Many know Bangkok as the foodie and shopper’s paradise of Southeast Asia, with mouth watering Thai street food every meter and the haven for your hearts desire to bargain (not to mention the fake designer goods you can afford).
I almost came with no expectations of doing anything else other than eat and shop – but it turns out, this bustling and chaotic city has a delicate side too.
While there a few temples to visit and impressive buddha statues to admire, there is nothing like the intricate detail and design seen at The Grand Palace.
Since 1782, these palace grounds have been the home for Thailand’s Kings. Whilst the current King resides in Dusit Palace, the Grand Palace is still used for royal and state ceremonies.
The grounds of the palace are made up of several important buildings and ornaments, with some of the more astonishing below.
Six pairs of Guardians surround the palace, all facing the Chapel of the Emerald Buddha, guarding the buddha of any evil.
The Emerald Buddha
Behind the palm tree sits the chapel of the Emerald Buddha, also known as Phra Ubosoth, this is probably the most important building at the grand palace. Surrounding the chapel are 112 Garudas (or king of birds), bearers of the chapel.
When entering the chapel, we were told not to take any pictures, and walking in, I was immediately drawn to the Statue, sitting high on top of the shrine. The buddha statue has three different outfits, for each season – summer, rainy season and winter. And a ceremony to change the statue’s outfits, by the king, takes place at the start of each new season.
Phra Mondop (The Buddhist Library)
Here lies the important buddhist scripture, and the majestic build of this library only shows it’s glory and importance. The stone Buddha is made of volcanic stone and were gifts to the king from the governor of then Indonesia.
More chapels surround the grounds of the palace, used by the monks.
Chakri Maha Prasat Hall
The building below stands out here, not only because of it’s size, but the colonial style. It was actually designed by a British architect, John Clunish. However, the roof remained in traditional Thai style.
These were previously used by King Rama V as his residence but now it is used for hosting royal ceremonies.
This fascinating place is of course also a very popular tourist attraction, so be prepared to run into the big tour groups from around the world and remain patient ( and maybe take a couple deep breaths).
Despite the chaos, the aura of this palace does not go unnoticed and draws you in, each corner you turn, with never-ending statues and engraved walls. An entry ticket costs 500 bhat and 1-2 hours is enough time to explore.
I’ve probably learnt more about the palace while writing this post than when I was walking around it, due to the state of awe I was in, but also because, eventually we all grew tired of the many tourists and just wanted to leave, which is unfortunate.
However, it was extremely worth it to step into the world of King Rama V and it is hard not to appreciate every single detail that went in to the design.
Are there other cultural things to do in Bangkok that you enjoyed?