The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace was initially built in 1783 on the bank of Chao Phraya River in the city center of Bangkok. Covering an area of 220,000 square meters, the Grand Palace consists of 22 ancient buildings, integrating the essence of Thailand’s architecture, painting, sculpture and the art of landscape garden. It served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th century and onwards. It is the largest, the best-preserved and the most magnificent imperial palace in Thailand with rich ethnic characteristics.
Many buildings inside the Grand Palace impress people a lot, such as Chakri Maha Prasad, Dusit Maha Prasad and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). Sanam Luang is a public square in front of the Grand Palace, which could be used by the royalty only. However, nowadays, during the spring harvest and Thai New Year, the king will hold celebration ceremonies there. In 1946, the King of Thailand at that time, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) and Queen Sirikit moved to Chitralada Palace in the northern part of the city. Generally speaking, the Grand Palace and the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) are the first stop for touring Bangkok. The world-famous Wat Phra Kaew is located in the northeastern corner of the Grand Palace, and enshrines the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand’s three national treasures.
Built in 1876, Chakri Maha Prasad is the most magnificent building in the Grand Palace. The exterior shows a peculiar blend of characteristics of Italian renaissance and traditional Thai architecture. Its roof has three typical Thai- style spires. This beautiful building has three floors. The top floor is for placing the ashes of the past kings and queens. The middle floor is the reception parlor for meeting foreign diplomatic envoys. The bottom floor was the headquarters of the palace guards, but now it has turned into a weapons storeroom.
Built in 1789, Dusit Maha Prasad is the oldest building inside the Grand Palace with typical Siam style. On the terrace of the northern wing building, there is the teakwood bed of state which was used when King Rama I ascended the throne. The bed of state was made with complicated techniques of inlaying spiral shells, and its back is the gorgeous image. All the kings and queens of the Rama Kingdom must be placed here and there will be condolence ceremonies there before the cremation.
A strict dress code applies. Visitors must be dressed properly before entering. For tourist wearing pants, the pants must be knee-high. Tourist should wear shirts with sleeves (no bare shoulders, navel and no tank tops). Slippers are not allowed, or if you wear sandals, you must wear socks. In other words, tourists should avoid bare feet. If you are improperly dressed at the front gate, there is a booth at the entrance that sells clothes to cover you up, with the price of 100 THB.