The Grand Palace is a must-visit spot in Bangkok because of its religious and historical significance―not to mention its beautiful architectural designs and scenic sights.
From afar, you can see this large complex filled with breath-taking buildings, stunning pavilions, and beautiful gardens. These include the remarkable Wat Phra Kaew, which holds that most sacred Emerald Buddha from the 14th century.
So, let me share with you everything I know about the ever-beautiful Grand Palace and my experience of visiting there. I will list down the attractions you can see at the Grand Palace through some beautiful pictures and useful information. Aside from this, you’ll also know how to get there easily.
Let’s check out why you should visit this famous attraction in Bangkok and what things you can see at there.
Why the Grand Palace Is So Popular in Bangkok
The Grand Palace is definitely a must-visit destination in Bangkok. This attraction is more than just a beautiful tourist spot; it’s an important site that illustrates the country’s historical and cultural wonders.
Within the palace grounds, you will have a glimpse of towering structures with sophisticated designs and vibrant colours. And because of its significance, it serves as the site for ceremonial occasions and other noteworthy gatherings by the royal family.
Here are the 5 reasons why Grand Palace is a well-known attraction among tourists.
- It is one of the official residences of the Thai royal.
- It is considered as the holiest of all Buddhist temples in the country.
- It houses some of Thailand’s most religious shrines and ancient treasures.
- It showcases the sophistication and uniqueness of Thai architecture to the entire world.
- It is a great place for photo shooting because it is surrounded by many beautiful spots that are worth the capture.
So, are you ready to know more about the Grand Palace? Let me walk you through the beautiful attractions waiting for you at this famous site.
The Grand Palace’s Beautiful Attractions
The Temple of The Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)
The most popular spot at the Grand Palace is Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of The Emerald Buddha. It’s one of the holiest Buddha temple in the country. This temple houses the most significant religious symbol of Thailand―the Emerald Buddha.
Legend says that the Emerald Buddha originated in India during the 15th century. And according to Nagasena, a noteworthy Buddhist sage, this Buddha image would shower prosperity and power to the country it resides.
The Emerald Buddha was relocated a couple of times, and it was during the 18th century that it settled in Thailand. Because of this, Wat Phra Kaew is considered a very blessed and highly respected place in the country.
Protecting the Wat Phra Kaew are the towering demon guards that are around 20 ft. tall. These sculptures are sometimes called Yakshas, or the nature-spirits.
In the 14th century, Yakshas are dubbed to be the caretakers of the temples, protecting the gates from harm and evil. Fast forward to the current century, these colourful guardians still hold great importance for many Buddhist sites in the country.
Before you enter the Emerald Buddha Temple, take time to marvel at the intricate external decorations. Here, you’ll find the cultural artistry of the locals through the sophisticated pieces and designs covering the temple.
The Emerald Buddha has three sets of costumes to observe the three seasons in the country―summer, rainy, and winter. The summer and rainy attires were created by King Rama I, while the winter costume was made by King Rama II. And it is the King of Thailand who is assigned to change the costumes during the changing of the seasons.
The Royal Pantheon (Prasat Phra Dhepbidorn)
But of course, the Grand Palace has something more to offer. The Royal Pantheon is one of the many open pavilions that feature the superb Thai craftsmanship.
The Royal Pantheon, or sometimes called as Prasat Phra Thep Bidorn, showcases the stunning Khmer style. This was built to honour the Chakri Dynasty. Hence, there are life-sized statues of the kings from the said period inside the building.
The Royal Pantheon, however, is often off-limits whole year-round. It only opens its doors to the public once a year, during the Chakri Day, which is every April 6.
Beside the grand Royal Pantheon are two Golden Chedis, or pagodas. These pagodas are created by King Rama I in honour of his father and mother.
The Chedis are quite an attraction, not just because of its glittering gold colours but also the striking Yaksha statues that support the pagodas.
These multi-coloured demons dressed in sparkling costumes surround the golden Chedis. Because of the vibrant designs, these statues can be a great backdrop for your photos.
The Grand Palace has its own library, which is called the Phra Mondop. The exterior of the building is clothed with the sophisticated Ayutthaya architectural design. And inside the library are key Buddhist scriptures.
Because of the sacred scriptures inside the building, Phra Mondop never permits visitors into its perimeters. Since it’s not open to the public, you can just wander around the entrance of the structure, where you can find a golden Yaksha statue.
Golden Stupa (Phra Siratana Chedi)
Beside the Phra Mondop is a golden stupa from the 19th century. Unlike most pagodas in the palace complex, this one highlights a unique Sri Lankan architectural style. The golden stupa, or also called the Phra Siratana Chedi, was built by King Rama IV.
Phra Asadha Maha Chedi is one of the towers on the east side of the palace complex. This was constructed during the period of King Rama I as a place for worship.
The Statue of Cheewok Komaraphat
The Statue of Cheewok Komaraphat was created to honour the country’s father of medicine. Aside from being the patron of Thai herbal medicine, Cheewok Komaraphat was the medical advisor of the Lord Buddha. In front of his statue, you can find his healing equipment―a mortar and a grinding stone.
