The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace in Bangkok has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam, and later Thailand since 1782. It was the home of all Bangkok government offices until 1932 when Thailand switched to a Constitutional Monarchy. Even after 250 years, the Grand Palace has lost none of its splendor and elegance. It is one of the most visited places in all of Thailand and a must-see for any first time visitor to Thailand.

The Grand Palace as seen from across the River Chao Phraya, about 1880 A.D.

Tour Description

  • Visit the Royal Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha Temple in depth

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The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace refers not to a single building but many buildings, halls, gardens, and temples on the grounds. This includes the temple of the Emerald Buddha.

The palace is partially open as a museum and the rest of the grounds are part of the working palace and official duties take place here.

Emerald Buddha Temple
Grand Palace Map

Sections of the Grand Palace

  1. Temple of the Emerald Buddha
  2. Bureau of the Royal Household
  3. Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles
  4. Sala Luk Khun Nai
  5. Sala Sahathai Samakhom
  6. Museum of the Emerald Buddha Temple
  7. Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations, and Coins
  8. Phra Thinang Amarin Winitchai
  9. Phra Thinang Phaisan Thaksin
  10. Phra Thinang Chakraphat Phiman
  11. Phra Thinang Dusidaphirom
  12. Phra Thinang Racharuedee
  13. Phra Thinang Sanam Chan
  14. Ho Sastrakhom
  15. Ho Sulalai Phiman
  16. Ho Phra That Montien
  17. Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat
  18. Phra Thinang Moon Satharn Borom Ard
  19. Phra Thinang Sommuthi Thevaraj Uppabat
  20. Phra Thinang Borom Ratchasathit Mahoran
  21. Phra Thinang Dusit Maha Prasat
  22. Phra Thinang Phiman Rattaya
  23. Phra Thinang Aphorn Phimok Prasat
  24. Phra Thinang Rachakaranya Sapha
  25. Ho Plueang Khrueang
  26. Mount Kailasa
  27. Siwalai Garden
  28. Phra Thinang Boromphiman
  29. Phra Thinang Mahisorn Prasat
  30. Phra Thinang Siwalai Maha Prasat
  31. Phra Thinang Sitalaphirom
  32. Phra Buddha Rattanasathan
  33. Phra Thinang Chai Chumpol
  34. Phra Thinang Suthaisawan Prasat
  35. Inner Court

Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Wat Phra Kaew, commonly known in English as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and officially as Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The Emerald Buddha housed in the temple is a potent religio-political symbol and the palladium of Thailand.

Bureau of the Royal Household

The bureau handles a lot of administrative and ceremonial functions. It also handles the many charities supported by the crown.

Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles

Our beloved Queen Sirikit is the widow of the late King Rama IX and mother of the current monarch King Rama X. In 2003 her majesty opened a museum of textiles in the former Ministry of Finance building also known as the Ratsadakorn-bhibhathana Building, erected in 1870 by King Rama V. The museum hosts many different events. To find out what will be showing during your visit, check out their website.

Sala Luk Khun Nai

The Sala Lukkhunnai building is perhaps one of the most elegant of the buildings constructed by Rama V to house his western-styled ministries. The Sala Lukkhunnai housed the Ministry of Interior in one wing and the Ministry of Defense in the other.

Sala Sahathai Samakhom

The Sala Sahathai Samakhom was also built by King Rama V as a military club. Originally, the columns on the outside formed a gallery, or veranda, around the building

Museum of the Emerald Buddha Temple

The Museum of the Emerald Buddha Temple holds artifacts and information on the history of the Emerald Buddha.

Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations, and Coins

The Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations and Coins is a small museum on the ground of the Grand Palace. It contains a large collection of Thai coins but also has royal jewelry and emblems of days of Royalty past.

There is also a wonderful assortment of jeweled boxes, robes, and elegant swords all created for the monarchs of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Phra Thinang Amarin Winitchai

This is the palace’s principal audience hall. It is still used annually on His Majesty’s royal birthday. It also serves as a venue for royal religious ceremonies throughout the year. 

Phra Thinang Phaisan Thaksin

Phra Thinang Phaisan Thaksin is a hall for the most important religious and state ceremonies take place. Coronations are performed here at the start of a king’s reign.

During the time of King Rama I the hall was a private reception area. The king would host meetings and dinners for trusted ministers and members of courts. After the death of Rama I, it was converted into a ceremonial space. The long hall is contains wonderful murals depicting scenes not only from Buddhist mythology but Hindu as well.

Phra Thinang Chakraphat Phiman

This was the bedroom of King Rama I(1737 – 1809). Originally the roof was made of palm leaves but eventually, it was replaced with tiles. During the time of Rama II, the room was converted to a multi-purpose hall but was made back into a bedroom by Rama III.

The bed in the room actually belonged to King Rama I and was used by the kings nightly, all the way up to King Rama VI(d. 1925). By tradition, no uncrowned king may sleep here. Once crowned, however, tradition requires that they sleep in the bed at least a few nights.

Phra Thinang Dusidaphirom

The Phra Thinang Dusidaphirom is a minor building on the palace grounds. It was used for the King’s arrival and departure as a robing room. The king would often mount an elephant or ride in a sedan to leave the palace from this location. In the picture below you can see a white spired gate post. This marks an opening in the wall where the king could get on the elephant with ease.

Elephant waiting for Rama VI outside the Phra Thinang Dusidaphirom

Phra Thinang Racharuedee

The Phra Thinang Racharuedee, a Thai-style pavilion constructed during the reign of King Rama VI as an outdoor audience chamber. Originally King Rama IV had a two-storied European-style building constructed. Its purpose was to display gifts from foreign nations; When this building became dilapidated King Rama V replaced it with a Chinese-style pavilion which was again dismantled and rebuilt.

Phra Thinang Racharuedee
Phra Thinang Racharuedee

Phra Thinang Sanam Chan

The Phra Thinang Sanam Chan was built during the reign of King Rama II, who used the pavilion for relaxation and for sitting when supervising construction projects.

 Phra Thinang Sanam Chan
Phra Thinang Sanam Chan

Photo Credit -By ScorpianPK

Ho Sastrakhom

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Ho Sulalai Phiman

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Ho Phra That Montien

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Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat

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Phra Thinang Moon Satharn Borom Ard

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Phra Thinang Sommuthi Thevaraj Uppabat

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Phra Thinang Borom Ratchasathit Mahoran

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Phra Thinang Dusit Maha Prasat

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Phra Thinang Phiman Rattaya

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Phra Thinang Aphorn Phimok Prasat

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Phra Thinang Rachakaranya Sapha

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Ho Plueang Khrueang

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Mount Kailasa

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Siwalai Garden

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Phra Thinang Boromphiman

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Phra Thinang Mahisorn Prasat

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Phra Thinang Siwalai Maha Prasat

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Phra Thinang Sitalaphirom

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Phra Buddha Rattanasathan

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Phra Thinang Chai Chumpol

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Phra Thinang Suthaisawan Prasat

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Inner Court

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Main photo credit: By Andy Marchand