The Grand Palace in Bangkok


The Grand Palace

Every visitor to Bangkok should pay a visit to the magnificent buildings within the Grand Palace compound to get a feeling of the grandeur architectural style. Since the founding of Bangkok as the Nation’s capital by King Rama I. The grand palace has been the major architectural symbol of The Thai Royal family. It was designed in 1882 by British architects, in a style that could be described as traditional Thai meets Italian Renaissance. In the present time, The Royal Family resides at Chitralada Palace as The Grand Palace is used for ceremonial purposes.

Located at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand, the Grand Palace was a former residence for King Rama I to King Rama V of the Rattanakosin Kingdom. Today, the place is used for hosting royal ceremonies and welcoming the king's guests, State guests, and other foreign dignitaries. It is also a place where remains of kings and high-ranked members of the royal family were situated before cremation.


The Grand Palace, Bangkok


The Grand Palace

The grand palace complex can be mainly divided into two zones, which are the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the royal residence.

Wat Phra Kaew, or Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is Thailand’s most sacred Buddhist place of worship. Visitors can go inside to see the Emerald Buddha, carved not of emerald but of semiprecious green stone, robed in gold and around 66 centimeters (26 inches) high. His Majesty the king of Thailand will change the Buddha's robe according to the season, which is an important ceremony in the Buddhist calendar.

Layout and orientation of the Grand Palace

The royal residence complex can be divided into three major areas: the Outer Court, the Middle Court, and the Inner Court. The Outer Court starts from Wiset Chai Si Gate to Phiman Chai Si Gate and includes the inner walls of the Grand Palace. It is now the location of several state offices such as the Bureau of the Royal Household, Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary, and the Office of the Royal Institute.

The Middle Court starts from Phiman Chai Si Gate to Sanam Ratchakit Gate. The area is where significant royal ceremonies are held such as the Royal Coronation and the Royal Ceremony of Coronation Day. Situated in the Middle Court area are the Phra Maha Monthien Buildings, the Chakri Maha Prasat Buildings, the Phra Maha Prasat Buildings, and the Siwalai Gardens quarter.

The Inner Court starts from Sanam Ratchakit Gate to Thaew Teng, the row houses which were formerly palace walls during the reign of King Rama I. The southern area of the Inner Court was then a female-only zone; no man except for the king was allowed to get into the area, where the queens, consorts, consort mothers, and daughters of the king lived together with many ladies-in-waiting and servants. The area no longer served as a residence nowadays.

Although the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew are close to each other, there is a sharp contrast in style between the Thai temple and the more European Grand Palace design. Other highlights include Boromabiman Hall and Amarinda Hall, the original residence of King Rama I and the Hall of Justice.


The Grand Palace, Bangkok


Important notes about visiting the Grand Palace

Tips: Please dress properly (no bare feet or tank tops allowed) to show condolence to the Roy family and Buddha. Men and women alike should wear modest clothing that covers the knees and shoulders. Inside the Grand Palace area there is another Bangkok attraction called the Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations and Coins, where Thai coins and regalia are on display.

The place is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and tickets are 500 baht (around $15) for foreign visitors. There's an online booking portal for tickets, though we’ve found it to be cumbersome; the entrance lines move quickly enough.

Note: One of the most common scams in Bangkok is a tuk-tuk, or taxi driver, telling visitors the palace is closed and instead offering them a tour to nearby temples or shopping areas.


Dress Code for The Grand Palace


About Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (officially known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram) is regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. Located in the historic centre of Bangkok, within the grounds of the Grand Palace, it enshrines Phra Kaew Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), the highly revered Buddha image meticulously carved from a single block of jade. The image can also be called Phra Putta Maha Mani Ratana Patimakorn and is in the meditating position. Its design is in the style of the Lanna school of the north.

Constructed in 1784, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) is home to the Emerald Buddha, which is widely considered the most important Buddha statue in Thailand. The temple is open to the public when not being used for important religious ceremonies by the royal family.

The official name of Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok is Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram (Temple of the Holy Jewel Buddha). Wat Phra Kaew became the royal chapel in 1784, just two years after King Rama I moved the capital across the Chao Phraya River to the site of present-day Bangkok. The temple complex was constructed on the grounds of the Grand Palace and has been improved upon over the centuries by a series of Thai kings who left impressive contributions.


Wat Phra Kaew


Royal Reception Halls

Amarinda Hall, the original residence of King Rama I and the Hall of Justice. Nowadays, it's impressive interior is used for ceremonial occasions and coronations. It contains the antique throne, used before the Western style one presently in use.

This building has not been used for royal residence since the mysterious death of King Rama VIII (the older brother of the current King), found shot dead in his room in 1946. The reverence for the monarchy in Thailand means that, even today, this remains a completely taboo subject to talk publicly about in Thailand.

Also, the impressive Dusit Hall has been rated as perhaps the best architectural building in this style. And there is a museum which has information on the restoration of the Grand Palace, different models of the Wat and Palace and a number of Buddha images.