The Grand Palace is a must-visit spot in Bangkok for first-time visitors. It is filled with breath-taking buildings, stunning pavilions, and beautiful gardens.
I have visited Grand Place with my wife and we’re very satisfied with our trip. Don’t worry because I will explain the reasons why through the information below. Surely, this ever-beautiful palace should be added to your list of the best things to do in Bangkok for an adventure you won’t forget.
In this guide, I will share the beautiful photos that we took, along with the must-see things there and some important tips. Also, I will show you 2 ways in getting to Grand Palace via BTS Skytrain and Chao Phraya Express Boat or Bangkok MRT.
So, without any delay, let’s kick start with a summary of the things you can expect at this famous attraction.
Grand Palace Overview
Bangkok’s Grand Palace has always been a favourite among travellers. This large temple complex is known for its magnificent designs and scenic sights.
The sophisticated styles and vibrant colours truly highlight the unique Thai architecture. No wonder it’s always a great place for photo shooting.
Along with that, it served as the official residence of the Thai royal since 1782. Not only that but it also functions as the site for ceremonial occasions and other noteworthy gatherings by the royal family.
After exploring Grand Palace, I recommend that you visit Wat Pho and Wat Arun. These 2 stunning Bangkok temples are very close to the palace. So, for a memorable trip, see this reliable Bangkok itinerary to know how to plot your schedule to visit these 3 beautiful places in just one day.
Must-See Things at the Grand Palace
As you begin your Grand Palace adventure, it’s important that you know everything about the place. So, I have listed down the 12 best things to see at the palace, together with its photos and useful information. Let’s begin with the first one, which is Wat Phra Kaew.
1. Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of The Emerald Buddha)
There’s nothing more perfect than to start your Grand Palace exploration at Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This isn’t just a normal site as it is one of the holiest Buddha temples in Bangkok.
Upon entering the shrine, you’ll catch sight of the most significant religious symbol in Thailand―the Emerald Buddha. Inside, you can pray and pay your respects to the highly respected figure among locals.
But before you get to the main highlight, you’ll pass by the Yakshas or the caretakers of the temples. The giant demon guards, which are sometimes called nature-spirits, are not hard to find because they stand at 20 ft. tall.
So, before or after you explore the place, make sure to marvel at these statues. And of course, take a photo of the stunning decorations and sophisticated pieces around the temple.
2. Prasat Phra Dhepbidorn (The Royal Pantheon)
Continue with the journey and head to Prasat Phra Dhepbidorn, or often called the Royal Pantheon. As one of the striking pavilions in the complex, this place is always a top-notch destination among tourists.
However, visitors can only see the inside of the building during Chakri Day, which is on the 6th of April. One of the things you’ll see inside the building is the life-sized of the kings during the Chakri Dynasty.
But of course, you can still tour around the place and see its stunning external design. And just beside the grand Royal Pantheon are two golden chedis or pagodas that are worth the capture. These pagodas were created by King Rama I in honour of his father and mother.
3. Phra Mondop
Get a glimpse of Phra Mondop―the very own library located at the Grand Palace. From afar, you can already sense the sophistication of the site. Clothed with golden Ayutthaya architectural designs, the building is definitely a head-turner.
Aside from its splendid exterior, the library is recognized for its key Buddhist scriptures. Because of the sacred scriptures inside the building, it never permits visitors into its perimeters.
But on the bright side, you can just wander around the entrance of the structure. One of the beautiful spots you’ll find here is the golden Yaksha statue.
4. Phra Siratana Chedi (Golden Stupa)
Another picturesque site at Grand Palace is the Phra Siratana Chedi or the Golden Stupa. It is located just beside the Phra Mondop on the eastern side of the palace complex.
This massive stupa from the 19th century was built by King Rama IV as a place of worship. Surprisingly, it is unlike most pagodas in the area. If you look closely, its architectural style is like a Sri Lankan design.
5. Model of Angor Wat
Discover a Model of the Angkor Wat within the temple. This stands out among other structures in the area because it’s a realistic replica of another important landmark in the country.
