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For first time visitors to Bangkok, one of the must-visit attractions is the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The attraction used to be the command center of all the kings and government since the early beginning of the Kingdom. Many beautiful buildings and architecture that portray the tradition and culture of Thailand will be found here. Planning to visit the palace as your first destination is recommend. You will get an overview understanding of the culture through the visit.
When King Rama I ordered the move of the capital to the Phra Nakhon District in 1782, he established the Grand Palace as the new center of the kingdom. Built in the tradition of Ayutthaya palace, it was located near a river and constructed together with the temple inside, in the example of Wat Phra Si Sanphet. In the past, the Grand Palace was the royal house and the palace for the kind to have an audience with his subjects. Presently, it’s utilized for the royal funerals.
The Grand Palace has been the center of Thai art and culture for more than two centuries. It’s the place where many important Thai cultural events took places, and since those were regarded as the model of every branch of Thai art, the Grand Palace became the worldwide famous tourist attraction. Each year, the architecture in the Grand Palace, that reflect the Thai identity, attract millions tourists. The complex consists of Wat Phra Kaew, Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall, Aphom Phimok Prasat Throne Hall, Phiman Rattaya Throne Hall, and many more. But the highlight building is the the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall or ‘foreigner with Chada (Thai crown)’, where Thai architectural style is mixed with western architectural style harmoniously.
Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall. Photo credit: royalgrandpalace.th/th/home
Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew
Located in the outer court of the Grand Palace, it’s the capital temple which was constructed according to King Rama I, together with the establishment of the Rattanakosin Kingdom and the Grand Palace in 1782. The temple is classified as the supreme temple, the highest temple class in the country. Beside housing the Emerald Buddha, the temple also houses other important statues, and royal ashes of former kings as well. It was also used for performing the important royal rituals.
One of the most remarkable parts of the visit is worshiping and praying to the Emerald Buddha, the palladium which was sculpted from green emerald, was built-in the Chiang Saen-sukhothai style. The Buddha’s clothes are changed seasonally. Additionally, the gorgeousness of the ubosot, whose walls, arch, gates and windows were decorated grandiosely by master craftsmen of the early Rattanakosin, also adds to the experience.
In the cloisters, is the world’s longest mural, depicting the story of Ramakien in a series of 178 images with accompanying poems. Here you do not want to miss photographing yourself together with the Guarding Yaksha of Wat Phra Kaew, which is one of the important landmarks of Bangkok.
Emerald Buddha Image. Photo credit: royalgrandpalace.th/th/home
Guarding Yaksha of Wat Phra Kaew. Photo credit: royalgrandpalace.th/th/home
Best time to avoid the crowd at the palace
The Grand Palace and the Temple of Emerald Buddha is always crowded everyday since it’s a must visit attraction in Bangkok for first time visitors. But if you want to try avoiding the crowds, try visiting the attraction at its opening hour, lunch time where all tourist leave the palace for lunch and the other less crowded period I found was at the last hour before it’s close. These moments are the ones that the site has less visitors. So plan well!
Ordination Hall of the Temple of Emerald Buddha
Coming to Bangkok and not visiting the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha? You will miss the cultural highlight of the Thai tradition. Visiting the attraction with a knowledgeable tour guide will give you an overview history of the Thai culture and enhance your experience. Our knowledgeable tour guides will present you a tour of the palace and the temple and you will leave the attraction with much more understanding of the Thai culture.
Visiting the palace, it’s required that you wear long pants or skirts with knee length and shirts covering shoulders. Using scarfs to wrap around shoulders would not allowed as well as legging pants.
The Grand Palace’s admission ticket is THB 500 per person and is open everyday from 08.30-15.30. It’s never close but sometime it’s close for some royal ceremonies. If you’re there and it’s close, well! You’re the lucky one!