The Grand Palace Bangkok or Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang is a spectacular complex of royal, religious, and government buildings which represent the spiritual heart of Bangkok; being it's most famous and revered landmark.
HISTORY AND BASIC FACTS
It was constructed after Ayutthaya, the old capital had been destroyed by the Burmese back in 1767.
This unique palace has been the home of successive Thailand kings from the time of its construction in 1782 (during the reign of Rama 1) until 1932.
However, Thailand's present King, Bhumibol Adulyadej does not reside here and lives instead at the Bangkok Chitralada Palace. I first visited this world famous site back in 2009 and was amazed at its grandeur from the moment I entered its gates.
This palace which is surrounded by a 1900 metre long wall stands today as a testament to the Thai craftsmen which were employed during the construction of these buildings. The level of intricate detail and creativity that can be seen and admired on the buildings and the items of material culture located within is truly breathtaking.
The Grand Palace Bangkok is an immense structure built over an area of some 218,000 square metres. It was modeled on the old royal palace at Autthaya: Wat Phra Kaew- a temple reserved for the King and his Buddhist private devotions and ceremonies.
However, the palace in Bangkok consists of several sections which include the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (the Buddha sculpture housed inside is only 75 centimetres high and is carved out of a single piece of nephirite which is a less precious type of jade), the Chakri Maha Prasat Buildings, the Phra Maha Monthian Buildings, and the Siwalai Gardens to name a few.
The most notable feature of the palace are the golden coloured chedi which were incorporated into it's grand architectural design.
The complex was in some ways like a small city being surrounded by a high wall, and incorporating a variety of different buildings such as living quarters, government buildings, pavilions and halls, a temple, separate courtyards and gardens. Subsequently, the complex was designed with an outer court which housed the government buildings and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, a central court where the king lived, and an inner court which was like a community where the women, the kings daughters and all young boys all resided.
FUNCTIONS OF THE GRAND PALACE
Hence, the Grand Palace Bangkok was always designed to serve a number of different functions and was used to house the Royal mint, Thailand's State Departments, War Ministry, and the entire administrative seat of government.
Today the complex also houses the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles which provides an insight into the grand traditions of Thai royalty spanning the past 200 years.
Although the Grand Palace is such a popular landmark, it is still used by Thailand's royal family to hold certain ceremonies and special events.
The admission fee to this site is 400 Thai baht and visitors must be dressed appropriately in order to enter. Thus, long sleeve shirts and long
pants for men and modest clothing for women. As this site is spread out over such a large area, remember to wear a hat and apply plenty of sunscreen because you will be required to walk outdoors for much of the time if you wish to see most of the attractions.
It is also located close to the Maharaj Pier along the Chao
Phrayo River. Being such a popular attraction in Bangkok, most taxi drivers and tourists operators will be able to get you there. If traveling on the BTS Skytrain exi at Saphan Taksin Station.