Results 1-10of 38 Reviews
Gravesend, United Kingdom
October 2, 2009
From journal Thailand
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
July 9, 2008
From journal Post-Grad Celebration - Bangkok
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
May 2, 2007
From journal Bangkok Sightseeing
October 17, 2004
This is a vast site, and before entering, we marvelled at the colours and variety of the buildings as they were silhouetted against the clear blue Bangkok skies. This sense of wonderment did not leave us from the time we entered the site to the time we departed. At the entrance I stood awe inspired as I was confronted with a mass of gold leaf and immense statues brightly coloured and often grotesque in appearance. All visitors are dwarfed by the grandeur of individual buildings, and like a procession of ants, we all trail round the site, pausing to be amazed by the sight around the next corner.
Make sure that you walk through the cloisters and take time to admire some of the 150 murals that adorn their walls, and consider the story of the triumph of good over evil as told in their allegorical images. Walk around the model of Angkor Wat – it’s the only time you will tower over one of these buildings.
Of course, no visit to the Grand Palace is complete without a view of the Emerald Buddha. You must leave your shoes outside (this is the case when you enter any holy place) and there was a ceremony, which involved a flower and water, that you were encouraged to undertake before admission. Don’t be tempted to photograph this Buddha, as it is viewed to be offensive, but just enjoy the spectacle. This 26-inch jade Buddha, discovered in the early 1400s after lightening struck an ancient "stupa", sits above the ornate wooden throne in the Wat Phra Keo and is viewed as the principal Buddha image of Bangkok. You can actually feel the reverence that this building commands.
Outside of the inner palace, marvel at the Dusit Maha Prasat, one of the original Palace buildings, and its four-tier tiled roofs and magnificent seven-tiered golden spire. This area of the grounds has an amazing collection of ancient topiary, which would happily be portrayed in the surreal work of Dali.
The Grand Palace represents a range of structures and is a three-dimensional "textbook" of Thai decorative techniques, including mosaics of glass or porcelain, painted murals, richly carved and gilded roof supports, doors and windows adorned with mother-of-pearl inlay or gold and black lacquer work, multi-coloured tiled roofs, huge brightly decorated statues, bronze statues. All of this lovingly restored in 1982 for the Bangkok bicentennial celebrations.
It’s hard for me not to enthuse about this site, and I’m sure you will too!
From journal Bantering in Bangkok
Grass Valley, California
May 10, 2001
From journal An Orient Adventure
December 20, 2002
Rarely have I encountered a visual extravaganza as nearly-overwhelming as the inside courtyards of Bangkok’s Grand Palace.
Spires and icons of pure gold ... carved jade and marble ... a succession of temples and chapels each more opulent than the one before ... a grinning man/monkey icon guarding a door that only the faithful can enter. You need photographs --- not words --- to adequately describe this place,
The Grand Palace is more a center for Buddhist contemplation and worship than it is a Royal residence. Visitors can retain their shoes in the courtyards, but must remove them before entering many of the chapels. There are other protocols to observe. Though most Buddhists I’ve encountered don’t mind being photographed while at worship, it helps if non-Buddhists maintain an attitude of respect for their surroundings.
On my 1993 visit, I was met at the gate by a 30-something Thai man who spoke good English and insisted that I would need a guide for my tour. He’d be pleased to do that.
"I am a Thai kick-boxer," he added helpfully.
Though there’s a nominal admission fee, I doubt that the rules really required me to hire a guide. However, his honorarium was reasonable and he did, in my opinion, add considerable value to my experience. And, he made sure my shoes would be there when I returned.
Though the Grand Palace is walled, it has many open-air courtyards that provide a photographer’s paradise in mid-day sunlight. With a convenient water-taxi pier on the river, and being fairly easy to reach from upscale shopping and hotels, it’s a spectacle every visitor should budget at least an hour or two for.
From journal The Train Over the River Kwai ... Riding Thailand's Railway of Death
Port Angeles, Washington
January 9, 2002
The Royal Palace is 60 acres in size and was built after King Rama I took the throne in 1782. It served as a royal residence and administrative offices. While it is no longer a residence, some government business is still conducted at the Royal Palace. During our visit, it seemed like we were touring a temple rather than a palace, as a huge portion of the Royal Palace consists of the Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha is actually carved from one large piece of jade. It was discovered by a monk in the 15th century. It was covered with plaster and was believed to be an ordinary Buddha image. While cleaning the Buddha, the monk noticed that a piece of plaster on the nose had flaked off revealing green stone underneath, which he thought was emerald, hence the name. The Emerald Buddha wears an "outfit" of gold. He has three different outfits which are changed only by the King at the start of each new season – summer, rainy, and winter.
The temple is an interesting variety of architectural styles and amazing statues. There are architectural elements from Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, and China. There are statues in the different styles as well. We saw giant gargoyle-like creatures, monkey/man creatures, lion/man creatures, elephants, dragons, and garudas (kind of a woman-bird-dragon creature). All of the buildings and embellishments are intricately decorated with gold, colored glass, jewel, pearl, and any sort of beautiful decoration you can think of. The same goes for pretty much all Buddhist temples throughout Thailand – often times quite a contrast to the surrounding houses which are often gray or brown with no decoration.
My favorite part was the mural around the perimeter of the temple area which contained 178 pictures depicting a story of an evil creature that kidnaps the King’s wife and the battle to get her back (which, of course, the King wins).
We also saw the Royal Palace buidling that was at one time the King’s residence. The guide mentioned that Anna (as in The King and I) lived in this building for five years. The guide said that The King and I and the new movie Anna and the King are false and are banned from Thailand because because they paint the King in an unflattering light. It is illegal to say anything negative about the King – which the Thai people would not do anyway, as they love and respect the King and the royal family (with good reason).
From journal Four weeks in Thailand
July 8, 2008
From journal Hot Hot Hot Bangkok
by Jim Rosenberg
July 10, 2006
From journal Bangkok: A Safe & Economical Intro to Asia!
December 6, 2005
A must-visit for all travellers to Bangkok, the Grand Palace is located next to Phra Keow Temple. This glorious art of building is a feast to your eyes. Visitors pay 250 baht to gain access to three parts of the compound. For the uninitiated, Grand Palace will prove to be a journey into Thailand's rich history of monarchy, brilliant architecture, and Buddhist roots.
The best way to beat the traffic is get there via the river taxis. Stop at the Tha Thien Pier and the Grand Palace is within a 5-minute walk. Temples are highly sacred grounds in Thailand, and visitors are required to cover their shoulders, feet, and knees.
As if enshrouded in an air of serene religiosity, packs of pigeons/doves greet visitors before the entrance. Inside the compound, visitors are greeted by a ceremony of soldiers changing shifts. The full glory and magnificence of the temples can only be relished by your eyes, with intricate carvings on every walls, surrounded by lamps and pillars of murals depicting the myths of Thai history. In one of the temples is the Emerald Buddha, clothed in different robes according to different seasons. Long halls lit by exquisite lamps flanked the individual temples, which are a rich gold colour. It is a blend of Asian and European-inspired architecture. Richly crafted rooftops fit on European buildings somehow depict the Bangkok of today--a fusion of Western commercialisation and rich Asian heritage.
Renovation works were in progress while we were there. Even then, the neatly kept compound where the palace used to house royalties is an interesting juxtaposition of West meets East. The only drawback is that all signs are in Thai and visitors unwilling to pay the 200 baht for guided tours may not be able to fully comprehend the rich history of the temples.
From journal Bangkok - Cultural & Shopping Melting Pot