When arriving at the Grand Palace entrance ignore the touts who point out that you are not appropriately dressed and offer to rent you a set of clothes. Once you pass throught the main entrance there is an official office where you can borrow a set of clothes at no charge after paying a returnable deposit.
The Grand Palace is a very large complex of colorful temples. One of the attractions inside is the Temple of Emerald Buddha. The emerald buddha is said to have originated from India. It was later discovered as far as Cambodia, then Laos and finally Vietnam before it was transferred to Thailand. It is carved from emerald, unfortunately visitors are not allowed to touch it as it stands in a very high pedestal. No pictures are also allowed inside the temple. Another attraction of course is the Palace Hall. The palace was formerly used as the center of the Thai Government and residence of the Thai King. The present King however preferred to reside in another palace so this place is now used for selected royal rituals and ceremonies. Unfortunately for tourists this part of the Grand Palace is sometimes closed to the public when the palace is being used for royal rituals. Third attraction would be the multi-colored temples and architectural structures inside the grand palace complex. Entrance is 400 baht.
Getting to Grand Palace is a lot easier by taking Taxi or "tuk-tuk" however, according to one travel blog I read, it is much more exciting to take Ferry thru Chao Phraya river to be able to see more of Bangkok. Therefore we decided to take that option. The Taksim Ferry station is approximately 10 minutes walk from our hotel in Silom Street where you can ride a Ferry worth 200.00 baht per person to Tan Thien Station.
Here are some photos took while on cruise.
After 5-7 minutes, we arrived at the ferry terminal which is about 300 steps to Grand Palace Entrance. There were several thai's offering you their goods and they will write the amount in a piece of paper (They are not an English country at all) . And if you response "so expensive!", they will hand you over the pen and the piece of paper so you can write the amount you want to bargain. LOL... Nice!
Right stepping at the main gate of the Grand Palace, there you can see hundreds of foreigners! They all scattered in different corners. Most of them are Chinese and Koreans, and some Westerners.
Due to my "broken pant" as they describe it, the security personnel did not allow me to enter the Palace and advised me to rent a "pants" and so with other tourist wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts - 200.00 baht rent refundable.
No wonder it's called GRAND PALACE, it is really beautiful! I imagine how Thai's in their creative and craftsmanship skills build this huge temples within the complex piece by piece. It could have been taken years to complete every single details of four each corners of this dazzling and spectacular Palace. Here are some of the photos and be get amazed!
If you do nothing else in Bangkok, you must visit the Grand Palace. The name is misleading, because it's not 'a palace' but is actually an area of nearly 22 hectares. A quiet oasis in the bustle of the city, it is full of astonishing buildings. They are Royal residences, temples and government offices. The architecture, the colours, the gold leaf, the attention to detail are breathtaking.
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...........
Grand Palace is not currently used by the royal family, save for the ceremonial occasions, so the grounds and the four palace buildings can be visited on most days (the buildings were closed on my first trip due to the lying in state of one of the members of the royal family).
Here's what you can see:
- Grand Panace Hall, built at the end of the 19th Century following the blueprint of British architects and blending European and Thai building styles
- Dusit Hall, originally a site for audiences and subsequently a royal funerary hall
- Borombhiman Hall, a former residence of Rama VI and the headquarters of a couple
- Amarindra Hall, former royal court
We feel small! We feel poor! We feel ugly. But we feel blessed by the fortune of seeing such a collection of art masterpieces, in this large complex.
It's impossible to go to Bangkok without this palace in mind. Go with time (there are crowds) and if you're not in an escorted visit read what you can before going, or... in place. It's fantastic!
I like to take the ferry up the river to the Grand Palace, that way you get a nice view of the city and river as you get there
Take the sky train to Saphin Taksin. Then you get off the train and go down the stairs to the street and walk about 50 meters to the ferry terminal. Take a ferry to jetty number 9 ( each jetty is numbered so its easy to know which one to go to). You pay on the boat. Saphin Taksin is jetty 0, so you have 8 stops if the boat stops all stops- some are all stops, some express but they all stop at number 9. Sit on the left hand side if you can get seats so you see the river better and keep your camera handy for some great photos particularly of Wat Arun as you go past. Get off at jetty 9 and walk straight ahead through the little covered terminal and out into the somewhat chaotic market outside. Keep walking straight ahead to the street , cross the road and walk straight ahead about 300 meters to the entry to the Grand Palace. Warning- ignore touts who tell you the temple is closed for some reason ( any reason) no matter how official they look or sound. Go to the entry to the palace , on the right hand side and walk in down the road about 40 meters to the ticket booth on your left. 400 baht and keep walking to the turnstyles into the Emerald Buddha temple- quite spectacular and many great photos. Wear long pants, and a shirt that covers your shoulders and closed shoes or they may require you to rent a sarong type thing that a hundred backpackers have worn when they showed up in board shorts and a singlet. See the temple and surrounds and then out the exit to the Grand Palace- if a week day many museums are open and good to see as well as the palace surrounds. Back the way you came and back to jetty 9 , there is a small air conditioned cafe on the corner of the above mentioned chaotic market for a lime soda as your hot and need a sit down. Then tuk Tuk or walk 500 meters down the outside of the grand palace to Wat Po or Temple of Reclining Buddha. Get a guide ( 300 baht) and see the temple and surrounds. If you still feel like more templeing, head back to the jetty and get a boat across to Wat Arun, I am not really sure it is worth visiting as you have seen it from the river and the distant view is the best way to see it.. You can get home the way you came , or just take a taxi. Avoid tuk Tuks as they are generally more expensive and just there to rip off tourists. On your way back you may want to go via the shopping district, I like Pan Thip Plaza - 5 stories of electrical, gadgets, DVD's computers and so on. Just down Petchaburi road about 200 meters from Pan Thip is Pratunum Mall , on the same side as Pan Thip, a huge wholesale clothing mall, so many clothes and things you cant jump over them. Alternatively you can go to MBK , a popular mall for low cost clothes etc near Siam station.
