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Grand Palace

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On the banks of the Chao Praya River lies the imposing structure of the Grand Palace complex of Bangkok. Home to the Kings of Siam, later the Kings of Thailand, between 1782 and 1925, the elaborate palace is still in use as offices and for state functions, although part of the complex is also open to visitors as a museum. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) inside the palace complex is especially worth a visit.
Miriam DewamBy Miriam Dewam
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With Audio Guide

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Grand Palace self-guided walking audio tour
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musement.com
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Guided Tours

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Bangkok: City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour
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Bangkok: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun Private Tour
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Bangkok: Grand Palace & Wat Pho Half-Day Private Tour
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Grand Palace, Damnoen Floating Market & Maeklong Market Tour
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Specials

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The Ultimate Grand Palace Private Day Trip
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7 tips for visiting the Grand Palace

Demon guards at the Grand Palace | Photo: Unsplash, Rafa Prada - CC-BY-SA 2.0
1
Be there early in the morningAs the palace complex can already be visited from 8:30 am, it is recommended to visit the sight early to avoid the tourist crowds. Please note that especially on weekends an increased crowds are to be expected. Like any temple, the Royal Palace is open daily. If you are informed outside the palace that it is closed, you can safely ignore this information. This is just a tourist trap.
Constant repairs at the Royal Palace | Photo: Unsplash, Jochen van Wylick - CC-BY-SA 2.0
2
Take your time and book a guided tourSince the area of the Royal Palace is particularly large and has a lot to offer, you should plan at least two to three hours for the visit. We also recommend booking a guided tour to learn more about the history of the palace. Even though the palace is already closed at nightfall, the Chao Phraya River offers an incomparable view of the illuminated palace.
3
Dress appropriatelyAlthough the high temperatures tempt you, you should follow the strict dress code, just like in any temple, royal palace, and on official occasions. Clothing should cover knees and shoulders, also pay attention to your feet! Since feet are considered unclean in Thailand, they must also be covered. The best choice are closed shoes, long trousers and a long top. If you forget, you can borrow shoes and capes at the entrance for a small extra charge.
4
Pay attention to your shoesSince it is necessary to take off shoes upon entering a temple, you should definitely remember where you place them. With dozens of shoes you can quickly lose track, while looking for your own pair, or not immediately rediscover them at the first moment.
Monks at the Grand Palace | Photo: Unsplash, Euan Cameron - CC-BY-SA 2.0
5
Rules for the weekendEspecially on weekends the number of visitors to the royal palace is high, mainly because Thais like to use the palace on these days for prayer meetings, so the number of visitors is not only limited to tourists. Even then, the sight remains open for tourist visits, but one should meet the prayers with the necessary respect and take the tour in peace.
Guard changing at the Royal Palace | Photo: Unsplash, Mos Sukjaroenkraisri - CC-BY-SA 2.0
6
Watch the guard changeNear the exit is the Chakri Palace, which also houses the Weapons Museum; it is filled with lances, firearms and swords. However, the museum can be visited only during the week. An opulent guard change takes place daily every hour here.
7
Get a royal souvenir with extra valueThe Doi Kham Shop, located by the only café on the grounds of the Royal Palace, offers products which are manufactured in royal factories, among others. The three royal factories are located in the north and east of the country and follow the king's sustainable philosophy, as the revenue from sales benefits farmers, communities and society.
At the Grand Palace | Photo: Juan Antonio Segal - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The origin of the Royal Palace

The spacious palace, also known as the Grand Palace, consists of over 100 buildings covering an area of almost 200,000m² (2,153,000 ft²), making it the largest temple complex in Thailand. In addition to countless temples, the beautifully decorated statues also cast a spell over visitors - there is no comparable picturesque complex across Bangkok.

The role model

The Grand Palace replicates the old palace in Ayutthaya, which was destroyed by the Burmese. Many of the building materials were even reused from the old palace to construct the new one. After only three years, the palace was officially opened as the new residence of the king and remained so from 1782 to 1946. Today, the Royal Palace is used for ceremonial purposes as well as official celebrations, also some royal offices can be still found here. Since the Royal Palace was built, it has been constantly expanded and renovated.

The importance of courts

The Grand Palace's purpose was to offer living and working space, for this purpose various courtyards were created, which all fulfilled a certain function: the Central Court, the Inner Court, the Outer Court and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo or Wat Phra Kaew). The Central Court is the showpiece of the royal palace, where royal chambers as well as throne rooms were located, even today the coronation ceremonies take place here. Surrounded by high walls, the Inner Courtyard served as a harem reserved solely for the king's queens and consorts and their servants. Thus, this courtyard was also guarded by female guards. Ministries were located in the Outer Court, along with the Treasury as well as royal guards.

