Grand Palace, Bangkok
OK, now that you've seen Wat Arun and Wat Pho, you are ready to go to the Grand Palace.
As you exit from Wat Pho, retrace your steps. Instead of turning left to go to the Ta Tien pier, continue walking straight. (Its a 1/2 km walk from Wat Pho). Actually the buildings are adjacent to each other but the entrance of the Grand Palace is on the opposide end, so you got to walk all the way.
Once you reach the Grand Palace, you need to purchase an entrance ticket (think it costs THB 200 - for Thais its FREE). If you are travelling in a group, you might want to take a guide along with you so that he will explain you the various places in the Grand Palace. Otherwise, there's a very interesting thing that you can do - have your own personal audio guide. This was real coooool. For THB 200, you can rent a personal audio guide - with headphones - which is actually a Sony MD player with a tamperproof seal (make sure you have a passport/driving licence/credit card etc. to leave as a deposit for the audio guide).
You will also be given a map of the Grand Palace with all the points marked clearly. All you need to do is listen to the audio commentary and follow the map.
Please carry of bottle of water with you as it gets quite tiring during the 2 hrs that you will spend in the Grand Palace.
Once you complete the tour, you need to return the Personal Audio Guide.
Its upto you what you want to do from here. You can retrace your journey the way you reached the Grand Palace i.e. walk back to Ta Tien, ferry to Saphan Taksin and BTS back OR just take a cab back to your hotel. As is often said in Thailand - 'up to you...'
Deep within the walls of the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok, you’ll encounter a sacred sight, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. (Wat Phra Kaew). This fine example of Buddhist architecture is covered from roof to floor in gold, interspersed with mosaic columns containing colored glass and porcelain pieces. It’s also surrounded by some of the best examples of Thai sculpture and decorative art.
The Emerald Buddha is the highly revered, small, but very famous Buddha image meticulously carved from a single block of jade. Raised high on a series of platforms, no one is allowed near the Emerald Buddha except the King. A seasonal cloak, changed three times a year to correspond to the summer, winter, and rainy season, covers the statue. A very important ritual, the changing of the robes is performed only by the King to bring good fortune to the country during each season.
Garuda, the mythical half-man, half-bird form, who holds his mortal enemy, Naga the serpent, in his talons, adorns the external walls of this venerated temple. The Garuda has become the national symbol of Thailand, and therefore features prominently in Buddhist sculpture.
Yakshas, or giant demons, are another important element in Thai art and architecture, and will also be encountered within the Grand Palace grounds. They are common as guardians of the gates in Buddhist temples. Yakshas had a duty to protect holy places from disturbances by evil spirits, and their presence can’t be missed as you explore the confines of Wat Phra Kaew.
Gracing the entrance to the temple is a gilded statue of the Kinnari. She is one of the loveliest of the mythology beings, half-woman, and half swan. The head and torso is of a woman, yet below the delicately tapered waist are the body, tail and legs of a swan. She is renowned for her dance, song and poetry, and is a traditional symbol of feminine beauty and accomplishment.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha actually consists of a series of courtyards full of a collection of buildings in different sizes and colours. All have impressive architecture and much devotion has been given to the decoration. Some are in gold, and others beautifully decorated with thousands of colored glass pieces, or patterns of broken porcelain.
Among them is Phra Mondrop, the library that houses Buddhist scriptures. It is a spectacular building, decorated from roof to floor in intricate gold, and glittering glass mosaic panels. The entrance is protected by another pair of gilded demons.
More of these mythological creatures, sparkling and brightly coloured, can be discovered supporting the base of a Buddhist stupa, a large golden dome housing Buddhist relics.
Among the four groups of palaces, the Chakri Maha Prasat is the largest and most famous. Erected by King Rama V in 1882 as his own residence, the 3-storey building is a mixture of Thai and Western architecture. The top part is pure Thai with tapering spires and tiered sloping roofs, and the lower parts, designed by a British architect, are in the Imperial Victorian style. It is built in a distinctively European neo-classical style, but with a Thai roof somewhat incongruously plopped on top.
