The Grand Palace in old, downtown Bangkok, Thailand, is the official residence of the King of Siam since 1782. Though the present King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, now resides in a different palace, the Grand Palace is still used for many formal functions. The complex includes The Temple of Emerald Buddha and several buildings that are used by the royal offices. It is now open to public as a museum, and it is one of the popular tourist attractions in Bangkok.
If you like to visit the Grand Palace, there are some things to note. First, as mentioned in a blog post a couple of days ago, beware of anyone that tells you outside the complex that the Grand Palace is closed for ceremony or for any functions. Often times these were scammers who will then try to offer you alternative to go elsewhere for sightseeing. You should go to the main entrance of the palace and check it for yourself; if you can’t get in or the ticket office is closed, then it is indeed closed. In our case, we ignored a couple of people who told this to us, to find the main entrance was full of tourists visiting the Palace.
Second thing to note is that there is a strict dress code for those who want to visit the Grand Palace complex, especially the Temple of Emerald Buddha area. 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 entry that can provide clothes to cover you up properly. You must leave your passport or credit card as security.
Another thing to note is that the Grand Palace is not easily reachable from the Metro system in Bangkok, but it is close to one of the piers of the Chao Phraya Express Boat. So you can take the BTS SkyTrain to the Saphon Taksin station, then embark on the ferry boat at the Central Pier on the river bank not far from the SkyTrain station.
We spent some time inside the Grand Palace complex, mostly near the Temple of Emerald Buddha area. I think our ticket also included a visit to one of the halls, but we ended up skipping that part of the complex as it was already around noon, it was hot and humid, and we still needed to walk to another area in downtown Bangkok to look for lunch place.
The photo below was taken inside the complex, near some of the big halls. They’re quite elaborate and large buildings — I couldn’t capture them easily in one photo frame.