Planning a trip to Bangkok? If you haven’t seen it already, you should really make the effort to visit the famous Grand Palace. Before you go, there are a few essential things you really need to know. To save your sweet cheeks a whole lotta stress, here are my top tips on what you absolutely must know before you visit the Grand Palace. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments below.
1. There’s a strict dress code
As the Grand Palace is a sacred place, you’ll need to respect the strict dress code in place. This means skirts and trousers that cover the knees and shirts that cover the shoulders. You should definitely not wear short-shorts, strappy tops, low-cut tops or anything similar. A lot of temples and sacred places in Thailand have this strict dress code, so I’d recommend packing at least one outfit specifically to adhere to it, just to make your life easier.
Here’s the official list of what is NOT allowed:
- Shorts, mini-skirts, short skirts, tight fitting trousers, and tights
- See-through shirts and blouses, as well as culottes or quarter length trousers
- Sleeveless shirts or vests
- Sandals (without ankle or heel straps)
- Rolled-up-sleeved shirts
- Sweatshirts and sweatpants, wind-cheaters, pyjamas and fisherman trousers
2. It gets really, really hot
The heat in Bangkok is no joke and, inside the Grand Palace grounds, you’ll find it almost unbearable. there are a LOT of people inside moving around in large groups and the breeze doesn’t get through. It is essential you drink a lot of water before you go and drink water while you’re there to stay cool. You absolutely must take a hat with you, to shield you from the sun. I also strongly recommend packing on sunscreen and wearing clothing that breaths with your body. I’d also recommend purchasing/taking a fan of some sort, either one of those small motorised ones or a hand-fan. You may even want to pack an umbrella to shade you (and your kids!) from the sun. Trust me, you’ll thank me.
3. Your bag is searched at the entry
If you carry a backpack or similar size bag (or larger) it will be searched by security at the entry. I doubt you’d be carrying anything dodgy anyway, but just be aware that after you enter the grounds you’ll need to present your bag for inspection.
4. The King doesn’t live in the Grand Palace
Construction of the Grand Palace began in 1782 and, after its completion, served as a residence for the Royal Family until 1925. Now, it’s used only for important functions and is very rarely closed. Nonetheless, it’s incredible. So much time, love and hard work have been poured into every aspect of the Palace and its surrounds. You’ll find yourself in awe of the stunning artworks, carvings and detailed adornments around the place. I was!
5. The best way to get to the Grand Palace is by boat
If you’re planning how to get there, may I suggest the Chao Phraya Express Boat. This is a really fun and easy way to get around Bangkok, mostly because you’re afforded a cool breeze, great views of Bangkok, it’s hella fun and you avoid the nasty Bangkok traffic. Catch the Chao Phraya Express Boat to either Tha Tien Pier on the Southern End of the Palace or to Tha Chang Pier on the Northern end of the Palace.
6. You might want to go in the morning
The Grand Palace is open from 8:30am until 3:30pm each day and, as I mentioned, closes very rarely. You may like to get there nice and early, simply to avoid the heat and hopefully catch a few lazy tourists sleeping in and get some more quiet/deserted photos of the Palace and surrounds. It’ll cost you 500 Baht to enter (Note: price is current at the time of publishing and may change over time – please use this as a guide only).
7. Check out the Emerald Buddha
Within the Grand Palace, you’ll find the Temple of the Emerald Buddha or ‘Wat Phra Kaew,’ an incredibly sacred space. The small but beautiful Buddha is around 2,000 years old, sitting gracefully inside the temple. It was originally made in India then lost. It was re-discovered when a bolt of lightning hit a small structure containing artefacts. It wasn’t until the nose of the Buddha began to flake off that they realised it was actually green underneath the stucco exterior coating it. There’s much more to the story, which you’ll learn about at the temple.
While it’s named the ‘Emerald’ Buddha, the name refers more to the colour as the Buddha is made of Jade. When you enter the temple, you’ll need to remove your shoes, hats and sunglasses. There’s also a strict no-photography rule, which you absolutely must respect!
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Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.