The Wat Phra Kaew Temple

In a temple decorated with gold, surrounded by elaborately decorated walls showing the life of Buddha, the Emerald Buddha rests on a throne 11m (36 ft) high. He is a symbol of Thailand that is as important as it is religious, making him a sanctuary. Certainly its name misleads some, because it is made of jade. The just 75cm (30 inch) high Buddha is wrapped in new robes every four months according to the season.

The westerner with Thai hat

The Chakri Maha Prasat, which served as the king's residence and is now an architecturally recognized landmark in Thailand, is among the most outstanding buildings. The origin of the atypical design can be found with the actual architect John Clunish, who was British. Initially, a domed roof was to adorn the building, but eventually the roof was replaced by a traditional one. Due to its unusual appearance, the building was nicknamed "the Westerner with a Thai hat".
Phra Mondop Library | Photo: Unsplash, AXP Photography - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Phra Mondop

In addition, the elaborately designed buildings includes the Phra Mondop, a small library that houses Buddhist palm scriptures. Outside, 16 columns support the roof of the library, which has been decorated with green and blue mirror tiles on which small carvings of Buddha can be found. The bookshelves in the Phra Mondop were richly decorated with mother of pearl, even the floor is out of silver.
Yaks decorating the temple | Photo: Unsplash, Rach Teo - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The fairy tale world

Besides pointed roofs decorated with gold, religious statues, so-called yaks, as well as statues, figures and images of mythical creatures await you. For the 100th anniversary of the royal palace, 14 golden statues were made. No matter where you look - walls, ceilings and floors - the palace has a lot of Southeast Asian art to offer!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Grand Palace barrier-free accessible?

This sight is barrier-free. At the entrance is the checkroom located where wheelchairs can be borrowed free of charge. Read more.

Are there any parking facilities?

Please note that the premises do not offer parking spaces. Read more.

Are there any dining options at the Grand Palace?

On the premises of the Grand Palace there is a café (Doi Kham Shop), which is located inside the Attavijana Sala. It is open daily from 7:30 am to 4 pm and offers cold and hot drinks as well as snacks and numerous products for sale. Read more.

Is an audio guide available at this attraction?

The Grand Palace offers an audio guide, which can be purchased for an additional ฿200. It is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian and Thai. Please note that a passport or credit card must be provided for rental. Read more.

What do I have to consider when booking a ticket?

Tickets purchased online are only valid on the specified day. The issued ticket cannot be returned, refunded, exchanged or adjusted. Please note that the ticket can be purchased only one month in advance. Read more.

Is there a souvenir store?

The Royal Palace has a souvenir store, which offers exclusive designs of polo shirts, pants, notebooks, pens and stationery, among other things. Read more.

Is it allowed to take photos and videos of the Palace?

For personal purposes, videos and photos may be taken during the visit. Please note that drones are prohibited. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The Grand Palace is open daily from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.

tickets

Tickets can be purchased on-site at a cost of ฿ 500 per person. Please note that tickets purchased online must be purchased at least 24 hours prior to pickup.

discounts

Children shorter than 120cm (47 inches) can visit the Royal Palace free of charge. Thai citizens can get a free entrance to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew by showing an appropriate ID.

address

Grand Palace
Na Phra Lan Road
Phranakorn (Rattanakosin)
Bangkok 10200

website

Official site: https://www.royalgrandpalace.th/

how to get there

The easiest way to arrive at the palace is by boat. You can take the Chao Phraya Express Boat (orange flag) to Tha Tien pier (N8), where you can either walk to the palace or, in 10 more minutes, make it to Wat Pho. The following buses also stop at the Grand Palace: 1, 3, 9, 15, 25, 30, 32, 33, 43, 44, 47, 53, 59, 64, 80, 82, 91, 203, 503, 508, and 512. There are also private car parks available in the area where you can park for a fee. We do not recommend traveling by tuk tuk, as the price is a matter of bargaining and it is much harder to negotiate an appropriate price as a tourist.
Miriam Dewam
Written byMiriam DewamMiriam is keen on traveling and has a passion for photography, which she can enhance through her cross-media studies. She uses her knowledge as well as first hand experience from diverse travels to help other travellers as a content creator at TicketLens.
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