I’ve been to Bangkok a lot of times already, but I’ve never visited Grand Palace until April of this year. I thought that it would be just another overrated tourist destination, but I was wrong.
I was staying in Khao San Road and one lazy morning I decided to go to the Grand Palace. It wasn’t near though but at the same time, not that far as well. I decided to walk from my hostel to the palace. I was about to cross the main road when a local guy asked me for the time. After giving him the information that he needed, he asked me where I was going.
“The Grand Palace,” I said.
“It’s close on weekends,” he replied.
I was puzzled, because it wasn’t mentioned in any guidebook nor in any internet sites that I’ve checked. He suggested another place where I could go but I just ignored what he said and I crossed the street. The weird thing was, he went the other way around. It was totally weird. I couldn’t figure out why he crossed the street and waited there just to cross back.
Well, what the heck. My gut told me I was on the right track anyway. I was getting a bit paranoid though that it might be closed until I reached the main gate. There’s a small sign there warning the tourists and travelers alike about scammers saying that the Grand Palace is close. So that’s what it’s all about. Some scammers are giving wrong information so they could extort money from travelers.
I paid the entrance (I couldn’t remember the exact cost) and went to a booth where I borrowed a pair of long pants. I didn’t know that there’s a strict dress code for visitors. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves. If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks (in other words, no bare feet.) Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders, etc.
As I walk in the complex of the Grand Palace, beautiful structures started to unravel themselves in front of me. It is so beautiful. It’s probably one of the most beautiful man made structure that I’ve ever seen in my life.
Some facts about the Grand Palace from Wikipedia
“The Grand Palace (Thai: Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang) is a complex of buildings in Bangkok, Thailand. It served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th century onwards. Construction of the Palace began in 1782, during the reign of King Rama I, when he moved the capital across the river from Thonburi to Bangkok. The Palace has been constantly expanded and many additional structures were added over time. The present King of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, however, resides at the Chitralada Palace.”
Aside from the Grand Palace, I also went to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. You don’t have to pay anything extra because it’s already part of what you initially paid for.
Some facts about the Emerald Buddha from Wikipedia
“The Emerald Buddha (Thai: Phra Kaeo Morakot, or official name – Phra Phuttha Maha Mani Rattana Patimakon) is the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand, a figurine of the sitting Buddha, made of green jade (rather than emerald), clothed in gold, and about 45 cm tall. It is kept in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.”
I wasn’t able to take a good picture of it though because cameras aren’t allowed inside this temple. But it is indeed magnificent to behold such an icon of high historical and material value. According to legend, it was created around 43 BC in India and went from one country to another until it reached Thailand .
I went to other sights and temples as well on that day, but nothing struck me the most than the beauty of Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha.
Here’s a couple more pictures