Located at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand, the Grand Palace was a former residence for King Rama I to King Rama V of the Rattanakosin Kingdom. Today, the place is used for hosting royal ceremonies and welcoming the king’s guests, State guests, and other foreign dignitaries. It is also a place where remains of kings and high-ranked members of the royal family were situated before cremation. The Grand Palace is divided into two main zones, which are the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the royal residence. The latter is divided into three major areas: the Outer Court, the Middle Court, and the Inner Court. The Outer Court starts from Wiset Chai Si Gate to Phiman Chai Si Gate and includes the inner walls of the Grand Palace. It is now the location of several state offices such as the Bureau of the Royal Household, Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary, and the Office of the Royal Institute. The Middle Court starts from Phiman Chai Si Gate to Sanam Ratchakit Gate. The area is where significant royal ceremonies are held such as the Royal Coronation and the Royal Ceremony of Coronation Day. Situated in the Middle Court area are the Phra Maha Monthien Buildings, the Chakri Maha Prasat Buildings, the Phra Maha Prasat Buildings, and the Siwalai Gardens quarter. The Inner Court starts from Sanam Ratchakit Gate to Thaew Teng, the row houses which were formerly palace walls during the reign of King Rama I. The southern area of the Inner Court was then a female-only zone; no man except for the king was allowed to get into the area, where the queens, consorts, consort mothers, and daughters of the king lived together with many ladies-in-waiting and servants. The area no longer served as a residence nowadays.
The Royal Grand Palace was founded in 1782 on the site which was called Bang Chin or Bang Cheen that means the aquatic site where the Chinese lived. It was a settlement of the Chinese-lineal Thais. Then the Chinese there were moved by Rama I–the founder of the present dynasty, to Talad Noi which is now a part of the Bangkok’s China Town. It took about 3 years to build the palace for the first phase. The area of the palace was smaller than what it is nowadays. About 40 years later, it was expanded and added with more buildings in the following reigns to become the extensive palace as seen nowadays.
Borommaphiman Throne HallIt was built in 1903,designed by a German and the interior was modified by an Italian. It was used as a residential place of several kings including King Phumiphol–the previous king till 1950. At present , it is partly used as a royal guest accommodation.
Aamaridthara Winitchai Throne HallIt belongs to the group of Throne Halls called Phramahamonthien Group meaning the group of halls used as king’s accommodation. The group consists of three main throne halls ,namely Amarindthara Winitchai Throne Hall , Phaisanthaksin Throne hall and Chakkaphat Phiman Throne Hall. Only Amaridthara Winitchai Throne Hall can be visited. It was used as an audience hall of kings and male officiasl. It has been used as a hall for coronation. It is also used for anniversary ceremonies such as the king’s birthday–December 5th and King Rama V commemoration day–October 23rd.
Chakkari Throne HallIn the past, it was mainly used as an accommodation of king Rama V. At present , it is used as a multi-functioned hall. It was designed by an English named John Clunish. The building has three floors with three main halls–the central hall, the eastern hall and the western hall. The ground floor or the first floor is used as an office of the royal guardians (หรือ royal pages) and the museum of weapon. The central floor or the second floor is used as a reception hall and a royal banquet hall. The upper most floor or the third floor is used for keeping the relics of King Rama IV to VIII and the queen’s and objects of veneration such as Buddha images. The building shows Thai and European mixed style. The roof structure shows Thai art and the lower part shows the European art. It is hilariously said that it looks like a European one who wears a Thai headdress (or Thai crown).
Dusit Maha PrasatIt is the oldest throne hall in the palace. It was built in the reign of King Rama I about 227 years ago. In the past , it was mainly used as an audience hall with male officials. At present ,it is used for two main functions–the coronation anniversary of the king ,May 5th and the lying-in-state (or the funeral)of the high rank royal family members.The throne hall has four wings;they are nowadays used for different purposes. The front wing has a porch and a throne for kings , Buddha images or objects of veneration to be seated. The eastern wing(the right wing of the building) is used for displaying King Rama I ‘s bed. The western wing (the left wing of the building) is used for placing the urn in the lying-in-state (funeral). The back wing (or the rear wing) is used as a path for kings to proceed between the hall and the inner court. This wing has two thrones–one in the front and one in the back. The one in the front is back to the reign of King Rama I about 230 years ago and the one in the back was made later in the reign of King Rama IV.
Aphorn Phimok PrasatIt was built to be in honor of King Rama IV. It has a platform which can be used for stepping on palanquin (or sedan chair) in ceremonies. In the past , a top-knot cutting ceremony(or tonsorial ceremony) of the royal children was performed here.
DusidaphiromIt is used for the ceremony of changing outfit before the kings proceed to visit other places. There are two platforms–one for proceeding to a palanquin (or sedan chair) and one for proceeding to an elephant back.
Ho SattratrakhomIn the former time, it was used for the ceremonies of making amulets and sacred weapons for those to go for battle. It was also used for monks to pray making sacred water. Nowadays, it regularly used on Buddhist Sabbath Day by monks to pray making sacred water.
Phrathinang SanamchanIn the past ,it was another place by kings to have an audience or to take a rest. At present, it is sometimes applied as a place in the worship ceremony of the relics of King Rama I to Rama III.
The Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations and CoinsThe Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations and Coins is the museum under the Treasury Department responsibility, exhibits most precious and exquisite national treasures of Thai history. The museum was first established as Thai Coin Pavilion with royal permission to use some part of the Privy Purse Office in the Grand Palace to display the evolution of Thai coins.
Since its opening, the Thai Coin Pavilion had drawn large numbers of Thai and foreign visitors. The Treasury Department therefore asked for royal permission to use an additional area of the Privy Purse Office to establish an exhibition of royal regalia and decorations. Over the decades, the museum has seen major changes and renovations. The museum was renamed The Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations
Permanent Exhibition Floor 1 – exhibits most interesting valuable national treasures of Thai history which present Thailand’s unique, rich art, and cultural heritage. The gracious honorable when Their Majesties the King and Queen, Their Royal Highnesses Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Princess Chulabhorn presided over the inauguration of the museum.
Permanent Exhibition Floor 2 – displays Royal Decorations and Regalia in different categories, and Paraphernalia in auspicious ceremonies, which are royal ordained, coronation, celebratory ceremony for the newborn princes and princesses. Moreover, the museum presents history of national treasures, such as attires of the Emerald Buddha, Silvery Tree and Golden Tree, etc. and the evolution of Thai coins from the past to present reigns.
Please do not dress this way when entering a Temple or place of worship. There are strict with dress code so be prepared! So if you are not sure then make sure.
- No sleeveless shirts
- No vests
- No short top
- No see through tops
- No short hot pants or short pants
- No torn pants
- No tight pants
- No bike pants
- No mini skirts
source: Tourism Authority of Thailand, Piyawat P. (2016)
Daily from 8:30 AM – 3.30 PM