Everyone Visits the Grand Palace in Bangkok

“Everyone visits the Grand Palace in Bangkok”

Tim, our local guide, was explaining to us on the ride over that the Grand Palace is at the top of the list for first time visitors to Bangkok.

It’s true, and I had already known and experienced this on my own first visit ten years ago. But today was different. We were repeat visitors, and not travelling as a couple, but as parents with Kalyra and Savannah on their first visit to Bangkok.

The moment you arrive outside the palace walls and enter the gates you are quickly struck by the sheer size and popularity of what is Thailand’s most sacred site and complex of temples, throne halls and Government residences.

Grand Palace Bangkok

As we enter the complex it’s crowded, it’s hot, and tour groups are justling left and right excited to enter the official residence of the Kings of Thailand since construction began under King Rama Ι way back in 1782.

Yes, it took us about five seconds to be reminded that this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand and would be a REAL introduction to Thai history and life for our kids.

Grand Palace Bangkok
Heading towards the main gate

The Grand Palace complex is situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and is surrounded by four walls with a combined area of 218,400 square metres.

It’s divided into four main courts, separated by numerous walls and gates: the Outer Court, the Middle Court, the Inner Court and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

As we wandered the complex jostling with what seemed like the whole population of Bangkok trying to take photographs, Kalyra kept asking

When do I get to meet the Buddha?

“Soon darling. Let’s just take our time and take it all in. I know it’s hot and crowded but please be patient and stay close to Mummy and Daddy.”

Kalyra is great traveller, and has been fortunate to experience many things in her five years, but sometimes struggles in big crowds and was just holding it togethor. Meanwhile, miss Savannah was taking it all in from the comfort of her stroller.

grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok (8)

Everywhere you turn, in every courtyard and at every bend, the beauty of the place amazes and takes your breath away. I remember being very impressed on that first visit in 2002 and this second visit was no less mesmirizing.

I even captured this shot of a monk looking mesmirized.

grand palace bangkok

The statues and buildings are huge.

grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok

Kalyra is just dwarfed by this entry way

grand palace bangkok

Along with the sheer size comes the details and craftmanship

grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok

We’d been exploring the complex for maybe an hour or so and the question of “when do I get to see the Buddha” continued and Kalyra became increasingly restlessless, which was totally understandable given the trying conditions.

Grand palace Bangkok

Soon it came time to witness the worshipers lighting candles and sticks of incense in a ritual which they raise to their head while bowing.

Grand palace Bangkok

Tired and independent Kalyra was having none of the help suggested by Mummy and Daddy and totally lost it when it was explained that NO she couldn’t carry out this ritual by herself and she needed to step aside and respect the locals.

Nothing like having your five year old lose it at the most sacred temple in Thailand

But we all regained our composure, after a five minute time out, and carried on with the rest of the proceedings, including a visit with the Buddha.

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If you’re a travelling family, and you have just arrived in a new country late the previous night after a long flight, make the first day a free day! Don’t plan any activities. Allow your kids to adjust to the time zone and the environment. Don’t be like us and drag them to a hot and crowded environment. More travel with kids tips.

Lesson learned!

At the end of the day we had an incredible time visiting the Grand Palace as a family.

Besides the experience of showing our kids this important and sacred place for Thai people, the locals absolutely adored both Kalyra and Savannah (must have been the blonde hair blue eyed novelty) and couldn’t stop taking photos with us.

Grand palace Bangkok

A happier Kalyra after finally seeing Buddha inside the temple.

Grand palace Bangkok
Grand palace Bangkok

 Getting There

  • The easiest and most enjoyable route is to take the BTS Skytrain to “Saphan Taksin” Station. From here take a Chao Phraya River Express boat to Tha Chang Wang Luang Pier. It is a short walk from the pier to the entrance.
  • Another option is take a taxi all the way from your origin. Make sure the driver turns on the meter — this is the law in Bangkok. Plan ahead as traffic in Bangkok can be horendous.

Dress Code

A strict dress code applies.

  • Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves (no tank tops. If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks (in other words, no bare feet.)
  • Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders, etc.

If you show up improperly dressed there is a booth near the entrance that can provide clothes to cover you up properly (for a deposit).

As our guide Tim stated, and we can confirm

Every visitor to Bangkok should see the Grand Palace.

It’s crowded, it’s hot, and your younger children may temporarily lose it, but no visit to Bangkok would be complete without visiting the city’s most famous landmark.

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 Disclaimer: Our trip to Thailand is hosted by Tourism Thailand

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17 thoughts on “Everyone Visits the Grand Palace in Bangkok”

  1. Great post – I LOVED the temple when I visited… although I totally understand your little girl losing it briefly – between the humidity and the crowds I very nearly did myself xx

  2. It’s funny, I’ve just been thinking about whether or not I’ll make it to the Grand Palace before I leave Thailand. I think I’ve developed an aversion towards it because I feel like shifty tuk-tuk drivers are always offering to take me there as part of some overly expensive tour of Bangkok. But this post is definitely making me reconsider – it looks pretty worthwhile.

    1. Hi Jesscca,

      Don’t let that stop you. Take the SkyTrain to Saphin Taksin, then the Express boat, and then walk to the entrance. I hope you visit, you won’t regret it.

  3. its been almost 3 yrs in thailand, and i havn’t visited grand palace yet. actually i was in phuket, but since last 6 months i am in bangkok and planing to visit., but next month i am getting married and my wife is coming here too..so i think visiting with her will be grt experience.. and i live just 3-4 km away from the palace.. Thanks for this post..it really inspired me to visit grand palace for sure..

  4. Hi, I am wondering about what kind of camera you bought over there and whether you felt safe carrying it around. I want to bring my DSLR camera over there but am unsure about whether i should or nor

  5. Another tip – Temple fatigue is real. I made the mistake of trying to visit every site with temples. They’re amazing, and your photos are a good example (and mine! Hoping to post this weekend), but they started to blend in together and I wasn’t as excited as I should have been after site after site. I suggest mixing in other activities in between. Did your family experience that challenge?

  6. I agree – Grand Palace is great.
    There is so much to see – I even enjoyed my third visit to the area.

    Haven’t been there with children though, but I am sure my 3-year-old would have loved seeing the statues, guards and Buddha-figures.

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