More than that, it demonstrates the communal history between Cambodia and Thailand. So, don’t miss this unique spot and capture its beautiful views.
6. Phra Bussabok
Phra Bussabok consists of four pillars that are enclosed by elephant statues. The pillars shelter the royal symbols and accessories of the kings during the early Bangkok period. Because of its historical significance, make sure you pop by this famous site at the Grand Palace.
Meet the Asurapaksi, a popular mythical creature in Thai traditional belief. This distinct figure is surely one of kind because it has a head of a Yaksha and a body of a bird. This celestial being was said to live in the legendary forest of Himmaphan.
8. Chakri Maha Prasat Hall
Grand Palace is also the home of the Chakri Maha Prasat Hall. Before you enter the building, spend time appreciating its fine-looking architecture. Because of its palace-like design, this site is a great backdrop for your photos.
In the past, this 3-storey structure was used as a royal residence. It was constructed in 1877, featuring a combination of European aesthetics and Thai style. Subsequently, it is now being utilized as a place for state gatherings.
Stroll around the building and enjoy its beautiful displays. And don’t forget to explore all three parts that are interconnected by corridors.
9. Dusit Maha Prasat Hall
Admire the gorgeous Dusit Maha Prasat Hall. This 17th century building is also called the grand spired hall because of its impressive spire designs.
Along with the unique exterior, the place also has a distinct history. Centuries ago, this site served as the primary lying-in-state area for kings and other members of the royal family.
But now, it is considered as one of the revered sites in the country, where the Thai king is generally crowned. During this time, the hall is filled with ancient prayers to welcome the royal family.
10. Phra Wiharn Yod
Phra Wiharn Yod exudes simple yet striking vibes. It may not be as colourful as other pagodas and buildings in the complex but it’s one of the famous sites in the palace complex.
If you watch the building intently, you’ll realize that it outlines the shape of the Thai crown. Aside from that, the structure is actually decorated with porcelain Chinese mosaics. And inside the chapel are many Buddha figures and images.
11. Phra Maha Montian
Phra Maha Montian has one of the most scenic areas in the place. Since you cannot enter the building premises, just enjoy the lush vibes and capture its picturesque layout.
There are 7 connecting buildings that make up the entire structure. Furthermore, the place is not just gorgeous but also very prominent. In fact, it is dubbed as the heart of Siamese royal supremacy, serving as the grand residence of the kings.
12. The Gallery and Ramakien Story
Along the walls of Grand Palace’s buildings, you’ll see the Gallery and Ramakien Story. This historical display illustrates the story of King Ramakien. The King Ramakien story is actually the Thai version of the famous Indian epic called King Ramayan.
Follow the first part of the story, which is located in the opposite area of the Spired Hall. From there, move in a clockwise direction to complete the narration. All these paintings were created back in the 17th century, featuring realistic Thai-style elements.
When visiting the Grand Palace, you should follow appropriate clothing so you won’t violate the rules. Here’s a simple guideline for your easy reference.
Dress code for men:
- Should wear long pants
- Should wear short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts
- Can wear whatever footwear, including sandals, shoes, and flip-flop
- Should not wear short pants even if it covers your knees
- Should not wear sleeveless shirts
- Should not wear clothing with disrespectful image or slogan
Dress code for women:
- Should wear long skirts or long pants that are close to the ankle
- Should wear shirts with sleeve
- Can wear long dresses as long as it covers the shoulders and is close to the ankle
- Can wear whatever footwear, including sandals, shoes, and flip-flop
- Should not wear short and hot pants
- Should not wear tank tops, sleeveless shirts, and vests
- Should not wear short dresses
- Should not wear see-through and torn clothing
- Should not wear leggings or any tight-fitting pants
For you to easily access the Grand Palace, just wear the appropriate clothing such as long pants or long skirt that is close to your ankle. And, wear a sleeved shirt. Very simple, right? 😊
But if you prefer wearing short pants, you can do so as long as you cover your legs properly. Or, you can bring a long pullover pant that you can easily take out and wear when visiting the palace complex.
In case you forget your sarong or pullover pant, you can rent these for a fee from the shop situated across the palace.