Another stop on this days journy is jetty number 7 Saphin Phut, it is the flower market and if you have a lady with you they always love to see the fantastic displays of flowers for sale, any time before 11ish in the morning. You get off at Jetty 7 and turn left , follow the road as it turns to the right and you find your self at the market.
Yet another stop on this trip is at Jetty 9, if you are facing the river, and turn right walk about 200 meters and you come to a huge amulet market- about an acre of stalls selling those little Buddha amulets you see all over Bangkok.
Thats about 3/4's of a day
The most important of them all. Here, sitting inside Wat Phra Kaew is the much revered Emerald Buddha. A symbol of the country and legends go that should the Emerald Buddha be destroyed, so will Thailand. So revered is the figurine that the Thai monarch comes every change of season to cloth the Buddha in elaborate and solemn ceremonies.
The Wat comes with 3 main pagodas. Thai, Khmer and Islamic architectural styles stood next to each other, each an indication of the identity of the people that made up Thailand.
Wander through the many galleries of paintings/murals storytelling the fables/myths/legends and history of Thailand. I would recommend that you take a guided tour (free) to learn more about the stories behind each painting/mural.
The Royal Family does not reside in the The Grand Palace and is used for ceremonial purposes instead. The main buildings were built for King Rama V, whose travels to Europe brought back a marriage of Thai and western (especially Windsor) architectural styles.
The central Throne Hall is flanked by reception areas decorated with galleries of portraiture. The central room on the second floor is used as a shrine for the reliquary ashes of various Thai monarchs.
Open to the public everyday, except during special Royal Ceremonies, from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.
Baht 250, and includes admission to Wat Phra Kaew, The Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion in the same compound and to Vimanmek Mansion Museum on Ratchawithi Road.
Additional Baht 100 for rental personal audio guide in various languages.
Visitors are required to dress appropriately.
1. No shorts, tights, mini & short skirts & tight fitting trousers as outer garments.
2. No see-through shirts and blouses, culottes or quarter length trousers.
3. No sleeveless shirts or vests as outer garments.
4. No sandals (without ankle or heel straps).
5. All shirt sleeves, whether long or short, can not be rolled up.
6. No sweat shirts & pants, wind-cheaters, pajamas and fisherman trousers.
Wat Phra Kaeo: The Spiritual Heart of the Nation
for "Wealthy life"
Wat Phra Kaeo, known in English as “The Temple of The Emerald Buddha”, was the first permanent structure built in what is now Bangkok. For most Thai people, a visit to Bangkok is not fulfilled unless they visit Wat Phra Kaeo and pray before The Emerald Buddha.
This Wat amaze me every time I come. The ancient people had time and talent to create such fabulous place!!!
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 which used to house the Thai royal family is a complex of palaces and temples spread in a huge area. The beautifully decorated buildings which are used for various royal functions are a must see attraction. Splendid statutes of various forms can be found all over the place. Indeed this is place fit for a king.
Also located within the complex is the Wat Phra Kaew, which is Thailand's most important Buddhist temple. Be sure to wear the proper clothing as there are police who might refuse you entry if you are wearing sleeveless shirts or shorts or sandals. This place is normally filled with tourists so you need to come as early as possible to avoid the crowds.
Known in Thai as the The Phra Si Ratana Chedi, it's one of the highlights of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Fully covered with with small gold mirrored mosaic tiles imported from Italy, it is much shinier than a merely gold-painted one would be.
While not ancient (it was built in the middle of 19th century by King Rama VI), it has great religious significance locally, for it houses a piece of Buddha's breastbone (a less popular local legend says it's the Ashes of Buddha that are inside the Chedi). The relic itself is housed in a smaller stupa that is located inside the Golden Chedi.
This is the most famous place that is a must for all tourists.
Name: Grand Palace
Theme: Palace, Garden, Soldier, Architecture
Close to: Wat Pho, Sanam Luang Park, Wat Mahathat, National Museum
Location: Ratanakosin Island
Admission Fee: I pay last time 250 baht
Last Visit: September 2007
First Photo: Grand Palace
Second photo: Me at Wat Phra Khaew
Third photo: Me at Wat Phra Khaew
Beware of the opportunist thieves outside this temple. They will throw bird food at your feet and hassle you for money by making a scene, what a bad experience. Otherwise this temple is a good visit but I personally preferred the smaller temples like Wat Inn the temple of the Famous LP Toh where there were less tourist and there was a sense of peace.