Grand Palace: Finally Visited After So Many Years Of Coming To Bangkok

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The Grand Palace is arguably the first place you must visit when coming to Bangkok for the first time. However, after almost 20 years of visiting Bangkok repeatedly, I have actually never visited it before, and finally got myself to visit the Grand Palace only now. With the opening of Sanam Chai MRT Station, access to the Grand Palace has gotten a lot easier, so I decided to finally pay it a visit on my unknown numbered trip to Bangkok even though I’ve visited the popular city a few times a year.

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Heading into the Grand Palace after a security check outside the premises.

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While Thais can enter the Grand Palace via a few entrances to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha since they don’t need a ticket, tourists can only enter the Grand Palace by the Plaza.

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Stepping on the lawn of the Grand Palace Plaza is not allowed for good reason.

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The direct entrance to the Grand Palace, but probably for the King himself.

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Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office which is along the straight path in to the Grand Palace – you can’t miss it.

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The Grand Palace ticket office is opened from 8.30am to 3.30pm, while visiting the Grand Palace itself is opened from 8.30am to 4.30pm. The 3.30pm closing time as published on many articles online refer to the last entry into the Grand Palace, and you have till 4.30pm to explore the Grand Palace.

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My ticket for the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Foreigners pay 500 Baht each to enter the Grand Palace, while local Thais can visit for free. This 500 Baht Grand Palace foreigner ticket includes admission to the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew), “Khon” Thai Classical Masked Dance at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre, and the Arts of the Kingdom Museum in Ayutthaya, which can be used without a period of 7 days from the date of purchase at the Grand Palace.

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If you would like, you can pick up an additional audio guide beside the Grand Palace ticket counter. The Grand Palace audio guide costs 200 Baht in addition to your ticket.

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There is a once-a-day free shuttle bus from the Grand Palace to the Arts of the Kingdom Museum in Ayutthaya 60 kilometers away, departing at 12.00pm from the Grand Palace. Pretty worth to visit it if you have time to visit since there is this super long free shuttle bus.

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Heading into the ticket verifying gate of the Grand Palace.

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Thais and foreigners are segregated here based on Grand Palace tickets needed (with and without). The Grand Palace staff will take the Grand Palace portion of the long ticket.

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The ticket checking gate leads to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew).

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Looks like there’s a free Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha tour in English, but my time of visit didn’t fit.

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The various stupas in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

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There are signs pointing the the various locations within the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, but unfortunately they weren’t much help.

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There are free brochures to pick up for the self-tour of the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

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I picked up a “England Free” brochure to find my way around.

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Some paintings around the walls of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

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The touring path leads you one round around the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

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Follow the signs to head to the Grand Palace.

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The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is a functioning temple, with locals visiting it for prayers.

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Heading on the sheltered path along the walls of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to continue along the path to the Grand Palace.

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The exit to the Grand Palace, with two signs advertising free shuttle buses to the “Khon” Thai Classical Masked Dance at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre and the Arts of the Kingdom Museum in Ayutthaya, both of which are included in the price of the 500 Baht foreigner ticket.

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Heading out of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to the Grand Palace. This is a one-way passage, and no backtracking from the Grand Palace to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is allowed.

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The gate to the Borom Phimam Mansion, Sidhala Phirom Hall and Buddha Ratana Starn Hall, which are all closed.

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A preserved bell used for telling the time in the reign of King Rama IV.

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The Borom Phimam Mansion is undergoing refurbishment.

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There is a drinks stall after the passage from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to the Grand Palace. A 500ml bottle of water here costs 20 Baht. For reference, a 600ml bottle of water from 7-Eleven costs 6 Baht. Remember to come prepared with water before entering the Grand Palace.

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The entrance to the Amarindra Winitchai Hall, which was not opened for visit.

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The courtyard in front of the main Chakri Maha Prasat Hall.

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The facade of Chakri Maha Prasat Hall.

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A side gate leading to the back of the Grand Palace which the public is not allowed to enter.

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The entrance to the Snamchand Pavilion, which was not opened for visit.

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It does get hot when walking around the Grand Palace premises. If you can’t take the heat, remember to bring along sufficient water and some sunscreen.

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The view out back to the Grand Palace Plaza.

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The central gate to the Chakri Maha Prasat Hall, which was not opened for visit.

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The stairs up to the Chakri Maha Prasat Hall, which was not opened for visit.

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Passing through the gate to the Dusit Maha Prasat Hall.

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The view of the Aphorn Phimok Prasat Pavilion and Chakri Maha Prasat Hall from Dusit Maha Prasat Hall.

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The facade of Dusit Maha Prasat Hall.

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Heading through the gates out of the Dusit Maha Prasat Hall to Athawijarn Sala.

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There is a snack bar here.

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The facade of the Wat Phra Kaew Museum.

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Heading into the Wat Phra Kaew Museum.

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Photos and videos are not allowed to be taken in the Wat Phra Kaew Museum. It does feature lots of artifacts related to the Emerald Buddha, bones from white elephants, and artifacts and scale models of the Grand Palace on the second floor which you must take your shoes off prior to heading up the stairs. You shouldn’t skip this museum, as this is the place where you can see royal artifacts used by the Thai Kings.

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Heading out of the Grand Palace after visiting the Wat Phra Kaew Museum.

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If you had rented the Grand Palace audio guide, follow the sign back to the counter to return them.

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If you do not have the audio guide, continue straight out to exit the Grand Palace.

You can also visit the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles before heading out, but I skipped that.

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Just before the exit, there is a tentage to promote the “Khon” Thai Classical Masked Dance at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre for one last time.

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The tentage probably doubles up as the waiting area for the free shuttle bus to the “Khon” Thai Classical Masked Dance at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre.

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Heading back out to the public area with touristy shops around.

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Here, I headed left to the nearby Tha Chang Pier to catch the Chao Phraya Express Boat so that I needn’t take the long walk back to Sanam Chai MRT Station in the hot sun.

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The last view of the Grand Palace with the facade of the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles behind the Grand Palace walls.

Overall, a little bit touristy and underwhelming since I’ve visited Thailand so many times and I’ve seen Thai architecture for so many years, but I guess it would be really impressive to behold this sight if this is your first visit or one of your first visits to Thailand.

I think it might be safe to say that I’ve visited Thailand about 100 times throughout my life so far, hence my feeling of being underwhelmed on this visit. Also, there were many parts of the Grand Palace which were not opened to the public, so looking at facades of buildings were also not what I had expected.

Oh well, at least I can now check off a “compulsory” Thailand thing to do on a holiday.

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