** This is a part of a series of posts about my blog trip to Thailand. **
We were still buzzing with activity on the fourth day of the blogger’s trip to Thailand. Today there’s a hotel transfer, day trips to the Royal Grand Palace in Bangkok and a cruise along Chao Praya river.
The dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, undoubtedly the city’s most famous landmark is no doubt a tourist trap. Everyone goes there but even if you hate the crowds, you simply must pay a visit.
The royal palace, begun in 1782 when Bangkok was founded as the capital of Thailand, consists of several buildings with highly decorated architectural designs. I love these little statues under a big column because it looks like they are carrying the whole structure.
Each of them even have different facial expressions. I wonder what they’re called.
The above picture is a statue that guards the main entrance of the building.
For just about 150 years, Bangkok’s Grand Palace was not only the home of the King and his court, but also the entire administrative seat of government. Within the crenelated walls were the country’s war ministry, state departments, and even the mint.
Thai Kings stopped living in the palace full time around the turn of the twentieth century, but the complex remains the seat of power and spiritual heart of the Thai kingdom.
A strict dress code applies. The Grand Palace with TheTemple of the Emerald Buddha is Thailand’s most sacred site. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves (no tank tops. 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. If you show up at the front gate improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entrance that can provide clothes to cover you up properly (a deposit is required).
Each one of us was screened and the gate guards told me to keep the bolero on to cover my shoulders – the material was thick and it was a hot day. Bad dress choice!
One of the highlights of the Grand Palace is the Boromabiman Hall, built by King Rama VI and every king since has lived here at some time. The building has a lot of western influence and almost resemble that of the palaces in England.
At one corner of the Palace, we saw two guards practicing for the changing of guards ceremony.
Our guide talked non-stop of history, origin and use of the Grand Palace (which I could only recall less than half now). What an interesting place, we even went inside the main hall of worship but were not allowed to take photos.
TIPS WHEN VISITING THE GRAND PALACE
- Go for a guided tour
- Go there early
- Dress modestly
- Apply sunscreen
- Bring a bottle of water
- Take lots of photos!
Here’s a video of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Enjoy the virtual travel!