The Grand Palace in Bangkok is one of the most beautiful and important places to visit in all of Thailand! No trip to the capital city would be complete without spending a morning here. From the Grand Palace to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Queen Sirikit Museum, here’s everything to know before you go!
Quick History of the Bangkok Grand Palace
The Grand Palace began construction in 1782 under Rama I. It would go onto serve as the official residence of the kings until 1925. During this time it was not only the most administrative site, but also the religious capital of Thailand.
This is easily seen in its unbelievable temples, religious figures, and shrines throughout the palace grounds. If you can use your imagination, it was once home to thousands of guards, princesses, and servants. In fact, the Grand Palace in Bangkok had so many residents it was often referred to as a city inside a city!
In the early 20th century, more palaces were built around the country. Although the Kingdom had already started moving away from the Bangkok Palace, the end of the monarchy in 1932 was the final straw as the royal home.
9 Tips for the Grand Palace in Bangkok
1. Confirm the Grand Palace is Open
We know it may sound silly. Yet, as soon as you know the date you plan to visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok check the official website!
There are certain days in the year that it closes for holidays and private celebrations. The last thing you want to happen is go to the capital city and miss out on a trip to this amazing place.
2. Book Tickets in Advance for the Grand Palace in Bangkok
The Grand Palace in Bangkok is the most visited attraction in the entire city. If you want to make your day run a little smoother you should pre-book your tickets.
As long as you know the date then tickets can be bought up to a month beforehand. However, if you’re trying to buy them within 24 hours of your visit then you can’t do it online. Instead, you will have to instead wait and purchase your Bangkok Palace tickets in person.
If you show up right when they open you should be okay. Still, later in the day the line can get extra long. At the time of our trip the tickets cost 500 Baht per person for foreigners. If you are Thai then the entry to the Grand Palace Bangkok is actually free!
3. Go First Thing in the Morning
There are two reasons it will pay off to be at the Grand Palace right when it opens at 8:30am. First, because of how unbelievable the Grand Palace is it gets crazy busy! Even being one of the first to arrive we had to shuffle through a line of people to get into the Bangkok Grand Palace.
Second, it’s best to go early in the morning because of the intense heat. Bangkok is known for its year round high temperatures and even in the “winter” you should be prepared. By starting your day early you’ll be able to explore the area before the peak heat!
4. Know the Bangkok Grand Palace Dress Code
This is very important! There is a strict dress code at the Grand Palace in Bangkok and it is enforced. When we were in line to enter there were several people who had the job of pointing out (and removing from the line) visitors who were not dressed property.
Some common things we saw were girls dressed in tight leggings or dresses that were too short. Men in shorts and tank tops were also being turned away. There are MANY signs and information posted explaining exactly what allowed and what isn’t.
This might explain why there is an outrageous amount of elephant pants for sale outside the Grand Palace Bangkok. Many people don’t have a choice but to buy a pair of elephant pants when they realized they screwed up with their outfit choice!
Bangkok Palace Dress Code
- Loose fitting clothing (no leggings)
- Shoulders covered
- Dresses that fall below the knees or pants that go down to your ankle
- Closed toed shoes
- No scarves over sleeves or t-shirts
- No clothing that is see-through or ripped/worn
5. Hire a Guide or Buy the Audio Package
The Grand Palace in Bangkok is a unique place that is filled with endless historical sites. One thing to know is that if you don’t have a guide (either in person or audio) then it will be difficult to fully understand everything.
When you are making your way towards the entry of the Grand Palace in Bangkok there are normally local guides lined up trying to sell their services. If you decide to hire someone just make sure to confirm the rate before starting the tour.
6. Plan for at Least 2 Hours at the Grand Palace
The Grand Palace in Bangkok is massive and certainly shouldn’t be rushed. Don’t pack too much into your morning and plan to spend at least 2-3 hours inside.
Sometimes travelers feel like they can quickly see everything as they pack too much into their Bangkok itinerary. Yet, that simply isn’t the case at a magical place like the Bangkok Grand Palace!
Slow down and enjoy the temples, history, and colors that burst their way out of the walls. We wouldn’t blame if you took a break and went back to see it a 2nd time on your visit.
7. Be Prepared to Take Your Shoes Off
If you’ve already traveled around Thailand and its stunning temples then this won’t come as a surprise to you. However, if this is your first trip then it’s good to know that you’ll be taking your shoes off quite a bit.
It’s customary to remove your shoes when entering places of religious worship and that definitely applies to the Grand Palace. It’s a good idea to wear socks and even pack an extra pare with you.
8. Don’t Miss the Emerald Buddha
There are so many incredible temples to experience at the Grand Palace Bangkok. Still, one really stood above the rest for us!
The Emerald Buddha has been sitting inside this very temple since 1784, but it was traveling throughout Southeast Asia working miracles for years before that. In fact, it was so important that King Rama I built a special temple around it.
Unfortunately, this is one of the only Buddha statues you can’t take photos of. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best parts of visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok and must-see on your trip to the city.
9. See More Temples After the Bangkok Palace
While The Grand Palace in Bangkok Thailand was a highlight of our time here, there are certainly a few more temples worth seeing! Just down the street is the Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho) which is known as the reclining Buddha.
Also, check out Wat Arun, Wat Saket Ratchaworamahawihan, and Wat Trai Mit Witthayaram Worawihan to name a few.
Where to Stay in Bangkok
Ultra Luxury – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok – Enjoy all the best luxury amenities right in the heart of Bangkok! JW Marriott offers the 5 star experience with a spa, epic city views, and an award-winning steakhouse.
Central Location – Riva Surya Bangkok – Sitting along the banks of the Chao Phraya River, this boutique hotel puts you in the perfect spot to explore the capital. Enjoy a unique stay while still being close to all the action of Bangkok.
BTS Skytrain – Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam – Sitting in the center of Bangkok’s famous Siam shopping district, the Holiday Inn is a great place to lay your head after a day of exploring. Take in the views of the National Stadium from your room and its convenient location next to the BTS Skytrain station.
Chinatown – Ago Hotel – Charming Boutique hotel just a quick walk away from all the action of Chinatown! Enjoy a traditional breakfast and the lively lounge area with music on the weekends.
Budget Travel – VIX Bangkok at Victory Monument – Awesome and affordable option for travelers visiting Bangkok. Comfortable rooms and close to many great food options.
Hostel Stay – Once Again Hostel – Fun hostel in Bangkok’s bustling Old Town. Dorms of all sizes available and it’s walking distance to many of the famous temples. You can even make some new friends at the rooftop bar!
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own tips for the Grand Palace Bangkok? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Thailand Travel Planning
Transportation: While traveling through Thailand 12Go is where we find all our ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! You can find everything from island hopping speed boats to the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over Phuket! You can find everything from a James Bond island luxury sunset cruise, to Phuket Old Town 15-taster food adventure, and 5-hour island tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.