Not only is the Grand Palace Complex the spiritual heart of Thailand, but it’s also the country’s most famous landmark, and hence tourist attraction.
A strict dress code applies. The Grand Palace, with The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is Thailand's most sacred site. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry. Men should wear long pants and shirts with sleeves. Women must be similarly modestly dressed. If improperly attired, there is a booth near the entrance that can provide clothes to cover you up properly. (A deposit is required).
grand palace bangkok well worth the visit one of the most beutiful palaces ive seen, if theres only one thing you can do in bagkok go here, we traveled using the sky train and boat, getting around is easy if your not in a car...........
I visited the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew during a visit to Bangkok in September 2007.
I put on a pair of long trousers and a t-shirt which covered my shoulders (a necessity in order to be allowed in) and paid 250 Bahts (approx. 4 GBP) for a ticket which included not only the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, but also the Vimanmek Mansion Museum and The Pavilion of Regalia, Decorations and Coins. I never actually visited the latter attractions, which were located elsewhere.
One of my favourite sights was the one that first appeared upon entering Wat Phra Kaew – the golden Phra Siratana Chedi (a large golden spire), standing next to the colourful Phra Mondop and Prasat Phra Dhepbidorn – three impressive spires reaching towards the skies.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha was undergoing external renovation work during my visit and so was covered in blue tarpaulin. I took off my shoes and went inside for a quick look. Many people, locals and tourists alike, were sat on the floor, cross legged, ensuring their feet were not pointing at the Emerald Buddha. Outside, a queue of people were waiting to light candles.
I wandered around the array of impressive temples and colourful chedi towers, and spent a few minutes looking at a replica model of Angkor Wat.
I then made my way towards the Grand Palace, taking lots of photos of the impressive Chakri Maha Prasat Hall fronted by green lawns and trees. Some sort of “changing of the guards” procession was taking place, as a group of young men in white uniforms marched past me with guns at the ready.
I ended my visit by browsing the Wat Phra Kaew Museum (free entry).
The city landmark should be GRAND PALACE , for sure.
Consisting of several buildings with highly decorated architectural designs.
The complex is open daily from 8.30 a.m. - 3.30 p.m. Admission fee is 200 baht. (including a ticket to Vimanmek Royal Mansion).
This is the pride of Bangkok and a must visit for anyone visiting Bangkok. Enjoyed the place very much and the architecture of the place. Suggest you take a guide for the tour since they will explain the history and the place very well. The area is huge and palace looks amazingly beautiful.
Being the city landmarks, these two accompanying attractions serve to be the first place on any visitor’s itinerary. They are within the same compound on Na Phra Lan Road near Sanam Luang, surrounded by high white walls occupying an area of about a square mile. The palace, founded in 1782, consists of several buildings with highly decorated architectural details. The Royal Chapel, Wat Phra Kaeo, Houses the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddha image in Thailand, photography inside this building is forbidden.
The complex is open daily from 08.30 – 15.30 hours, admission fee is 250 Baht. Proper dress is required.
If you don’t have much time in Bangkok…BE SURE TO INCLUDE some time here..it really is a MUST SEE attraction here in Bangkok.
I won’t go into much detail here as information is well documented here at VT and is easily available at other sources on-line.
There are more than a couple of major “sights” here and in addition to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, there is a complex of ornately decorated and unique buildings here that in the past have served as the royal residences and throne halls of the royal family. There is also a bevy of government offices and the Wat Phra Kaeo Museum…and access to the Temple grounds, the Central Court grounds, and the museum are included in the entrance fee. At the time I visited in February of 2010 the entrance fee was 250 baht.
Your entrance ticket is also good for free access to the Vimanmek Royal Mansion and the Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall, both offsite locations, which are close together, but are a short taxi or Tuk Tuk ride away.
YOU MUST be wearing clothing that is considered respectful…I had other plans included for my day and in the heat offered up in Bangkok I was NOT wearing pants.
