The Grand Palace is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bangkok. A trip to Bangkok would be incomplete without visiting the Grand Palace, in fact, it’s a must-see for any first-timer to the city.
Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Grand Palace is an architectural symbol of Thailand. The palace was constructed in 1782 during the reign of King Rama I, the founder of Chakri Dynasty, and it served as the royal residence of the Kings of Siam until 1925. The Grand Palace is now used for official events such as royal ceremonies and state functions. The present monarch of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej currently resides at Chitralada Palace.
One thing I love about Bangkok is the ease of travelling to the main attractions within the city. BTS (Skytrain), MRT and river boat networks are easily interconnected, and the signages are very clear. The same is also clearly outlined in tourist maps, thus tourists would be able to understand and decide which place to visit and how to get there.
To get to the Grand Palace:
- Catch the BTS at Siam station heading to Bang Wa.
- Alight at Saphan Taksin station and exit to Central Pier to catch the river boat.
- Hop on to the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat to get to the Grand Palace. A Day Pass costs THB150 which gives you unlimited rides.
- Alight at Tha Tien Pier (N8) for the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. From there, it is a short walk to the palace.
There is a strict dress code when entering the Grand Palace (including Temple of the Emerald Buddha). No tank tops, see-through clothes, bare shoulders and no shorts. Shoulders and knees must be covered. However, if you are improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entrance that provides you clothes to cover you up properly (I believe a deposit is required).
Because of the strict dress code, do expect some kind of commotion at the entrance as every visitor would be screened for improper dressing. Such visitors would be called upon, prevented from entering the Palace grounds and directed to the booth to rent clothes to cover up.
I understand that not all tourists were informed of the dress code but I saw a woman wrapped a hotel towel around her shorts so that it could cover her knees! Needless to say, she was spotted and immediately was directed to the booth to rent clothes. A thought struck my mind – she obviously knew about the dress code but couldn’t she wear pants, a longer pair of shorts or a long skirt to cover her knees? Instead she brought the hotel towel!
Opening Hours & Entrance Fees
Opening Hours: 8.30am-3.30pm daily except during special royal ceremonies.
Entrance Fees: THB500 inclusive access to Wat Phra Kaeo, The Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion and Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile which are located within the Grand Palace compound, and to Vimanmek Mansion Museum.
If you wish to rent a personal audio guide, the fee is additional THB100.
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace comprises numerous buildings, halls, pavilions, gardens and courtyards. It is partially open to the public as a museum but it remains a working palace with several royal offices situated inside.
The walls of the Royal Monastery grounds are painted with scenes from the Ramakien. The walls were painted since the reign of King Rama I, and have had been restored several times.