Model of Angor Wat
Did you know that you can find a model of the Angkor Wat within the Grand Palace complex? This structure demonstrates the communal history between Cambodia and Thailand.
Ho Rakhang, or the belfry tower, is another must-see structure in the palace complex. Decorated with stunning porcelain mosaics of green and blue, the building was made by King Rama IV.
The bell on the belfry tower has a significant purpose. It is rung only when a new Thai ruler is nominated.
Hor Phra Monthian Dharma and Phra Bussabok
Put up by the younger brother of King Rama I, the Hor Phra Monthian Dharma is another library within the palace. Inside this structure are various Buddhist scriptures that track down some important information about the country’s history.
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.
In Thai traditional belief, Asurapaksi is a mythical creature with the head of a Yaksha and a body of a bird. This celestial being was said to live in the legendary forest of Himmaphan.
Phra Wiharn Yod
Phra Wiharn Yod may not be as colourful as other pagodas and buildings in the complex. But, it features some beautiful Chinese mosaics that resembles like that of the Thai crown. This chapel houses the Phra Naga, along with other Buddha images.
Along the walls of the buildings in the temple, you’ll see a historical gallery that illustrates the story of King Ramakien. The King Ramakien story is actually the Thai version of the famous Indian epic called King Ramayan.
The first part of the story is located in the opposite area of the Spired Hall. From there, move in a clockwise direction to complete the narration.
There are over a hundred murals that showcase some realistic Thai architectural elements, including local palaces and temples in the country. These paintings were created back in the 17th century; hence, regular maintenance is required to keep these in good condition.
Phra Maha Montian
Phra Maha Montian is a group of 7 connecting buildings. It is dubbed to be the heart of Siamese royal supremacy because it is the grand residence of the kings.
The Phra Thinang Amarindra Winitchai Mahai Suraya Phiman, or also called as the Amarindra Winitchai Hall, is one of the 7 connecting buildings. This area was constructed in the 17th century by King Rama I to serve as a formal audience hall.
Chakri Maha Prasat Hall
Constructed in 1877, Chakri Maha Prasat Hall was once a royal residence. Centuries after, this 3-storey building is now being used as a place for state gatherings. All three parts of the building are interconnected by corridors.
The outside of Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat is a fine-looking landscape that is great for your photos.
Another striking attraction inside the Grand Palace complex that you should explore is the Rajkaranyasapha Hall. This building is just beside the Dusit Maha Prasat Hall.
Dusit Maha Prasat Hall
The architectural style of Dusit Maha Prasat Hall is clearly something that you shouldn’t miss. This 17th century building is also called as the grand spired hall. It is used as a primary lying-in-state area for kings and other members of the royal family.
Sometimes, Dusit Maha Prasat Hall is the place where the Thai king is crowned. During this time, the hall is filled with ancient prayers to welcome the royal family.
Museum of the Emerald Buddha Temple
The Museum of the Emerald Buddha Temple presents some interesting artifacts, including white elephants from former kings and old costumes of Emerald Buddha. Aside from these, you’ll see an older model of the Grand Palace, along with the current architectural style of the temple.
Just beside the Museum of the Emerald Buddha Temple, you’ll find some cannons and other historical pieces used for the royal armoury.
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles
Lastly, there’s the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles―a structure that displays a beautiful collection of textile products from the ancient period. This stylish museum is often the last stop among tourists visiting the Grand Palace.
Dress Code at the Grand Palace
When visiting the Grand Palace, you should follow appropriate clothing so you won’t violate the rules. Unlike other temples like Wat Pho and Wat Arun, the Grand Palace has a stricter dress code.
In Wat Pho and Wat Arun temples, you can wear short pants that cover your knees. However, in the palace complex, this is strictly prohibited. Not only that, if you are wearing a sleeveless top, you are not allowed to use scarves to cover your shoulders.
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 complex, 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.
And if you are wearing the appropriate clothing, you can also explore nearby temples like Wat Pho and Wat Arun. These three attractions are located close to each other, so you can visit all of them in one day!
The Grand Palace Entrance Fee and Opening Hours
8:30 AM – 3:30 PM
500 Baht per person (Included the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew admission)
*Children below 120 cm are free.
To know more about the history of the Grand 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.
The Grand Palace Guide Map
To make your tour more convenient, don’t forget to have a Grand Palace guide map. You can get a softcopy of the Grand Palace map here. Simply download the file and save it in your phone so you can navigate the attractions with ease.
In case you forget to download the file, don’t worry because you can get a hardcopy of the palace map for free. These are located at the entry gate of the complex.
5 Important Tips for Visiting the Grand Palace
1. How long do you need to spend 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 Grand Palace early in the morning to avoid the crowd
The Grand Palace is a top-rated tourist spot in Bangkok with more visitors compared to Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Since it’s a very popular attraction, 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 Grand 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 Grand Palace, 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 Grand Palace opening days here and verify if the palace is open.
