The Grand Palace in Bangkok is arguably the country’s most visited and photographed landmark attraction. Thousands of visitors flock to this 17th century palace every day to witness the splendor and beauty of its buildings and meticulously manicured gardens. The construction of the Grand Palace began in 1782, during the reign of King Rama I, and it has been the architectural symbol of Thailand ever since. The Grand Palace served as the royal family’s residence until 1925 and is now used only for ceremonial purposes.
Customer feedback – “The Grand place is a must for anyone visiting Bangkok. There is so much to see in every direction you look. Make sure you follow the dress code. Go early to beat the crowds. In the morning it is much cooler so you can take your time and enjoy.”
If you are going to spend any time in Bangkok, plan a trip to see this magnificent display of opulence that serves as the religious, ritual, and spiritual center of the country for all Thai people.
Even though only certain areas of the main palace are fully open to tourists, the outlying structures and gardens showcase some of the most spectacular architecture, sculptures, and Artworks in Thailand.
The Grand Palace is divided into three main areas:
- Outer Court – Home to royal offices, public buildings and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The major attraction of the Outer Court is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the residence of Thailand’s most sacred Buddhist sculpture: Phra Keaw Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), which was carved from a single piece of flawless green jade.
- Middle Court – Home to the most important residential and state buildings of the King’s Court. Situated at the center of the Middle Court is Chakri Mahaprasat Throne Hall, which was built during the reign of King Rama V. At the far right of the Middle Court is Borom Phiman Mansion, which was also constructed during the reign of King Rama V. Situated between Sivalai Garden and Chakri Mahaprasat Throne Hall is Maha Monthien Prasat complex, home to the Audience Hall of Amarin Winitchai where royal ceremonies usually take place. On the far left of the Middle Court is Dusit Mahaprasat Thone Hall, which is recognized as an ideal example of traditional Thai architecture.
- Inner Court – Area that is exclusively reserved for the reigning king, his queen and his consorts.
Customer feedback – “Without our tour guide we would have ended up lost or confused as there were so many tourists and the signs are not really helpful. Very beautiful palace with nice gardens area.”
The Grand Palace is listed as one of the seven MUST SEE museums in Bangkok. The other museums on the list are:
- Prasart Museum
- Bangkok National Museum
- Thai Royal Barge Museum
- Vimarnmek Mansion
- Jim Thompson House
- Erawan Museum
Some of the highlights of visiting the Grand Palace are:
- The Ordination Hall (Royal Chapel) – There are standing Buddha images of two of Thailand’s past kings within this hall. Also, the Ordination Hall is where the Emerald Buddha resides.
- Wat Phra Keaw – The Temple of the Emerald Buddha
- The Royal Pantheon – Surrounded by Bonsai trees and guarded by mythical creatures this building is where the statues of the Chakri Dynasty Kings are enshrined.
- The Great Golden Stupa
- Hall of Rose Gold Buddha
- Miniature Ankor Wat
- Scripture Hall
- Image Hall
- The Bell Tower
There are several other Bangkok attractions in the vicinity of the Grand Palace. A visit to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw provides a good starting point for a tour to other Bangkok attractions such as Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), the Bangkok National Museum, and Vimarnmek Mansion.
The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw are open every day from 8:30am to 3:30pm except during special royal ceremonies.
Admission Price: 500 Baht per person, inclusive of access to Wat Phra Keaw, The Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion and Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile, which are all located within the Grand Palace compound, and to Vimarnmek Mansion which is a short distance away from the Grand Palace compound. Additional 100 Baht rental price for personal audio headphone set to hear information in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese or Mandarin.
Things you should be aware of when visiting the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw:
- Visitors are required to dress appropriately. These following clothes are strictly not allowed as outer garments for both ladies and gentlemen: Shorts, mini-skirts, short skirts, tight fitting trousers, and tights. See-through shirts and blouses, as well as culottes or quarter length trousers. Sleeveless shirts or vests. Sandals (without ankle or heel straps). Rolled-up-sleeved shirts. Sweatshirts and sweatpants, wind-cheaters, pajamas and fisherman trousers. Sarongs (long skirt/dress) are available to rent for women while men can rent a loose-fitting pair of long pants. These are available for those visitors who are deemed to be inappropriately dressed to enter the Grand Palace. Due to the high volume of visitors at the Grand Palace the pants and Sarongs may not be available during peak hours.
- Photographs are allowed only in the outdoors area of the Grand Palace. No photographs are allowed inside any of the buildings within the Grand Palace complex.