The Grand Palace, Bangkok
The Grand Palace is a glittering walled complex that houses several palaces, all highly decorated with tiles and ceramics. The Grand Palace was once the official residence of the Royal Family in Bangkok and is one of the most important buildings in the whole country. This impressive palace was built in 1782 and is situated close to the Chao Phraya River. In addition to the Grand Palace itself, this large temple complex is also home to a number of other magnificent buildings such as the Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion and Wat Phra Kaew, which contains the tiny emerald Buddha statue.
A Brief History
The Grand Palace was built in 1782 when Bangkok was founded as the capital of Thailand and originally served as an official residence of King Phutthayotfa Chulalok and his family. After King Phutthayotfa Chulalok seized the crown from King Taksin, he decided to move the capital of Thailand from across the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi to its current location in honour of the Chakri Dynasty. An artificial island was created in the river, with several canals being dug around it. The palace was built in the style of the Royal Palace at Ayutthaya and the temple complex features a number of state apartments for visiting dignitaries as well as the private chapel of the Royal Family and a number of other buildings of note. These days, the palace is mainly used to host the ceremonies performed by the King. Visitors are welcome to explore certain parts of the Grand Palace, except when members of the Royal Family are in residence.
What to See
The temple complex is huge and visitors should allow several hours to explore it fully. While there are numerous striking features, visitors will want to make sure that they take note of the Chinese gate adorned with tiny and intricate pieces of porcelain. Next, visitors come to the Phra Maha Montien complex, which severed as the residence of the nation’s kings for many centuries. The Amarin Winicjai Hall is particularly large and magnificent and features an open sided boat shaped throne that is known as a Busabok and is topped with a spired roof. The next building is the Chakri Maha Prasat Hall, which was constructed in 1876 during the reign of King Rama V. This building has been created in a classic European style and once served as the elephant stables. These days, a number of bronze elephant statues can be found here in commemoration of this important period in the history of the Grand Palace.
Tips for First Time Visitors
There is a strict dress code, and visitors wearing shorts, mini-skirts, sleeveless shirts or flip-flops will be refused entry. While visitors who find that they are dressed inappropriately have the option of hiring clothing, a cheaper and more comfortable option is purchasing suitable clothing at one of the nearby markets that can be worn on visits to other places of worship.
Area of Bangkok
The Grand Palace can be found in the Phra Nakon District.