Grand Palace Map
To make your tour more convenient, don’t forget to have a Grand Palace guide map. You can get a softcopy of the map here. Simply download the file and save it in your phone so you can navigate the palace with ease.
1. Allocate 2 or 3 hours at the Grand Palace
Ideally, you can complete the palace tour within 2 hours. But, if you can spend 3 hours, that would be more than enough to enjoy all the attractions inside the complex.
2. Visit the palace early in the morning to avoid the crowd
Since Grand Palace is a very popular attraction in Bangkok, the best time to visit the place is during morning. At this time, there are fewer visitors so you can tour around the complex conveniently.
3. Know the schedule of the palace before your visit
There are times when the Grand Palace is not open because of royal ceremonies. Therefore, you should check the palace schedules here before visiting the place so you’ll not waste your time and effort.
4. Beware of tuk-tuk scammers
There could be scammers outside the palace complex, who would inform you that the place is closed. Then, these people would offer you an alternative tour. So before your trip, make sure you check the opening days and verify if the palace is open.
8:30 AM – 3:30 PM
500 Baht per person
*Children below 120 cm are free.
To know more about the history of the palace, there’s an audio guide for rent at the ticketing counter for an additional 200 baht.
This audio guide is available in 8 languages, including English, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, and Thai.
Na Phra Lan Road, Grand Palace, Phranakorn, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
How to Get to Grand Palace in Bangkok
1. By BTS Skytrain and Chao Phraya Express Boat (Recommended)
The cheapest way to go to the Grand Palace is by taking the BTS Skytrain and getting off at Saphan Taksin Station, Exit 2. Then take the Chao Phraya Express Boat (costs 15 Baht) at Sathorn Pier, which will take you to Tha Chang Pier. The palace is just a 3-minute walk from Tha Chang Pier.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting to the palace by BTS and boat.
1. The very first step is to take the Silom Line going to Saphan Taksin Station. Once you alight at Saphan Taksin BTS Station, head to the Exit 2 of the station.
2. Take the stairs going down at the Exit 2 of Saphan Taksin BTS Station.
3. Just walk straight for less than a minute, and then you’ll find Sathorn Pier on your left side.
4. Continue walking and you’ll come across the ticketing booth selling the Chao Phraya Express Boat ticket.
5. Just look for the booth with a label “Chao Phraya Express Boat (Orange Flag)”. The Orange Flag Boat fare is at 15 Baht per person for one-way. This is the fixed price regardless of the jetty where you will get off.
6. After you purchase your ticket, head to the queue for the Chao Phraya Express Boat (Orange Flag). The boat will take you from Sathorn Pier to Tha Chang Pier for around 18 minutes. There will be a signboard that displays the pier name so you’ll know when to get off the boat.
7. Once you get off the boat at Tha Chang Pier, head out to the pier and go straight.
8. From there, you’ll find a pedestrian walkway on the left side. Keep walking on the left lane for around 3 minutes, and then you’ll see the entrance of the Grand Palace on the right. There’s a pedestrian crossing to allow you to travel across the road from the left lane to the right.
Chao Phraya Express Boat (Orange Flag):
- Departs every 10 to 20 minutes
- Operating hours: 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM
To give you a more detailed route from Saphan Taksin BTS Station to the Grand Palace, see the Google Maps below.
2. By MRT
Another way reach the Grand Palace is by taking Bangkok MRT. And, the nearest MRT Station to the palace is Sanam Chai Station, Exit 1. It will take you about 15 minutes’ walk to the palace from the station.
If you’re from Sanam Chai Station, check the Google Maps below to have a clearer picture of the route going to the palace.
3. Join a Guided Tour
Because of the proximity of Grand Palace to Wat Pho and Wat Arun, most travellers would visit these 3 Bangkok sights in one day.
If you don’t have enough time to plan your visit, you can take this Grand Palace tour in Bangkok. The tour will bring you to visit these 3 attractions so you won’t have to deal with public transportations.
Also, the assembly location of the day tour can be easily located. It’s just outside of Victory Monument BTS Station, Exit 2, making it very convenient for tourists.