The Emerald Buddha dates back to the 14th century. Measuring 45 cm in height, the Emerald Buddha is carved from a single piece of Jade. The robes on the Buddha are changed every season by HM The King of Thailand, and these rituals are some of the most important in the Buddhist calendar.
The Grand Palace was built in 1782 and served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th to 20th century. The present King of Thailand; King Rama IX, does not reside there but chooses to live at the Chitralada Palace.
The complex is open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. except on special days designated for royal ceremonies or state functions. The admission fee is 300 baht which includes entry to Vimanmek Mansion and the Coin Pavilion. Tel: 02-623-5500
There is much more of interest to be seen in the Grand Palace compound, such as the Royal Thai Decorations and Coin Pavilion, where a permanent exhibition of royal regalia, decorations, medals and coins dating back to the early 11th century is on display.
Visitors are advised that polite and modest dress is essential. Trousers and t-shirts with sleeves are advised for both men and women. Women should be careful not to wear see-through clothes or bare their shoulders. If you chose to wear sandals, you must also wear socks, no bare feet. If you turn up improperly dressed you can rent appropriate clothing at the entrance booth.
Careful of touts working outside the palace area, they may tell you the Palace is closed for a Buddhist holiday or ceremony. On the odd occasion they maybe correct, but its more likely that they are trying to convince you not to enter the Palace compound and take their own organized tour instead.
Within the Palace grounds you will find free guided tours in English available at 10:00, 10:30, 1:30 and 2:00. You can alsorent an audio guide for 100 Baht (2.83 USD) plus a deposit to secure return.
While the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace grounds are open every day (with the exception of state functions), audience halls in the Grand Palace are closed on weekends. This means you can only gain entrance to see themagnificent thrones on weekdays. The Royal Pantheon in Temple of the Emerald Buddha is only open one day a year, on 6 April.
The Grand Palace is located on Na Phra Lan Road, Old City (Rattanakosin). There are many ways to get to the Grand Palaceand Wat Phra Kaeo.
Standard buses (red, white/blue) 44, 47 and 91 stop on Thaiwang road between Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew, and buses 1, 25, 44, 47, 82 and 91 stop on Maharat road, on the west of Wat Phra Kaew.
You can also take the Chaophraya Express Boat to the Chang Pier (Tha Chang). You must then walk through the market around the pier and out into the square surrounded by old shophouses. From there you will see the large white-wash walls of the Palace compound.
If you’re staying in Khao San Rd, or the Banglamphu area, it’s possible to walk there via Sanam Luang, the large park across the main intersection at the west end of Ratchadamneon road.
Alternatively, you always have the option of taking a taxi.
Slideshow Gallery of The Grand Palace