Jan 6, 2012

The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace

via: huitze

The Grand Palace is a must-see landmark in the heart of Bangkok. The Palace in Bangkok is a series of official state buildings, along with Buddhist temples, and historical private quarters of Thailand’s Royal Family. The Grand Palace had been the private quarters of Thailand’s Royal Family since 1782, and continues to house several current royal offices. Thailand’s “Buckingham Palace” is a treasured historical monument, a tourist haven, and is still used for royal ceremonies and state functions.

The sprawling 60-acre Palace is located along the Chao Phraya river, near the Wat Pho temple. The Grand Palace is divided into several areas: Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Outer Court, Middle Court, Inner Court, and Siwalai Garden. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew complex is a tourist favorite and a national icon. The Outer Court contains the headquarters, information centre, a small museum, and several buildings used for governmental purposes. The Inner Court was used exclusively by the king and his “forbidden women.” This Court is no longer in use, and is not open to the public. Siwalai Garden was created as a private escape for King Rama I, nowadays it contains religious structures and royal residences. The Middle Court is the largest of all of the courts, and houses most of the Grand Palace’s residential and state buildings. Plan to spend the majority of your visit gawking at the overwhelming beauty and historical significance of the structures within the Middle Court.

Grand Palace

via: clayirving

The art and architecture within the Grand Palace is simply astounding. Many of the Palace’s structures exhibit a fusion of Western influences and traditional Thai extragavance. From Wat Phra Kaew’s glowing Emerald Buddha to the ornate statues, murals, intricate gold work, and detailed architecture throughout the Palace grounds, the Grand Palace is mandatory viewing for first time visitors to Bangkok.

Depending on the time of day you visit, your propensity for photography, and your patience with crows, a tour of the Grand Palace can be a half-day trip. Get an early start on the crowds
no access to private quarters. Don’t get scammed by taxi drivers, or con men outside of the gates to the Grand Palace. If traveling by taxi, ask for the front entrance or the Visetchaisri Gate. The Palace is open 7 days a week from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM and the cost of entry is currently 400 Baht. Buy your tickets inside of the gates and never outside of the gates, regardless of what security or local “insiders” tell you. While some sections of the Palace may be closed to the public for ceremonies, the Palace is always open during the listed hours.

You will not be allowed in the Grand Palace with exposed legs, feet, or bare shoulders, either dress accordingly, or walk through the entrance and pay a small deposit for a sarong at the official Grand Palace office. Do not rent clothes from outside of the entrance.

Walk through the entrance and find a desk to the left that offers English-Speaking tour guides at reasonable prices. Though the history of the Grand Palace adds to the marvel, a tour guide is not necessary as most visitors find that the sights speak for themselves. Many visitors find the map of the Grand Palace to be confusing. If possible, buy the Grand Palace iPhone app and give yourself a guided tour.

Find the closest hotels to The Grand Palace below:

The Grand Palace Hotels

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