Grand Palace in Bangkok
An extravagant palace complex that was home to the Thai royals for over 200 years, the Grand Palace is also home to the famous Wat Phra Kaew and its Emerald Buddha.
The construction of the Grand Palace - or Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang, if you'd like to practice your Thai - began in 1792 under the orders of King Rama I, who had recently made Bangkok the new capital city. The residence of the Thai royals from its inauguration until 1925, these days the sprawling riverside complex is used for ceremonial purposes, and parts are open for people like us to visit.
The numerous halls, throne rooms, pavilions, gardens and courtyards - while elegant - do represent many diverse architectural styles, as the Grand Palace was expanded and added to throughout its more than 200 years of history.
Amongst the ornately-carved, golden-lacquered buildings, the most important is undoubtedly the Wat Phra Kaew Temple, which houses Thailand's palladium - a sculpture said to protect the nation. The Emerald Buddha - while in fact carved from jade, and surprisingly only around 18 inches (45 cm) in height - has been the country's most venerated icon since its creation in the 15th century. The Buddha himself and his temple are well worth a visit!
Please note: there is a dress code enforced for those entering the Grand Palace and any temples in Bangkok. Cover your shoulders and knees, and remove shoes when entering a room with a Buddha statue in.
If you'd like to delve deeper into the history of Bangkok, the Grand Palace and this iconic temple, check out our tour of the complex that includes hotel transfers, entrance fees an an expert English-speaking guide:
Daily from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.
Bangkok Grand Palace Guided Tour 2,000 THB (US$ 57.90)
Via boat: catch the Chao Phraya Express to the Tha Chang stop.
The nearest BTS Skytrain stop is Saphan Taksin, from there you'll have to take a boat up the river, or get a tuk-tuk.
Wat Pho Temple (424 m) Wat Arun Temple (777 m) Bangkok's Chinatown (2.1 km) Jim Thompson House Museum (4 km) MBK shopping centre (4.2 km)