I just spent the day at the Grand Palace today (April21,2010)
If you are staying in a hotel near a skytrain station purchase a one day pass for 120THB ($4USD) and get off at the Saphan Taksin Station. The system isn't that hard and if you are near a different line there is a transfer point at Siam Station. Once you get off at Saphan Taksin you exit and walk to the Central Pier and get on the Chao Phraya River Express. Ignore those that are asking if you want to a boat tour. Once you get on the boat you pay 14 THB and you get off at Pier 9 by the Grand Palace after a 15 minute boat ride. Ignore the people that are telling you the Palace is closed. The palace is a 2-3 minute walk from the Pier, you will see the walls of the palace immediately. Just keep walking straight once you pass through the market and you will hit the main entrance
DO NOT TRANSFER TO THE MONORAIL THINKING IT IS A MORE DIRECT ROUTE. It is an additional cost to you and is not included in the skytrain day pass and furthermore the transfer area is right where the red shirts are protesting. There are military everywhere armed with machine guns. The protests have died down, but nonetheless it is best to avoid transferring here as it is only another 5 minutes to the Saphan Taksin Station
If you are not wearing pants you are able to rent a pair (a sarong for women). The deposit is 200THB and when you return the clothing you get your deposit back. My hotel messed up my transport to the palace so I had to figure it out on my own and arrived at the Palace at 11:30am and stayed until 3pm. If you are able to get there by 8:30am and avoid the warmer weather it would be a very good idea.
One more thing. The market that surrounds the Pier near the Palace is a great place to get snacks of barbecued meats, fruits, curry etc etc.
Once I figured out how to get there, it took me 35 minutes to get back to my hotel in the Sukhimvit Area.
The Royal Palace is very decadent and full of magnificent Buddhist statues and architecture.
Walking distance from Khao San Rd, it's a highlight of a stay in Bangkok and reminds you of the country's culture and traditions.
Grand Palace, Temple of a Dawn, and Wat Pho can be visited 1 day. Please prepare it morning time.
From BTS Saphan Taksin, you can take local line boat (orange flag). This boat will take you to Grand Palace. This is at pier number 9. Better you go to Grand Palaca morning time. Be carefull if you meet guys that inform you that grand palace is closed. It is false information. Let say you reach Grand Palace at 10 AM, then around 1 PM you can take walk to Wat Pho (Reclining Budha). It will take 15 minutes walking. Around 3 PM you can go to Wat Arun (Temple of a Dawn) by crossing river by boat that cost you 3 bath. Before dark, you can cross back by boat.
If you want to go to chatuchak weekend market for shopping till you drop, please spend 1 day for it. Easy to get there by BTS. Dont forget to take map in that market. They make some section for stuff. So you can find what you want to buy according to the map.
Dont forget to visit Trimit Temple at Chinatown. It has budha statue made from gold. Take MRT to hualampong station. After that you can walk. It is quite near. Ask the local, they will show you the way to get there
I just went back from Bangkok last week. It was first time for me to Bangkok. It is quite safe. I choose the hostel at Silom. Hostel room cost me 600 bath for 2 person perday. The reason why is near by BTS and Subway train. If your budget is 75 USD, you will hv good hotel. Check on www.agoda.com. You can book from there.
Thai ppl are nice. Even they dont speak english, but they are very helpfull. You dont need to worry. But be carefull if you want to visit grand palace. Many scheme there. From pier no 9 to Grand Palace i met the schemes 4 times. They will tell you that Grand Palace is closed, there are monks pray there.. or today is budhist day. Just ignore them. Many info abt this scheme on the net.
I enjoyed my trip there. I hope you will hv it too.
Ask anyone who has been to Bangkok what their 'must see' list of Bangkok and without fail they'll include The Grand Palace.
Admission to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Central Court of the Grand Palace is 300 Baht (300.00 THB). Note that the admission fee also includes an admission ticket to Vimanmek Mansion that can be used within seven days of your Grand Palace visit.
The Grand Palace is open every day from 8:30 to 3:30, unless its being used for a state function.