5. Are you aware that the Grand Palace is actually near Wat Pho and Wat Arun?
Aside from the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun are also top tourist spots in Bangkok, with over millions of visitors every year.
Each of these temples has its own features that make it popular among tourists. So, don’t forget to visit all three spots during your trip to Bangkok.
And, you won’t have a hard time exploring these attractions because they are closely located to each other. This means you can visit and enjoy these temples in one day.
That’s what I did during my holiday in Bangkok―I visited the Grand Palace first, then Wat Pho, and lastly Wat Arun. This is the most suggested route if you want to cover all 3 attractions in one day.
How to Get to Grand Palace
By BTS and Boat
The cheapest way to get to the Grand Palace is by taking the BTS Skytrain and getting off at Saphan Taksin BTS Station, Exit 2.
From Saphan Taksin BTS Station (Exit 2), you’ll have to walk to Sathorn Pier for around a minute. And then, you’ll find the Chao Phraya Express Boat counter.
From Sathorn Pier, take the Orange Flag Boat (Chao Phraya Express Boat), which will take you to Tha Chang Pier. The Grand Palace is just a 3-minute walk from Tha Chang Pier.
So, let’s see the step-by-step guide below to know how to reach the Grand Palace via BTS Skytrain and Boat.
A Very Detailed Guide on Getting to the Grand Palace by BTS and Orange Flag Boat
1. The very first step is to take the Silom Line going to Saphan Taksin BTS Station.
2. Once you alight at Saphan Taksin BTS Station, head to the Exit 2 of the station. The Sathorn Pier is just a walking distance from the station.
3. Take the stairs going down at the Exit 2 of Saphan Taksin BTS Station.
4. Just walk straight for less than a minute, and then you’ll find Sathorn Pier on your left side.
5. Continue walking and you’ll come across the ticketing booth selling the Orange Flag Boat ticket.
6. You won’t have a hard time finding the ticketing booth. 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.
7. After you purchase your ticket, head to the queue for the Orange Flag Boat. 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.
8. Once you get off the Orange Flag Boat at Tha Chang Pier, head out to the pier and go straight.
9. 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.
To give you a more detailed route from Saphan Taksin BTS Station to the Grand Palace, see the Google Maps below.
The another way to go to the Grand Palace is by taking 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 Sanam Chai MRT Station, Exit 1.
If you’re from Sanam Chai MRT Station, check the Google Maps below to have a clearer picture of the route going to the Grand Palace.
Take a Tour to the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Pho
Because of the proximity of the Grand Palace to Wat Pho and Wat Arun, most travellers would visit these 3 attractions in one day.
And that’s what I personally did during my trip to Bangkok. Exploring the 3 tourist spots together is perfect for those who are on a tight schedule.
More so, if you don’t have enough time to plan your visit, it’s highly recommended that you just take a Grand Palace tour in Bangkok. The tour is the best way to cover all 3 attractions because you won’t have to deal with public transportations.
Not only that, the tour allows you to enjoy the longtail boat cruise along the Chao Phraya River. With this, you’ll witness some beautiful and iconic city landmarks! Hence, you will explore the famous tourist spots with ease and comfort.
The tour is more convenient because it is led by a professional local tour guide, who is very knowledgeable about the attractions in Bangkok.
Also, the assembly location of the tour can be easily located. It’s just outside of Victory Monument BTS Station, Exit 2, making it very convenient for tourists.
So, if you want to enjoy all these advantages, simply take the tour, relax, and enjoy the beautiful sights!
To help you decide, you can read the reviews here made by previous travellers who have took the tour.
Visiting the Grand Palace Nearby Attractions Guide
1. The Grand Palace to Wat Pho
If you’re done touring the Grand Palace complex, there’s no better adventure than to visit Wat Pho. Both attractions are closely located to each other―perhaps just 12 minutes away.
To help you navigate from the Grand Palace to Wat Pho easily, simply check the Google Maps below.
2. The Grand Palace to Wat Arun
For those who are visiting the Grand Palace, you can explore next the breath-taking Wat Arun. Just like Wat Pho, the Grand Palace is just a walking distance to the Tha Tien Pier―roughly around 11 minutes.
Then from Tha Tien Pier, you will just have to take the cross-river ferry going to Wat Arun temple. The boat ride will take around 3 minutes only. And fare for the cross-river ferry boat fare, it is 4 Baht per person. This can be purchased on-site at the pier.
To help you on your way to Wat Arun from the Grand Palace, check out the Google Maps below. Through this, it will be easier for you to navigate the area.
The Grand Palace is nothing short of impressive. So, don’t miss this chance to visit all the palace top-rated attractions and have a memorable trip.
With all its spectacular sceneries and ancient fragments, the Grand Palace continues to be one of the most famous landmarks in Bangkok.
Thank you for reading my blog about the Grand Palace and I hope you find it helpful for your future trip.
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Once again, thank you and wishing you a great and memorable trip to the Grand Palace!