At the main entrance you can “rent” pants for a small charge and a deposit must be left that is refunded when the pants are returned. The “official” policy also prohibits sandals and tank tops…I wore a shirt with short sleeves and sandals and this didn’t prevent me from entering…so other than the pants, Im not sure how stringently they enforce the policy. I did see women wearing short skirts lined up to “rent” clothing.
I hired a GUIDE for my time here for minimal cost but BE CAUTIONED…he or she will NOT accompany you into the area of the royal grounds, residences and museum. I found him…or HE FOUND me.. just inside of the main entrance off of the street. He was holding up a sign and when I spotted him…he spotted me, and I walked directly to him and agreed on a price. The guides will only accompany you throughout the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Outer Court where the entrance and ticket areas are. The Central Court is the area of the grounds where the residences and throne halls and museum are located and they will not accompany you there. I thought it was worth the extra cost to hire a guide… it was inexpensive and he offered up some interesting stories and was thorough in his explanations. He also made the pants “rental” easier and because I was accompanied by him we passed into the Temple grounds through a separate line and didn’t have to line up to enter.
In addition to exploring the Temple grounds and Central Court I would recommend a quick look around at the collection offered up in the Wat Phra Kaeo Museum. This is not only a small collection worth a look see but the “time out” indoors also offers an opportunity to catch some AC time to cool off a little.
I budgeted and spent a few hours at the complex including a walk through the museum and a little bit of time exploring the GIFT SHOP for some treats for some friends here in Canada. The quality of the goods for sale in the gift shop is pretty good but the pricing is higher than you would find in other places. I did find exactly what I had set out to in the gift shop, some hand made embroidered table runners that I thought was of good quality at a fair price.
The photos Ive attached here are all taken from the grounds of the temple in fact, and for a look around the grounds of the Royal Palace take a look at the photos on the Travelogue please.
Daily 08:30 - 15:30
Entrance fee 250 baht
The Grand Palace takes quite a while to look at and it is full of Tourists, so don't expect to get photos without people in them, that would be nearly impossible!
First of all, BE AWARE of the Tuk Tuk drivers telling you that the Palace is closed and wanting to take you to other Temples and probably shops, hoping that you will buy.
THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
The Palace is OPEN EVERY DAY from 8.30am to 4.30pm and the cost in 2009 was 350tb.
It will only be closed if being used for a State Function.
Also included in the price, is a ticket to Vimanmek Mansion and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall which are located at Dusit. (Use the admission ticket within 7 days)
Unluckily for me, Vimanmek Mansion was closed for 4days, this may have been because the Prince was in town, I really don't know, but a notice said it was closed.
The Grand Palace was built in 1782, and here you will find what used to be the Royal residence ( the King now lives in Chitralada Palace ) and Throne Halls as well as Government Offices. The Grand Palace is now used mainly for ceremonial occassions. Most of the interiors are closed to visitors, but it is well worth strolling around the grounds and having a look at the Royal Thai Decoration & Coin Pavillion.
Be aware not to wear Tank tops and be respectfully dressed.
The Gold is just magnificent and it's all over. The Temple is separate from the Grand Palace which is the King and Queen's residence in Bangkok. The Grand Palace is well guarded and military men march along the premises. There are restricted areas so watch where you think you might want to go. There seems to be only one way in and one way out, so make sure to grab a map. This Wat houses the Emerald Buddha. The Buddha is not as big as I thought it would be. Expect lots of people to be visiting the temple. Please see my travelogues for more photos.
The dress code restrictions are very, very strict. I didn't have to wear a shirt over the shirt I was wearing but my crop pants (well below my knees) was not acceptable. I had to wear a sarong so my legs were completely covered. It doesn't cost anything to use the sarong they will provide but you have to leave a deposit to ensure the return of the sarong.
It's open Daily 8:30am - 3:30pm. Cost of tickets is 200 baht (about US$6.35)
The Borom Phiman Mansion is located in the grounds of the Grand Palace complex. You have to look at it through closed gated, guarded, gates.
This Mansion was built in 1903 by King Rama v for the future King Rama V1. It has been used as a Royal Residence for King Rama V11, V111 & IX.
It is now used as a Royal Guest House for visiting Heads Of States, and His Majesties guests.
