The Grand Palace was built in 1792 to be the royal residence of the Thai King. It’s built up of many different buildings, offices, and temples (including the famous Wat Phra Kaew or otherwise known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), spanning over 200,000 sq. meters. Derik and I had a brief two day trip through Bangkok, and after extensive research, decided that staying somewhere along the river would be the safest. We had been traveling during Bangkok’s violent riot period in February, and were a bit hesitant to travel around the city. We settled on a tiny little B & B location literally right next to the Grand Palace. The area was filled with local markets, construction, and quaint restaurants. If we end up back in Bangkok someday, I’d love to go back to that area.
We went the Grand Palace our second day in Bangkok, heading out earlier in the day to stay away from the crowds. We had multiple fake tour guides approach us while we were heading to the main gate, telling us that the Palace was closed for business that day, the Palace officials wouldn’t let us in because of our clothes, or that the Palace was having some sort of holiday vacation. Luckily we had already been warned about these sneaky ‘tourist guides’ and continued our 15 minute walk around the stone white walls to the main entrance.
Sure enough, it wasn’t closed, and we were able to walk right in without a problem. The Grand Palace has a very strict policy on what you can and cannot wear, but they do provide clothing items for you to rent (with a full reimbursement when you bring them back) for the day if you need to. Men and women cannot wear sleeveless shirts, or any sort of pants/skirts/shorts that come above the knee. Also, closed toe shoes are required.
We opted out of getting a group tour guide, and instead walked around the royal grounds ourselves for 2 hours. Plenty of reading material is provided, so we didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed taking in the sights.
If you’re interested in visiting, the entry fee is 400baht ($12) and the Grand Palace ticketing office is open from 8:30-3:30 every day.