Visit Thailand's Royal Palace

  |  Gorp.com

No trip to Thailand is complete without seeing Bangkok's ornately decorated Royal Palace (also known as the Grand Palace). Following the sacking of the Thai capital, Ayutthaya, in 1767, the Thais built a more defendable replica downriver on the Chao Phraya River. The city of Bangkok gradually sprang up around that palace.

Construction of the Royal Palace began in 1782 and was completed in time for the coronation of Rama I, the first king of the current dynasty (the current king, Bhumipol, is Rama IX and celebrates his 60th jubilee in 2006). The palace sits on about 60 acres and holds the bulk of Thailand's greatest treasures, including the Emerald Buddha in Thailand's most scared temple, Wat Phra Kaew.

The palace opens from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. most days and guided tours are available, but it's easy enough to wander the grounds on your own. Be sure to wear pants or skirts that cover the knees and shirts that cover the shoulders. This is actually a requirement if you are entering most palaces and temples in Bangkok, and be warned that officials do enforce this dress code.


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