While I was visiting, the guards quickly moved everybody away from this Mansion. We did not know what was going on. After a while, a large entourage of big cream Mercedes passed through the open gates into the grounds of this Mansion.
I was told it was the Crown Prince. The Royal Ploughing Festival was being held on the Monday.
So, if this happens to you, you know that something important is about to happen.
I guarantee this place will take your breath away. The place is so beautiful, so over the top and stunning. The place is so picturesque. There are buildings in different architectural styles-khmer, thai and burmese. The highlight of the surroundings, is Wat Phra Kaew (temple of the Emerald Buddha). This Buddha is made up of a large piece of Jade. It is adorned with golden clothes and precious gems. The image has three different golden outfits-one for the monsoon, hot weather and colder season-i think. It's very impressive. You are not allowed to take photos inside that wat,but you can take photos looking inside the temple. The Emerald Buddha is the most revered Buddha image in Thailand.
It's very important to dress correctly-since you are entering a very holy site. They do enforce this. You must not wear shorts, skirts-legs must be covered. No tank tops-arms should be covered. Nice tshirts are allowed. No open toed shoes ( this isn't enforced as much). Heels must be covered.
If you don't have the right clothes, they will either send you away or you can rent older clothes or sarongs at the entrance.
Don't believe the tuk tuk drivers, who harass tourists walking around the complex and say that it is closed due to a special function. This is a scam. He just wants you to go with him for a few hours and see the other sites. If you have any doubts, walk to the front of the complex or ask your hotel staff.
The Grand Palace doesn't allow visitors to enter. You can see it from the gates. You can visit Chakri Mahaprasat (Grand Palace Hall). In one of the large buildings-you can visit an armory museum.
With your ticket to the wat, it includes admission to the royal museum at this complex and Vinanmek Teak Mansion (palace of Rama V). The royal museum has royal jewels, swords and beetle nut sets that are very impressive. You will learn a lot about the royal family.
There is one restaurant located near the pier. Also, one cafe across the street from the royal wats. At night, the wat is lit up.
Go see the Grand Palace in the historic Rattanakosin area of Bangkok, next to the Chao Phraya river. It's quite stunning! The architecture is a great mix of Thai and European styles, and if you can only see one sight in Bangkok, this should be it. The lovely Temple of the Emerald Buddha is in the same complex - don't forget to allow enough time there too.
It's open everyday between 8.30am and 3.30pm; there's an entry fee of 200 baht, but you can get into Vimanmek Teak Palace on the same ticket. Although the royal family no longer lives here, it's still considered a Royal Palace and you'll need to dress respectfully; no sandals, shorts or bare shoulders.
The main entrance is on Thanon Na Phra Lang (Thanon = street), on the north side near Sanam Luang. Beware the nearby touts and tuk-tuk drivers who may tell you that it's closed - normally this is a scam to try and get you go to a gem or gift shop shop where they will get a commission.
There are some more pictures of this wonderful place in my travelogue.
This is a glorious compound of temples that is a must see when in Bangkok.
Wat Phra Kaew is the most sacred site in the country, a glorious explosion of Thai architecture and colour from start to finish, complete with murals of Hindu epic the Ramayana, statues of Yoga masters, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and many Buddhas.
The sacred Emerald Buddha statue is housed in a building that sparkles with gilt and glass, supported by 112 garudas.
The Thai King still personally changes the Emerald Buddha's garments according to the seasons of the Buddhist year.
Only the northern part of the massive palace proper is open to the public (apart from special royal ceremonies). The audience hall built by King Rama I is an example of traditional Thai architecture, featuring a roof glazed in red, gold and green and an exquisite throne inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
When walking around, look out for the small details...like the beautifully manicured trees and bushes.
When visiting the Royal Palace where appropriate attire...ie cover shoulders, dont wear shorts...show some respect!
The Upper Terrace of is the justifiably most popular part of the complex with the Golden Chedi and Royal Pantheon the main attractions. Guarding the area are many mythical figures that have become favorite photo subjects with or without a posing visitor.