Move over Queen Elizabeth, The Thai King has a better Palace than you.
As my travel mate, Matt, arrived the night before in Bangkok, I was keen to get moving with my sightseeing of Bangkok. After all, I’m only on a 30 day visa for Thailand and there’s sooooooo many places I want to go in Thailand.
After a beautiful trip to Wat Arun and its amazing spires, the next place to visit on the Bangkok hit list was the Grand Palace.
After getting dropped off by a taxi (thankfully no tuk tuk) behind the Grand Palace, Matt and I walked in sweltering temperatures of around near 40 degrees celsius around the perimeter to get to the front. We kept getting stopped by the local Thais who kept saying that the Grand Palace was either shut, closed for 2 hours, or quite frankly, we weren’t allowed to go in. All blatant lies. It’s a ploy to get us to do what they want us to do. I ignored them and carried on. Guess what? The place was open and it would always be open unless it was a special holy day.
Walking through, I pulled on my shirt and trousers…I was so hot already before hand and the last thing I wanted to do was put on more layers. However, as the place has a very strong royal connection to the Thai royal family, it is incredibly important to cover your arms and legs as a sign of respect to the King.
Make sure you have the right shirt and trousers. This picture will help you.
Have no fear if you came with the wrong clothes. There is a borrowing service in which you can place down a deposit for an item of clothing. As Matt didn’t have any trousers, he had to borrow a manky pair of baggy trousers. Apparently it was chaffing him haha.
So off we went to buy our entrance ticket, and walked through on the foreign side as Thais can go in for free. Walking through we saw a hell lot of buildings. If you look on a Bangkok map, you can see the Grand Palace can take a huge chunk out of it with its perimeter.
Inside the Chapel of the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddha can be found inside. The Emerald Buddha. You cannot point your feet to the Buddha and you pray to the correct procedure.
There is a story behind the emerald Buddha as it was uncovered in 1700s in northern Thailand and there was plaster covering it. A monk cleaning it up accidentally broke off a piece of plaster to reveal the green surface underneath. He managed to uncover it all and proclaimed the Buddha to be made of Emerald. Actually, the stone is made of Jasper. Around that time, there was an issue with the Thai royal succession. A Laos King was invited to rule Thailand and marry a Chiang Mai princess and on the way down took the emerald Buddha with them. However, a war broke out and the Buddha was seized by Laos forces to be taken to Laos. There it stayed for a number of years until the Thais infiltrated Laos and took it back to sit in the Grand Palace itself.
The Emerald Buddha is clothed by the King himself 3 times a year as each cloth represents the seasons – hot, wet and dry. I think we were seeing the hot cloth. I would certainly agree in this heat!
After our vist to the temple, we explored more of the grounds and there were different activities going on in each corner either a military parade, chanting women etc. we also visited many of the buildings stored within and gawked at the mansions. Can I live there please? I’d do anything…
Queen Elizabeth should be rightly jealous of the gold and the over the top precious stone decorations. Maybe she can get Harry to marry a Thai princess and she has full use of the grounds…
Have you been to the Grand Palace?