The Grand Palace (Bangkok)

The Grand Palace complex in Bangkok is possibly one of the most visited spots, if not the most visited, in Thailand. Its location in the capital, the immensity of its size and the other-worldly beauty of its buildings and monuments all add up to its popularity.

According to the guide booklet I received upon entering the complex, The Grand Palace was established in 1782, after King Rama I ascended to the throne. The two earliest structures built within the compound were the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall and the Phra Maha Monthian. During King Rama I’s reign, a new palace was built to serve as his residence and the site of administrative offices. Now, The Grand Palace consists of not only the royal residence and throne halls and government offices but also of the world-renowned Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Grand Palace sits on a 218,000 square meters area and is surrounded by four walls that span 1.9 kilometers.

One day of walking and sweating it out under the unforgiving sun is not enough to cover all 35 points of interests within the compound. The sheer volume of tourists who visit the area is overwhelming. The colors and mythical creatures inside the complex are dizzying (or maybe it was just the heat). Most of my time in The Grand Palace was spent within the Wat Phra Kaew complex.

Plan of the Grand Palace (Bangkok, Thailand)

Plan of the Grand Palace (Bangkok, Thailand)

Directional signs within the compound. They are very helpful in locating the toilets and snack bars.

Directional signs within the compound. They are very helpful in locating toilets and snack bars.

These ginormous images of mythical creatures were caught my attention as soon as I entered the Middle Court.

These are the statues of Thotsakhirithon or giant demons. They are big, bold and beautiful. They stand at the main doors of The Grand Palace.

Closer look at the images

Closer look at the Thotsakhirithon.

Of course, I had to have a photo with one of them!

Of course, I had to have a photo with one of the Thotsakhirithons! 🙂

The tourists that mill around the place or have their photos taken.

The tourists that mill around the place or have their photos taken.

The entrance to the Wat Phra Kaew Complex

The entrance to the Wat Phra Kaew Complex

The Laughing Hermit sits comfortably in his post.

The Laughing Hermit sits comfortably in his post. He is situated near the entrance of Wat Phra Kaew.

At The Upper Terrace of The Grand Palace, reliquaries in the shape or golden stupa or chedi are found.

At The Upper Terrace of The Grand Palace, reliquaries in the shape of golden stupa or chedi are found. This one is called Phra Si Ratana Chedi.

Golden stupa at The Grand Palace

Golden stupa at The Grand Palace

This intricately-adorned "door" is just one of the sides of this monument.

This intricately-adorned door is just one of the sides of the golden stupa/chedi.

And there were more dazzling colors and gold!

And there were more dazzling colors and gold!

The Phra Mondop or the library built by King Rama I.

The Phra Mondop or the library built by King Rama I.

The Golden Chedi and I

The Phra Mondop or library, the golden stupa and I

More visitors go up and down the buildings to get the best shot at The Grand Palace.

More visitors go up and down the buildings to get the best shot at The Grand Palace.

Phra Viharn Yod or the Porcelain Viharn is one of my favorite buildings at Wat Phra Kaew. Its colors are muted compared to the glaring red and gold that surround it. As its name implies, it is decorated with porcelain.

Phra Viharn Yod at Wat Phra Kaew

Phra Viharn Yod at Wat Phra Kaew

Resting on the steps of Phra Viharn Yod, Nok Tantima or Tantima bird is the statue to my right.

Resting on the steps of Phra Viharn Yod. Nok Tantima or Tantima bird is the statue to my right.

One of the buildings inside The Grand Palace is The Chakri Maha Prasat. It was built by King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V and was completed in 1882. It is composed of the Central Throne Hall and two wings.

The Chakri Maha Prasat in The Grand Palace

The Chakri Maha Prasat in The Grand Palace

The Chakri Group of The Grand Palace

The Chakri Group of The Grand Palace

One side of the Chakri Maha Prasat.

One side of the Chakri Maha Prasat.

A soldier of The Royal Guards at the entrance of The Chakri Maha Prasat.

A soldier of The Royal Guards at the entrance of The Chakri Maha Prasat.

Another soldier of The Royal Guards at the other entrance of The Chakri Maha Prasat.

Another member of The Royal Guards at the other entrance of The Chakri Maha Prasat.

Another glowing golden monument at The Grand Palace.

Another glowing golden monument at The Grand Palace.

One of the images inside The Grand Palace Complex

Kinara statue in The Grand Palace complex. Kinara is a half-man, half-bird mythological creature.

