on August 31, 2010
Destination: Bangkok. I had previously read many intersting travellers opinions as to what places where a MUST while visiting Bangkok and the Grand Palace was always ranking top places.In opinion to many travellers, the best way to get there is by boat along the Chao Phraya River ... this was definately a thrilling experience. No traffic congestion and some fascinating views of the city from a different perspective.We were aware that the entry fee would cost around 250 BHT (a little less than 10 USD), that opening hours were from 830am to 430pm and that the dressing code was pretty strict (long pants and shirt/tshirt with sleeves, no tank tops, no bare feet, no see through clothes nor bare shoulders). If you were told to be incorrectly dressed there would be a booth were you could rent the appropriate dressing (deposit required).We arrived to the gates of the palace at 9am with no major difficulties. However we did come across some friendly Thai people on the way tried to advise us that the same was closed until the afternoon. This had come up in a few reviews i had read ... it seems to be that their intention is to take you to some other place where they get comission of the things you buy ... but a friendly Thank You and our continued walking pace seemed to be the correct response.Our dressing code was not completly correct so we were taken to a booth located on the right hand side within the gates of the palace and we payed a deposit of 300BHT per person. I was given a pretty long dress that gave each picture a very Thai style. The day was cloudy and we could tell that at any moment it would start raining... that was exactly what happened as we finished paying for our entrance fees. Everybody started running so we followed the crowd ... as soon as we knew it, we were inside the district of the Grand Palace ... each and every detail was beautiful ... painted walls, giant statues and a lot of GOLD, glass and marble! Near to the entrance there is a temple in which the Golden Buddah resides ... we ran across from one of the halls we had been admiring the amazing paintings on the walls and reached the entrance of the temple. No words can describe the beauty ... No words could come close to describe how spectacular each and every detail found on the walls of the temple and on the statues standing around the district were. From golden statues to statues made with small pieces of marble/glass/mirrors one next to the other...and the roof tops!!! Magnificent roof tops! Our cameras could not stop flashing! Our eyes could not stop wondering up and down each section of these historical grounds.Shoes were to be taken off to enter the temple where the Golden Buddah is found and no cameras are allowed. The same is around 45cm tall and we were explained that there are 3 sets of Gold garnmets that are used according to Thailands seasons: summer season, rainy season, cool season.Exiting the temple there are many hall ways around in which unique wall paintings can be found.The grand palace used to be the official residence of the Kings of Thailand as well as government offices also lying within the district.Another highlight was the Dusit hall. This spectacular infrastructure lies within the district and was built by King Rama I as a place for his body to lie once he died. The importance of elephants was very much noticed around the grounds ... statues of elephants are placed at the entrance of most halls. White elephants are considered to be holly animals. Elephant shrines are very common in Thailand as they have played an important role in building much of Thailand.The option of having guided tours around the district is available but unfortunately we did not opt for this. I believe it would have been very valuable to understand the historical value of each building in more detail.By 12pm we had overseen most of the palace and parted to Wat Po.
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