Grand Place

Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is in the centre of the city, if Bangkok can really be said to have a centre. The Grand Palace is not where the King lives. He has a residence a little further north (Chitralada Palace). The Grand Palace is now just a tourist attraction used for a very few ceremonial occasions. It costs Bt200 to enter. An audio guide can be hired for an additional fee of Bt100. The guide is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Chinese (Mandarin). Tour guides can also be found at the Palace gate.

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Please note that it is essential to be properly attired to visit the Grand Palace. No shorts, no sleeveless shirts, no short skirts and no informal footwear. Such garments are taken to express disrespect for the monarch and a group of clothing inspectors stationed at the Palace Gate will refuse admission or request wearers to wear more appropriate cover which will be provided for them.

Grand Place in Bangkok

The ticket received is in three parts. One part offers admission to the Royal Thai Decorations and Coins Pavilion just near the ticket office and entrance gate. The second part gives admission to the Palace and to Wat Phra Kaeo, which is within its confines, and is checked carefully at a turnstile. The third part gives admission to Wiman Mek Palace, which is in a completely different part of the city and to which fewer people go. It is not necessary to visit Wiman Mek Palace on the same day as the Grand Palace. Just retain this part of the ticket in case you want to go there at a later date.

Grand Palace Bangkok

The Grand Palace is, as one might anticipate, a rather grand complex of buildings that includes:

  • Borombinan Hall
  • A French style building which used to be the residence of King Rama VI.
  • Chakri Mahaprasat
  • British built, but Italian renaissance plus traditional Thai style, building constructed in 1882. The tallest mondop (shrine) contains the ashes of all the Chakri Dynasty Kings, while the smaller mondop contain the ashes of Chakri Princes.
  • Amarindra Hall
  • The Coronation Hall, previously a court of justice
  • Dusit Hall
  • The Funeral Hall, originally a hall for royal audiences
  • Wat Phra Kaeo

This is the most sacred temple in Thailand and it contains the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddha statue in the country. The temple dates from 1782, the year when Bangkok became the capital of the country, and has been added to ever since, so that there are now more than a hundred separate buildings occupying a total area of 945,000 square metres

The Emerald Buddha enshrined here was discovered in 1434 covered in stucco and lived first in a temple in Chiang Rai. He was moved to Lampang for a while, and then to Chiang Mai. From there, he was stolen by Lao invaders in the seventeenth century and taken to the Lao royal city of Luang Prabang, then later to the capital, Vientiane. He spent two centuries in Laos, before being recaptured when King Taksin fought a war against that country. General Chakri brought the statue back to Thonburi, which was, at the time, the nation’s capital. General Chakri later became King Rama I, succeeding King Taksin and founding the Chakri Dynasty which has retained the throne ever since. He moved the capital to Bangkok and brought the Emerald Buddha to this location in 1785. It is actually quite a small statue, only about 75cms high. It is not, in fact, made of emerald and is a jade statue. King Rama I had two royal robes made for the Emerald Buddha, one for the hot season and one for the rainy season, and King Rama III added another, just in case it he should feel chilly during the cool season. The King himself changes these robes on the appropriate three dates every year. Note that no photographs of the Emerald Buddha are permitted.

Inside Wat Phra Kaeo you will also find a model of Angkor Wat, the famous Buddhist temple in Cambodia, a reminder that the ancient history of these two nations is closely intertwined.

In front of the Grand Place is Sanam Luang originally called “Thung Phramen’ and oval public area surrounded by 365 tamarind trees.

Ratchadamnoen Avenue built during the period of King Rama V as the royal road from the Royal Palace to the Dusit Palace and modelled on the Champs Elysees.

The Grand Palace is open from 8:30 until 3.30pm, with a lunch break from 11:30 until 1pm, but during the lunch break one can still enter the outer (free) area of the palace grounds. When a ticket is purchased, a brochure is provided giving more details of the buildings.

The Grand Palace is within walking distance of Khao San Road. From Sukhumvit Road take bus no. 2, 25 or 48, or air-conditioned no. 1 or 8. From Hualampong Railway Station take bus no. 25 or 53 (the latter goes nearer), or air-conditioned no. 1 or 7.

Date posted: 30th August, 2018

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