There is a strict dress code for visiting the Grand Palace.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Thailand's most sacred site. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves -- no tank tops. If you're wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks (in other words, no bare feet.) Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders, etc. If you show up at the front gate improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entry that can provide clothes to cover you up properly. You must leave your passport or credit card as security.
Each time we are in Bangkok, we visit “The Grand Palace”. Each time it remains impressive. For us this is the most interesting site of Bangkok to visit. The Palace was build by King Rama I in 1782. It served as royal residence and government offices.
King Rama I built the Dusit Maha Prasat as a replacement for the earlier wooden Phra Thinang Amarintharapisek Maha Prasat which burned down in 1790. King Rama I intended that the present building be used for his own Lying-in-State as it has the same height and dimensions as the Phra Thinang Suriyamarin at Ayutthaya, the customary hall for the Lying-in-State of Ayutthaya kings. Thus the principle function of the Dusit Maha Prasat has been and still is a Hall for Lying-in-State of kings, queens and honoured members of the royal family.
The Chakri Maha Prasat Hall was built and resided in by King Chulalongkorn, Rama V (1868-1910). Only the reception portion is now used, consisting of two wings for reception purposes decorated with galleries of portraiture. In between is the central throne-hall now used for various purposes and formerly for the reception of foreign envoys on the occasions of the presentation of their credentials. It is aptly decorated with four canvasses of diplomatic receptions.
This consists of three main buildings, namely the Audience Hall of Amarin Winitchai, where ceremonies of the Court usually take place in front of the throne surmounted by its canopy of nine tiers of white cloth and backed by a boat shaped altar fronting the door leading in to the inner chambers; Paisal Taksin Hall where the coronation of a monarch takes place with its coronation chair and the octagonal seat where the monarch receives the people's invitation to rule; and the Chakrapat Phiman building which was the residence of King Rama I, Rama II and Rama III. It has subsequently become customary for the sovereign to pass at least one night there after the coronation to signify his taking up official residence.
Built in the western style in 1903 by King Rama V for the Heir Apparent, the future King Rama VI, this mansion was also used at various times as a royal residence by King Rama VII (1925-1935), King Rama VIII (1935-1946), and the present King Rama IX. At present the Borom Phiman Mansion serves as the Royal Guest House for visiting Heads of State and guests of Their Majesties.
Also known as the “Eight Prangs”, the form of a Thai Prang (tower) derives from the Khmer prasat, but whereas a prasat is “a residence of a king or a god,” a prang has the same function as a chedi. The “Eight Prangs” are of different colours. Each one is dedicated to a certain Buddhist concept, as follows:
White: The Buddha Sakayamuni
Purplish Blue: The Teaching of the Buddha
Pink: The Community of Buddhist Monks
Green : The Buddhist Female Monks
Purple: One who has attained nirvana but who is not able to preach the knowledge to men
Dark Blue: The Universal Monarchs
Red: The Buddha in his Former Lives
Yellow: The Buddha Maitreya, the Future Buddha
The wall surrounding the temple area – from the outside only a plain white wall – is painted with scenes from the Thai version of the Ramayana mythology, the Ramakian. Several statues in the temple area resemble figures from this story, most notably the giants (yak), five-meter high statues. Also originating from the Ramayana are the monkey kings and giants which surround the golden chedis.
Wat Phra Kaew (meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha), is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It is located in the historic centre of Bangkok within the grounds of the Grand Palace. Construction of the temple started when King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I) moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok in 1785. Unlike other temples it does not contain living quarters for monks; rather, it has only the highly decorated holy buildings, statues, and pagodas.
