If you are planning a visit to the Grand Palace Bangkok, the spectacular royal residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782, these tips will help you have the best possible time.
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Inside the Grand Palace
Meaning “in the front”, the outer court is accessible via the main Visetchaisri Gate with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and several state offices located inside the court. As the former royal government seat, the court is now used by the Royal Household.
The largest Middle Court is the main part of the Grand Palace and home to the most important set of throne halls in the entire Grand Palace complex. The middle court is also where Thai traditions meet European architecture.
The Inner Court known as “the Inside” is reserved exclusively for the King’s wife and daughters. And although currently vacant, this secretive part of the palace isn’t accessible to the general public.
Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)
On the left-hand side within the outer court sits the famous royal chapel, Wat Phra Kaew. Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the chapel is as old as the Grand Palace itself and is also considered the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.
Although no one really knows when the Emerald Buddha statue was made, Thais revere the sculpture carved out of jade stone, as the grand protector of the country.
Top Tips for Visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok
To prepare for your visit to the shimmering Grand Palace in Bangkok and capture some amazing memories, plan how and when you’ll get there. Check the dress code and decide what you’re going to wear, as well as, how much time you want to spend at the palace in total.
Here are several pointers to help you plan your perfect visit to the king’s palace in Bangkok.
How to Get to the Grand Palace
There are several ways you can get to the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The most popular way is to catch the BTS (Skytrain) and then a riverboat. But if you aren’t confident using the local transport, you can always catch a taxi or one of the designated hop-on-hop-off bus tours, boats or tuk-tuks.
BTS & Riverboat
The easiest way to get to the Grand Palace is via the BTS (Skytrain) and the Chao Phraya Express Boat.
Take the Silom Line (dark green), get off at Saphan Taksin Station (S6 Station) and take exit 2. Then, take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Ta Chang Pier (No.9) and walk for about 10 minutes, following the signs to Grand Palace.
For minimal hassle, you can also take the hop-on-hop-off Chao Phraya Tourist Boat. The boat stops at the major tourist spots in Bangkok including the Royal Palace Bangkok (Tha Maharaj Pier).
Unless you are staying in central Bangkok, hiring a tuk-tuk can get pretty expensive. If you, however, only have little time in the city and still want to see the major Bangkok landmarks, get a 1-day unlimited Hop-on-Hop-off pass.
The pass includes access for both tourist Tuk-Tuk and Chao Phraya Tourist Boat making it a hassle-free day out.
If you are on a budget, it’s always a good idea to check the distance between your hotel and the Grand Palace Bangkok. Taking alternative ways such as riverboats may be quicker and way cheaper than hiring a taxi.
But if a taxi is your preferred mode of transport, be sure to catch one with a meter. Using the Grab Taxi app (works like Uber) could be a good alternative to local taxis, especially those without a running meter.
Grand Palace Bangkok Tours
Taking a Grand Palace Bangkok tour could be a good option if your time in the city is limited. Mostly because you won’t need to worry about transportation and queuing – some Grand Palace tours include the skip the line tickets. You can even arrange a private customised tour with a private car or local transportation.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok
The cost of the Grand Palace entry ticket is 500 THB ($12.50) per person plus extra for an audio guide. Ideal if you are interested in some extra help navigating your way around the fascinating history and sights of the royal palace.
Best Time to Visit the Grand Palace
The Grand Palace Bangkok opening hours are 8.30 am to 3.30 pm, therefore, getting there as early as possible is a smart thing to do. Not only will the queue be shorter, but the heat won’t be as intense.
The afternoon is when all the bus tours start piling in, so exploring the Grand Palace in the morning is the best thing to do.
How Much Time do You Need to Explore the Grand Palace
A visit to the Grand Palace is going to be a busy and sweaty experience, so take it easy. Spare at least 2-3 hours to explore and take several rest breaks in the shade. The beauty of the palace is in its intricate details. Remind yourself just how amazing this place is and don’t rush around.
The best advice we can give you is to not plan anything major on the day of your visit to the royal residence if you can. You’ll be exhausted after exploring everything that this mega royal site has to offer.
Instead of rushing to see another landmark, get some lunch and a refreshing mango smoothie outside the palace to recharge your energy. Take a few hours to relax in the afternoon and come out again later in the evening feeling refreshed.
What to Wear for the Grand Palace
The dress code at the palace is strictly modest – no skimpy shorts or tank tops. You can get away with a shawl wrapped around your shoulders. There is also a tent near the entrance where you can get cover-ups if you have to by leaving a deposit.
It’s debatable whether you can wear flip-flops or not for entering the Grand Palace but maybe wear modest sandals or trainers just in case.
Where to Eat
Food prices around the Grand Palace will naturally be much higher compared to street food in less touristy places. To avoid overpaying for food, grab a refreshing mango smoothie from the street and head a few blocks away from the palace towards the Trok Maha That Amulet Market (link to the map)
It will only take you 10 minutes to reach the market. Once inside, walk right through the market until you see restaurants by the river. The market is a great hidden spot to have some amazing food for lunch.
We paid 204 THB ($5.83) for the tasty chicken stir fry, shrimp noodles, a plate of Morning Glory and two bottles of water. Massive thanks to Mark Wiens for the tip in one of his superb Thai food videos!
Travel Tip: Travelling beyond Bangkok? Make your travels around Thailand easy with the super friendly 12GoAsia website. Book online, and there’s no need to print your tickets, show them to the station staff before you board on your smartphone. No running around looking for a place to print anything. Nice!
Is the Grand Palace on your list of must-visit places in Bangkok? Let us know in the comments below…