Certainly one of if not the most iconic sites in all of Bangkok, the Grand Palace is certainly a place of beauty and character. The complex is the official residence of Thailand’s royal family (although the current King resides in Chitralada Palace) as well as home to some of the country’s most important structures and relics. If you are to make a trip to Bangkok, it is certainly worthwhile to make a stop here. In other words, you should be here if you are in Bangkok!
First a little history. The Grand Palace was built in 1782 when King Rama 1 moved the capital from Thonburi (which is now part of Bangkok) to its current position on the other side of the Chao Phraya River as a means of protection from assailants. Through time, many structures and buildings have been added, giving the palace its current look. Even though the current King may not live here, he still makes frequent visits to the Grand Palace for ceremonial, religious and royal purposes.
What could very well be Thailand’s most important structure lies within the walls of the Grand Palace. Yes, we’re talking about Wat Phra Kaew. What makes it so special? That’s because it is the home of the Emerald Buddha since 1784. According to legend, this 45 centimeter Buddha image is well over 2,000 years old and is a much decorated traveler and historian. To further illustrate its importance, Wat Phra Kaew is watched over by two giant guardians.
So, what are the other buildings in the Grand Palace for? Phra Maha Montien complex and its accompanying buildings were the official residences of the royal family. Amarin Winichai Hall is an audience hall that welcomes foreign guests and dignitaries. Chakri Maha Prasat Hall was used for receiving royal guests who were monarchs or heads of state. Of course, there is much more! If you like air-conditioned museums (a certain relief from Bangkok’s outdoor weather!), then you should be here because the palace grounds has its fair share. The place’s also got throne rooms, official royal changing rooms and even European looking buildings. Learn about Bangkok and Thailand here at the Grand Palace!
Of course, once you are at the Grand Palace, you’ll probably want to see other nearby scenic temples that seem to dot the Chao Phraya River. Wat Pho comes to mind. So does Wat Arun. There are lots to see and experience by the river.
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