The Grand Palace (พระบรมมหาราชวัง, map) is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The king, his court, and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925.
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It is divided into several quarters: the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (map); the Outer Court, with many public buildings; the Middle Court, including the Phra Maha Monthien Buildings, the Phra Maha Prasat Buildings and the Chakri Maha Prasat Buildings; the Inner Court and the Siwalai Gardens quarter. The Grand Palace is currently partially open to the public as a museum.
The largest and most important court is the Middle Court or the Khet Phra Racha Than Chan Klang (เขตพระราชฐานชั้นกลาง) is situated in the central part of the Grand Palace, where the most important residential and state buildings are located.
The Museum of the Emerald Buddha Temple (พิพิธภัณฑ์วัดพระศรีรัตนศาสดาราม), despite its name, is the main artefacts repository of both the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha complex. The ground floor of the museum displays a varied selection of artefacts.
The upper floor rooms display more artistic and precious objects. In the main hall are two architectural models of the Grand Palace, the first representing the Grand Palace during the reign of King Rama I, and another in the reign of King Rama V. Behind these are numerous Buddha images and commemorative coins.
The best advice we can give you is to not plan anything major on the day of your visit to the royal residence if you can. You’ll be exhausted after exploring everything that this mega royal site has to offer.
Arrive right when the Grand Palace opens (8:30 a.m.). Doing so will give you a short while to enjoy the grounds before big tour groups and heat move in.
A visit to the Grand Palace is going to be a busy and sweaty experience, so take it easy. Spare at least 2-3 hours to explore and take several rest breaks in the shade. The beauty of the palace is in its intricate details. Remind yourself just how amazing this place is and don’t rush around.