Friday, November 22, 2013

The Grand Palace of Thailand

The Grand Palace houses are 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. After King Rama I’s ascension to the throne in 1782 the palace was built. Prior to this, the royal palace and centre of administration had been located in Thonburi, on the west side of the chao Phraya River.

Grand Palace from outside
The new king considered the former capital to be unsuitable and decided to establish a new capital on the other side of the river. The new palace was built to serve not only as King's Residence but also as the site of some administrative offices. The royal compound has been known since then as the Grand Palace. The two earliest structures erected within the complex were the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall, and the Phra Maha Monthian.

grand palace Thailand
The palace complex covers an area of 218,000 square metres and is surrounded by four walls, 1900 metres in length. It likes the rest of Ratanakosin Island, is laid out following the general outline of Ayutthaya palaces. The Outer Court, near where you enter the complex today, housed the government departments in which the king was directly involved, such as civil administration, including the army, and the treasury. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha takes up one corner of the complex next to the outer court.
inside the Grand Palace Bangkok
In the middle is the Central Court, where the residence of the king and the halls for conducting state business were located. You are allowed to look at the fronts of the buildings in the central court, but only two of the throne halls are open to the public, and only on weekdays.

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha  inside the Grand Palace Bangkok
Behind the central court was the inner court. This was where the king's royal consorts and daughters lived. The inner court was like a small city entirely populated by women and boys under the age of puberty. Even though no royalty currently reside in the inner court, it is still completely closed off to the public.

take a break after walking at Grand Palace Bangkok
  • Be careful of touts working outside the palace area. They will offer you guided tour and their 'tour' will be to several shops where they get commissions on your purchases.
  • There is a free guided tour in English. It will be available at 10:00, 10:30, 1:30 and 2:00. You can also rent an audio guide for 100 Baht (3.16 USD) plus passport or credit card to secure return.
  • The Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace grounds are open every day when not being used for state functions. 
  • The audience halls in the Grand Palace are closed on weekends. You can only gain entrance to see the magnificent thrones on weekdays. 
  • The Royal Pantheon in Temple of the Emerald Buddha is only open one day a year, on 6 April.
building at Grand Palace Bangkok
Admission Fee
Admission to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Central Court of the Grand Palace is 400 Baht. (includes an admission ticket to Vimanmek Mansion and several other sights around Bangkok and valid within seven days of your Grand Palace visit)

Hours: The Grand Palace is open every day from 8:30 to 3:30. Note that some buildings can not be access when there is a state function, which is quite rare.

NOTE: 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. there is a booth near the entry that can provide clothes to cover you up properly. You can rent  a proper dress at some stalls outside the palace for some Bahts.


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