Other interesting images of mythical creatures within The Grand Palace complex

Other interesting images of mythical creatures within The Grand Palace complex. The photo on the bottom right shows a naga or snake located at the entrance of Phra Mondop.

The golden chedi at Wat Phra Kaew. Guarding the golden chedi are demon mythical creatures.

The golden chedi at Wat Phra Kaew. Guarding the golden chedi are demon mythical creatures.

I tried to imitate the pose of the image behind me, but I miserably failed. The people around me did the same to varying degree of success.

I tried to imitate the pose of the demon mythical creature behind me, but I failed. The people around me did the same to varying degree of success.

Details of the roofs of the buildings and monuments at The Grand Palace (Bangkok)

Details of the roofs of the buildings and monuments at The Grand Palace (Bangkok)

Details of the roofs of the buildings and monuments at The Grand Palace (Bangkok)

Details of the roofs of the buildings and monuments at The Grand Palace (Bangkok)

Details of the roofs of the buildings and monuments at The Grand Palace (Bangkok)

Details of the roofs of the buildings and monuments at The Grand Palace (Bangkok)

Details of the doors, walls and roofs found in The Grand Palace

Details of the doors, walls and roofs found in The Grand Palace

Details of the buildings in The Grand Palace

Details of the buildings in The Grand Palace

Details of the floors and walls found in The Grand Palace

Details of the floors and walls found in The Grand Palace

The top of the buildings and monuments found in The Grand Palace

The spires found in The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace complex is so dazzling, this guy could not resist taking photos!

The Grand Palace complex is so dazzling, this guy could not resist taking photos!

The queue to enter one of the buildings. Photos are not allowed inside some of the buildings. Shoes have to be left behind outside the building with honesty system as the sole guide.

The queue to enter the temple of Wat Phra Kaew. Taking photos or video is not allowed inside some of the buildings. Shoes have to be left behind outside the building with honesty system as the sole guide.

Taking of photos and video inside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is prohibited. If I recall correctly, there is another area where cameras and videos are not allowed. It is a room with a LOT of gold. 🙂 There was a man (I will keep his nationality to myself) who tried to take a stolen shot, and the vigilant guard with cat-like reflexes stretched his hand like Plastic Man (or Lastikman for Filipinos), covered the camera with his hand in what seemed like a nanosecond, confiscated the camera and quietly escorted the man out of the area (with the man’s tour guide in tow). It was like an action movie sequence! I was a meter away from where it happened, and I before I could panic (as I always do in situations like these) everything went back to normal. Whew! There were only four guards inside this room with a LOT of gold, but they are superheroes in my book.

The centerpiece of The Grand Palace complex is the Emerald Buddha. According to the guide booklet, the Emerald Buddha carved from a block of green jade and was first discovered in 1434 in a stupa in Chiang Rai. It is not actually made of emerald, but the people who discovered it saw the green stone and mistook it for emerald. The name stuck, and the legend of the Emerald Buddha began. “The Emerald Buddha is enshrined on a golden traditional Thai-style throne made of gilded-carved wood, known as Busabok, in the ordination hall of the royal monastery”. It is clad with one of the three seasonal costumes (summer, rainy season and winter). The costumes are changed in a ceremony led by the King of Thailand.

Thais believe that the Emerald Buddha possesses magical powers to heal the sick, stop natural disasters and create unity among the believers.

The Emeral Buddha at The Grand Palace Hotel

The Emerald Buddha at the Wat Phra Kaew. This photo was taken outside, with tens of people doing the same thing.

View of the towers from the Outer Court

View of the spires of Wat Phra Kaew from the Outer Court

Prangs found in Wat Phra Kaew

Prangs found in Wat Phra Kaew

The Borom Phiman Mansion. Built in western style in 1903 by King Rama V for the future King Rama VI.

The Borom Phiman Mansion. Built in western style in 1903 by King Rama V for the future King Rama VI.

On the way out of the Grand Palace, I saw these guys.

On the way out of the Grand Palace, I saw these guys.

 

The Grand Palace is open everyday (except during royal functions/ceremonies) from 830am to 330pm. The entrance fee is THB 500 (US $14.17). Dress code is strictly followed inside The Grand Palace complex. Shorts, mini-skirts, tight-fitting pants, see-trough blouses and sleeveless shirts and strapless sandals are not allowed.

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “The Grand Palace (Bangkok)

  1. Nkakabilib…, the wealth, political power, strength of faith, and high level of artistry of the Royal family in Thailand and its people made these things possible. They even manage to maintain this historic tourist spot..

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