Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Royal Palace – Bangkok, Thailand

The Royal Palace in Bangkok, Thailand is also known as the Grand Palace, and is one of the most spectacular former royal-residences in the world. It was constructed in 1782, on the order of King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I), the founder of the Chakri Dynasty of Thailand.

Exterior of Bangkok's Royal Palace with golden pagodas

The Royal Palace in Bangkok is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, in the middle of Rattanakosin Island. It is rectangular in shape, and is spread over an area of 218,400 square metres. This area also contains numerous halls, buildings and pavilions, decorated with traditional Thai designs and golden pagodas. These buildings are set amidst beautiful gardens, courtyards and lush lawns.

Bangkok’s Grand Palace remained the royal residence of the King of Thailand for about 150 years, until the royalty themselves moved to other palaces in the city. When the Royal Palace was used by the Thai King, the palace also housed various government offices like the war ministry, the mint and state departments.

Temple of the Emerald Buddha - Wat Phra Kaew

The Royal Palace in Bangkok has a number of beautiful buildings within its complex, which are worth a visit. This includes the:
  • Temple of the Emerald Buddha: Also known as Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha contains a much-revered statue of the Buddha, sitting in the cross-legged position. This statue was carved out from a single block of Jade in the 14th century. 
  • Outer Court: The outer court of the Grand Palace contained the offices of various government departments that the Thai King was directly involved in. For example: army, treasury and civil administration. 
  • Central Court: The central court of the Royal Palace in Bangkok contained the living quarters of the King, and throne halls for conducting royal business. 
  • Inner Court: The inner court is the area where the King’s consorts and daughters lived. Only women and boys under puberty were allowed in this section of the Thai Royal Palace.

The Royal Reception Hall

The majestic reception hall of the Royal Palace is still used for coronations and other ceremonial functions of the Thai Royal family. It houses an antique throne, on which the old Thai kings used to sit, before the European-style throne was introduced to the palace.

Statue of the Emerald Buddha made from jade

Currently, the Grand Palace of Bangkok is open to the public as a museum and tourist attraction. The present King of Thailand lives at the Chitralada Palace, and comes to the Royal Palace only during state or religious functions, such as during the festival of the Emerald Buddha.

If you are visiting the Royal Palace in Thailand, it is important that you dress according to the dress code, or you may be denied entry. Both men and women must be fully covered with thick shirts and pants, and should be wearing socks on their feet. People without appropriate clothing can borrow clothes from a clothes rental booth near the palace entrance.

Gold statuettes adorning the walls of the Grand Palace in Thailand

The Royal Palace in Bangkok, Thailand is open everyday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, unless the palace is being used for a royal function (which hardly ever happens). Tickets cost 400 baht or about US $13, and also includes the entry charges for the Vimanmek Palace, the Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall and other monuments around Bangkok. Photography is not allowed inside the palace.

What do you think of the beautiful Royal Palace or Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand? Do you plan a visit soon?

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