Adventures of an English teacher living and teaching in Thailand.
Published May 21st 2016
In the footsteps of ancient Kings
For an absolutely awe-inspiring experience, the Grand Palace on the banks of the Chao Phraya river is the place to be. Home of the Kings of Siam since 1782, the Grand Palace has some breathtaking architecture, landscaping and ancient frescoes for the visitor to admire and enjoy. Visitors enter the palace grounds through the Phimanchaisri Gate into the palace complex.
Although the present king, His majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX, does not reside in the Grand Palace, there are a number of active offices of government in the Grand Palace complex. The famous Wat Phra Kaew temple, or Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is also located on the palace grounds. The Emerald Buddha has occupied a place of honour in the Wat Phra Kaew temple since the 14th century. Truly a very special and inspiring sight to see.
Rather than one central building, the Grand Palace consists of a number of loose-standing buildings, museums and temples arranged in an open plan around a central court. The architecture, of course, is breathtakingly beautiful and perfectly maintained, but the formal gardens between the buildings are also an unforgettable experience in themselves.
When planning a visit to the Grand Palace, please remember that it is better to visit during weekdays when it should be less crowded. Be prepared to walk a lot, so wear comfortable shoes, but no flip-flops please, and as with any visit to temples or holy places in Bangkok, please dress respectfully to the culture. Shoulders and knees should be covered at all times. The heat and sun can be quite fierce during the day, so be sure to put on sunscreen, wear a hat and drink a lot of water during your visit. The Grand Palace is open daily from 8h30 to 15h30 and the entrance fee is 500 baht per person. Be aware of scammers telling you that the palace is closed due to some religious holiday, and offering to take you to another temple for a fee.
The Grand Palace is truly an unforgettable experience. So try and ignore the crowds, forget the heat and immerse yourself in the splendour and mystery of ancient Siam as you wander around the paths and halls. Close your eyes and hear the faint whisper of footsteps echoing over the cool tiles at your feet where the royal Kings of Siam have trod for hundreds of years.