Bangkok – The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew(Temple of The Emerald Buddha)
Possibly the most important site/attraction that you should visit while you are in Bangkok, Thailand is The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram). The Grand Palace is Bangkok’s most famous landmark and was the official home of the king for almost 150 years. Technically, The Grand Palace actually consists of a complex of buildings including Wat Phra Kaew, otherwise known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
The Grand Palace complex is located on Rattanakosin Island in the Phra Nakhon District of Bangkok, Thailand. Rattanakosin Island was created by King Rama I when he decided to move Thailand’s capital to Bangkok in 1782. King Rama I ordered to have canals dug around the city center to serve as moats for defensive purposes. Rattanakosin Island is surrounded by the Chao Phraya River, Khlong Ong Ang, and Khlong Bang Lamphu.
Wat Phra Kaew(Temple of the Emerald Buddha), formally known as Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, is the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The temple was built in by King Rama I to house the Emerald Buddha after Thailand captured Vientiane in 1778. Wat Phra Kaew is located in the Grand Palace complex on Rattanakosin Island in the center of Bangkok, Thailand.
The admission fee to enter The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is 400 Baht. The Grand Palace is typically open every day from 8:30AM to 3:30PM, but there are rare occasions when it is closed due to it being used for a state function. Be aware that there are often touts who will take advantage of this and tell you that the Grand Palace is closed, but they have their own private tour that is available. They are often trying to trick you on taking their “tour” which will take you to several shops where they will try to earn your commissions when you purchase items. Free guided tours are available multiple times a day in English. There are also audio guides that can be rented for 100 Baht, but you may have to leave your passport or credit card as collateral to ensure their safe return.
One important thing to be aware of is that there is a strict dress code for visitors of the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves. No tank tops are allowed. Women must be modestly dressed as well. No see through clothing or bare shoulders, etc. No bare feet are allowed so you must wear socks. If you show up at the front gate and do not meet the guidelines for the dress code, there is another booth near the entry that can provide you with clothes to cover up properly, but you may have to leave your passport or credit card as collateral.
To get to the Grand Palace take the Chao Phraya River Express to the Tha Chang Pier. Once you arrive at the pier, walk straight ahead across the intersection and the Grand Palace will be on your right. Alternatively, you can sign up for the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Tour.
Here is a link for the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Tour.
Here is a slideshow of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew: