The Grand Palace is not just one building but rather an entire compound complete with temples, offices, halls, pavilions, and gardens. Around every corner there is something new and equally as beautiful as the building before it to explore. Built in 1792 by King Rama 1, it housed the Siam royal families until 1925 when the current King (Rama 1X) moved to Chitralada Palace after his older brothers death. Today it still holds some official government offices and is used for some events and ceremonies.
Without question this is a tourist attraction. While many of the temples in Bangkok and Chiang Mai are free to enter, the Grand Palace demanded some of the highest fees we have encountered. A ticket for entrance to was 330 baht or roughly $12 per person, little guys get in for free. It also was the busiest of any temple I have been to, somewhat irritating at times really. The only complaint I could have is that it was so ornate, so pristine, that it left me feeling as though it wasn't very authentic. The smaller temples, the ones in the North seem more relaxed and comfortable so that it give you much more of a "real" feeling. This is no ordinary temple!
There is a strict dress code when entering the temple grounds. If you are not prepared you can rent long pants or a scarf to cover your shoulders at the main entrance for a fee. Wearing respectable clothes is the right thing to do at any temple in Thailand but it is taken a bit more seriously at the Grand Palace. The temple of the Emerald Buddha is housed within the walls of the Grand Palace and it is Thailand's most sacred Buddha.
|Photo only allowed to be taken from outside the actual temple|
The Emerald Buddha, made of green jade (rather than emerald) is clothed in gold, and is about 45 cm tall. According to the legend, the Emerald Buddha was created in India in 43 BC by Nagasena. Historical sources indicate that the statue surfaced in northern Thailand in the Lannathai kingdom in 1434. (Wiki)
Another tip is to bring a couple of bottles of water. It is hot and you will be in the sun most of the day, you'll be glad you carted the bottles around and most likely will be wishing you had even more. There are a couple areas to fill up the bottles so no need to cart a cooler in but 1 bottle for each person is probably best.
Here are a few of my favorite photos captured throughout the day:
It was a eye opening and exhausting day! One we will never forget and one you should make happen if the opportunity ever arises! Coming to Thailand and NOT seeing the Grand Palace would be like going to China and never seeing it's Great Wall!
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