A Royal Experience: A Visit to the Temples and Palaces of Bangkok
One of the things that shouldn’t be missed when getting to Thailand is a visit to its temples, palaces and mansions. These temples are part of the country’s tradition and way of life. With that said, we ensure not to miss seeing such structures when we had our time off in Bangkok. Imagine the architecture composed of dazzling ornament and pieces of painted glass and ceramic bejeweled with structures covered with shimmering gold, certainly a royal experience to see the country’s unique legacy.
With the various number of these structures spread across the capital city of Thailand, we had only visited those that are most important. With an overload experience with temples during our trip in Siem Reap, I guess seeing two or three temples in Bangkok would be good enough for us already.
It was our second day in Bangkok. We woke up at around 8:00 AM ICT and left Kawin Place Guesthouse after an hour to tour the city with our first destination at Wat Pho.
Wat Pho or Wat Po is a Buddhist temple situated in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok. It is located in the Rattanakosin district which is directly adjacent to the Grand Palace. The name Wat Po comes from its original name of Wat Potaram. The temple is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha with its official name as Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan. The temple was founded in the seventeenth century, making it the oldest temple in Bangkok.
The temple is walkable from Khaosan road. We walked for about 15 minutes from our guesthouse to get to the temple.
There’s an entrance fee of THB 100.00 per person which includes a bottle of drinking water. The complex is open daily from 08:00 AM ICT to 05:00 PM ICT. Please take note that dress code is being implemented inside the complex. Wear an appropriate attire when you visit the vicinity.
Wat Pho houses more than one thousand Buddha images.
As well as the one of the largest single Buddha images of 160 ft length, the Reclining Buddha.
The complex is consists of two walled compounds divided by Soi Chetuphon running east–west. The northern walled compound is where the reclining Buddha and massage school are found. The southern walled compound, Tukgawee, is a working Buddhist monastery with monks in residence and a school.
We spent an hour on this complex to roam its entirety.
Grand Palace Complex
After spending our time seeing the different structures and Buddha images inside Wat Po, we then left the compound and moved on to our second destination, the Grand Palace Complex. The area is only nearby so we just walked to get there. However, please be aware of scams and touts who’ll approach you along your way. Case in our point when someone approached us and introduced himself as a tourist police. He told us that the Grand Palace is closed that day because it’s Buddhist day. Good thing I made my research beforehand thus I was aware of such scenario, Grand Palace Complex is open everyday thus closing it to celebrate Buddhist day is a bogus, unless it’s being used for a state function, which is quite rare. You can actually determine if the palace is open since there’s a recording that keeps on playing in every corner of the complex. Going back, he told us to go to another place which he specified the place and asked us to ride a tuk tuk. Well everything went clear to me, certainly a scam. Despite of knowing his modus operandi already, we politely declined his offer and pretended by telling him that we’ll just go back to our hotel. Better to be polite than to be rude, we’re in a foreign country anyway.
So we left the man and resumed walking to get to our destination. When we reached the end of the pathway, voila there’s the Grand Palace Complex entrance area flocked with tourists.
We went inside the Grand Palace complex and moved quickly to reach the entrance fee area. We then paid the THB 400.00 entrance fee for each which also includes an entrance to Vimanmek Mansion. The palace is open everyday from 08:30 AM ICT to 03:30 PM ICT. Please also take note that dress code is being implemented inside the palace complex. Wear an appropriate attire when you visit the area.
The Grand Palace which is a complex of buildings situated at the heart of Bangkok was established in 1782. It is said to be the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since then. Today, it is partially open to the public as a museum and serves as a tourist attraction as well; though it is still the center of ceremony and of the monarchy.
The complex doesn’t only consists of the royal residence and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
The complex covers an area of 218,000 square meters which is surrounded by four walls with 1900 meters in length.
The Grand Palace is made up of numerous structures, gardens and courtyards.
It is divided into several quarters such as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; the Outer Court, with numerous public buildings; the Middle Court, which includes the Phra Maha Monthian Buildings, the Phra Maha Prasat Buildings and the Chakri Maha Prasat Buildings; the Inner Court and the Siwalai Gardens quarter.
With a lot of structures and images to see inside the complex we got tired and subsequently gave up touring around. Everything seems to look the same. But needless to say, those structures and designs of each of those buildings are really royalty and magnificent. The architectures are very impressive.
We spent an hour and a half roaming the most area of the complex. We missed some of the structures and temples because of exhaustion and time constraints.
It feels overwhelming seeing a lot of temples since we started our Southeast Asia tour. Quota na ako for the next two years.
It wasn’t in the initial plan to visit Vimanmek Mansion but since we ditched our itinerary for the next day, we’ve just decided to visit the mansion. Anyway it was included in the ticket we bought at the Grand Palace, so we have nothing to pay if we pay a visit.
From our guesthouse in Khaosan Road, we rode a cab to get to the mansion which is located in the Dusit Palace complex, nearby Dusit Zoo in Dusit district. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the place.
Vimanmek Mansion is the former royal palace in Bangkok, Thailand. It is also known to be the largest golden teak wood mansion.
The palace was used as a royal palace by King Rama V for five years until the completion of Amphorn Satharn Villa in 1906. In 1932, the Vimanmek Palace was used only as a storage place of the Bureau of the Royal Household. Now, the palace also serves as a museum and a tourist attraction.
The mansion is open everyday from 9:30 AM ICT to 3:15 PM ICT with ticket being sold until 3:00 PM ICT. The last tour group starts at 3:15 PM ICT.
Picture taking isn’t allowed inside. No bags, gadgets to name a few allowed inside the mansion. You have to pay for the locker to store your valuables.
Also, a dress code is being implemented in the vicinity so wear appropriately when you visit the place.
It was just a short tour although it is somehow different to the first two places we’ve been to as this time we went inside the mansion and we were able to see how the interior of a mansion looks like. By touring inside the place, I saw how grand it was. The different paintings, furniture, collections to name a few. Certainly, a royal visit inside the Vimanmek Mansion.
The architecture of the temples and palaces that we had visited in Bangkok look really impressive. But more than anything else, the structures and compositions of these temples and palaces tell how elegant the culture and heritage of this country was.
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