The main building is the central ubosoth, which houses the Emerald Buddha. There are three main doors used to enter the temple, however only the King and Queen are allowed to enter through the centre door. Even though it is small in size it is the most important icon for Thai people. Legend has it that the statue originated in India, but it first surfaced in the vassal Kingdom of Cambodia and was given as a gift to the King of Ayutthaya in 1434. The image disappeared when Burmese raiders sacked Ayutthaya and the image was feared lost. A century later, the 'Emerald' Buddha reappeared in Chiang Saen, after a rainstorm washed away some of its plaster covering. It was then moved to Chiang Rai, then Chiang Mai, where it was removed by Prince Setatiratt to Luang Prabang in Laos, when his father died and he ascended the throne of that Siamese vassal state. In later years it was moved to Vientiane. During a Haw invasion from the North, Luang Prabang requested Siam's help in repelling the invaders. The King of Vientiane traitorously attacked the Siamese army from the rear, so the 'Emerald' Buddha returned to Siam when King Taksin fought with Laos and his general Chakri (the later King Rama I) took it from Vientiane, which at that time had been brought to its knees by the Thai Army. It was first taken to Thonburi and in 1784 it was moved to its current location. Wat Preah Keo, in Phnom Penh, is considered by many modern Cambodians as its rightful resting place, whereas, Haw Phra Kaew, in Vientiane, is considered by many Lao people as the Emerald Buddha's rightful place.
Whichever way, you may be lucky to catch a glimpse of it, like I did, through an open front door (see my rather blurry photo of it). The rest of the temple complex is well worth exploring, especially the murals of the Ramakian that surround it. It's best to cover your legs as you might not be allowed in to visit.
Open: 8.30am-4.30pm. Admission: 350B.
The Grand Palace complex was established in 1782 and it houses not only the royal residence and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). The palace was built during the reign of King Rama I, when he moved the capital across the river from Thonburi to Bangkok. For various reasons, the new king considered the former capital to be unsuitable and decided to establish a new capital on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. By his royal command, a new palace was built to serve not only as his residence but also as the site of some administrative offices to be collectively known as the Grand Palace - Bangkok's most visited tourist destination.
At first the palace consisted of several wooden buildings surrounded on four sides with a high defensive wall of 1,900 metres in length, which encloses an area of 218,400 square metres. Soon the King ordered the building of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; as the Monarch’s personal place of worship and royal temple. Once the palace was complete the King decided to undergo a coronation ceremony to celebrate in 1785. The royal kings, from Rama I to Rama IV have lived here but Rama V decided to stay at the Dusit Palace, but still used the Grand Palace as an office and primary place of residence. This practice was followed by his sons (Rama VI and Rama VII) who preferred their own palaces. King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) moved into the palace full time after his return from abroad in 1945. However after his mysterious death a year later in one of the palaces inside the complex, his brother King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), who succeeded him, decided to move permanently to the Chitralada Palace.
The plan of the Grand Palace followed closely that of the old palace in Ayutthaya. The Palace is rectangular shaped, with the western side next to a river and the royal temple situated to the east side, with all structures facing north. The palace itself is divided into three quarters: the outer quarters, the middle quarters and the inner quarters. As it's a large complex with a lot to see, allow yourself plenty of time to visit and it's best to cover your legs as you might not be allowed in to visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Open: 8.30am-4.30pm. Admission: 350B.
We took the tourist boat to the Mjaraj Pier. If you want to go to the Grand Palace, turn Left when you get on the street. We went right and ended up visiting wat Pho.
When we set out to walk to the Grand Palace, we were stopped by a man who told us that he was a bus driver with one of the visiting tourist groups and was going to help us. First he told us we were dressed innappropriately (shorts and t-shirts) which we were aware of. Then he told us that the palace was closed for lunch and that we needed to see several other wats. He repeated many times that we were wasting our trip to Bangkok if we didn't see the sitting, standing, lying Buddhas. He then solicited the help of a Tuk Tuk driver to take us where we needed to go. It was a good thing we read all about this scam. It was VERY convincing and the gates of the Grand Palace weren't even in sight.
We read many different reviews, but were still confused as to what to wear to the Grand Palace. Fortunately, the signage was clear when we got there.
No sleevess shirts
No tank tops
No short tops
No see through tops
No short pants (Pants must be regular length)
No pants with holes
No tight pants
No short skirts
There are no regulations about footwear.
Outside the gate, there is a place to borrow clothing. There is a deposit of 100 baht per item. For men, it looked like loose drawstring pants. Women received sarongs to wrap around their wastes. We did see a man who tried to get by with a sarong who was turned away.
We had brought appropriate clothes and were told to skip the line and go directly to the dressing rooms to change.