses. The long white wall of the Grand Palace is across the street on your right. You can’t really miss it. The entrance is the second gate in the wall.

Also read about Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

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