Photo: From the Chao Phraya.

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The Grand Palace

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King Rama I established Phra Borom Maharatchawang, or the Grand Palace, in 1782 when he also founded Bangkok as capital of Siam. Several of the 10 Chakri dynasty kings have made additions over the years to create an impressive example of Rattanakosin-period architecture. Also containing Wat Phra Kaew, the vast complex is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions.

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The largest building, Chakri Maha Prasat hall (pictured below), was a collaborative work of British and Thai architects and artists, completed in 1882 by order of King Rama V. The immense T-shaped structure displays an Italian Renaissance style on the lower floors, crowned by three glittering Thai-style prasat spires with gabled dark-ochre roofs that look like the tops of a royal wat. The lead British architect wanted to crown the building with a dome, but a regent convinced the king to go with the spires as a nod to traditional Thai artistry. You won’t see another building like it anywhere.

It certainly is grand. Photo taken in or around The Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

It certainly is grand. Photo: David Luekens

At the top of Chakra Maha Prasat’s three storeys is a shrine room containing ashes of the last five kings and queens to rule before the late King Rama IX ascended the throne in 1946. Still used for royal banquets, the main audience hall is off-limits to the public, along with most of the building. Tourists may only enter the ground floor, which hosts an extensive collection of ancient weaponry.

To the east of the main palace are the older buildings of the Phra Maha Montian group, which served as the royal residence for the first three Chakri kings. King Rama I died here in 1809 after leading Siam to a position of increasing strength in the region. Though most of this cluster is off limits, tourists may enter a former audience hall to view a gilded boat-shaped throne crafted during Rama ... Travelfish members only (Around 600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Via the Chao Phraya River Express Boat, alight at Tha Maharaj pier and head out to the main road, then go right and you'll see the palace gates ahead. Buses servicing the area include 1, 3, 6, 8, 12, 25, 44, 47, 53, 82 and 91. It's also within walking distance of Khao San Road via Ratchadmnoen Avenue.

The Grand Palace
Na Phra Lan Rd, Bangkok
Daily 8:30-11:30, 13:00-15:30
Admission: 500 baht

Location map for The Grand Palace

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