The Grand Palace (Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang) is situated on the east side of the Chao Phraya river and covers a total surface area of 218 400 square meters with over 1900 meters of concrete wall protecting the compound.
It was constructed in 1782-1785 by King Rama I after he moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok. The place was to be bigger and more spectacular than any other nationwide to emphasize the significance of change of capital. The result was a glamorous and splendid palace complex of jewels and gold like never seen before.
During the reign of all kings of the Chakri Dynasty, renovations have been made adding influences of foreign art, especially Chinese and Western. It remained the Royal Family’s residence for over 150 years until the current reigning king HM King Bhumibol moved the official Royal residence to Chitralada Palace.
It remains however the seat of power and spiritual heart of the Thai kingdom and is now used by the king only for ceremonial occasions such as Coronation Day. It is open daily to the public unless there is a royal function.
Wat Phra Kaew – Temple of Emerald Buddha
Within the compound are several impressive buildings including Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which houses the all-sacred Emerald Buddha.
The 66cm tiny statue is probably the most important representation of Thai Buddhism and therefore it is important to recognize that this is a place of worship and should be respected as such.
Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace represent more than 200 years of royal history and architectural experimentation. Most of the architecture, royal or sacred, can be classified Ratanakosin or old Bangkok style, with minor variations such as the Emerald Buddha for which Wat Phra Keaw is named.
Attractions – what to see
The Grand Palace compound is divided into three sections: the Outer Palace in the North, Middle Palace in the East, and Inner Palace in the West. And there are four major halls that reflect Thailand’s beautiful architecture:
Dusit Mahaprasat Throne Hall
This extravagant hall offers the finest in architectural building style and was the first to be built within the compound. Coronation ceremonies and royal merit making are performed here. It also serves as a resting place for remains of Royal Family members before cremation.
Chakri Mahaprasat Throne Hall
This hall is a mixture of Thai and Renaissance art designed by British architects in 1882, and is used for ambassador reception. It is the biggest hall within the palace complex. Portraits of former kings Rama I to Rama VII are on display.
The Audience Hall of Amarindra Vinitchai
Former kings used to receive audience of state councils and foreign state visitors here. It was also used as a hall of justice. Today it is mostly used for national ceremonies.
Paisan Taksin Hall
This hall houses the protecting God of Thailand “Pra Siam Dhevathirat” and is where King Rama I passed away.
Appropriate clothing is mandatory as the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew are Thailand’s most sacred sites. No tank tops, shorts and sandals (unless with socks) are allowed within the compound. A clothing service booth is available for visitors that are improperly dressed.
Taking photographs inside the Emerald Buddha Chapel is strictly prohibited.
It is advised to ignore people calming the museum is closed for ‘Buddhist holiday’ or any other reasons, and asking if you would like to see another place instead. They are most probably part of the sophisticated gem and jewelry scam.
Opening Time: 8.30am – 4.30pm*
Entrance Fee: 200 Baht per person*
Phone Number: 02-224-3382
Opening Time:The Grand Palace is open to daily from 8h30-12h00 and 13h00-16h30, unless there is a royal function.
Entrance Free:The fee is 200 Baht per person and includes tickets to the Coin Pavilion and Vimanmek Mansion.
How to get to Grand Palace Bangkok
Take the BTS skytrain (Silom Line) to Saphan Taksin station. From there, use the Chao Phraya River Express at Tha Sathon (Sathon Pier). Get off at Tha Chang, cross the steer in front of you and walk up the road until you see Slipakorn University on your left. Opposite the university is Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace.