If there’s one thing that you must do while visiting Bangkok, it is to experience the ornate and beautiful Grand Palace.
You won’t see another building quite like the Grand Palace anywhere in the world.
Its architecture and significance to Bangkok and Thailand are one of a kind. The Grand Palace is a gorgeous temple. Its regal edifice has a total area of 218,400 square metres and is constructed in typical Thai style, with elaborate gold detailing.
Built back in 1782, the Grand Palace in the Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok served as the home of the Thai King for 150 years. It has also been the location of the royal court, the administrative seat of government, the Thai war ministry, the state departments and the mint! There was a shortage of materials at the time of building, so most of the building consists mainly of wood.
From the beginning of the 20th Century, kings no longer lived in the palace. Today it is primarily a tourist attraction, but is still used for occasional ceremonies and other religious rituals.
Resembling the palaces of Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand, with how it is laid out, the Grand Palace is huge. It is home to a variety of different buildings, all with different significance. Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the Inner Court and the Royal Reception Halls are all encompassed within the Grand Palace.
The Inner Court is where the King’s royal consorts and daughters lived. It is a small city habituated just by women and boys under the age of puberty. The public cannot visit this area.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew, is the most important place of worship in Thailand. The Emerald Buddha is a small effigy, whose Thai name is Phra Kaew Morakot. The Emerald Buddha was carved from a single block of jade and the statue shows the figure meditating. It is about 45cm high. It was constructed in the style of the Lanna School in the north. The Emerald Buddha wears a seasonal costume that is changed three times a year: during the summer, in the winter and at the start of the rainy season. It is changed only by the King and it is believed to bring luck to the country during the oncoming season.
The Royal Reception Halls are generally reserved for occasions like coronations – the monarch is crowned on the antique throne. Visitors are permitted to enter the European style reception room.
There are lots of Buddha statues and images all over the halls, and in fact, all over the temple. Different figures dotted around the temple have different symbolisms; they can be learnt about by a personal or audio guide.
The temple’s opening hours are from 08:30 to 15:00; it is best to get there early to avoid the crowds. As this is such an important spiritual location, there is a strict dress code. For both genders, shoulders and legs must be covered. Cover ups and pants can be purchased at the gate for 200 baht.
Tickets cost 500 baht and include entry to Vimanmek Palace and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall.
To reach the Grand Palace, it is possible to take the Silom Line of the BTS to Saphan Taksin Train Station and transfer to the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Ta Chang Pier. The Grand Palace is less than 10 minutes’ walk from here. Taxi is also a feasible way to explore Bangkok. The Grab App is widely used or taxis can be hailed on the street. Check with your hotel the rough cost of a taxi to and from the Grand Palace before taking one.
Now you’ve got some great ideas for your trip, don’t forget to arrange travel insurance as soon as you’ve made a booking. Get a quote today or call one of our friendly team on 1300 819 888 to discuss your requirements.