Thailand – Bangkok – The Grand Palace

– DECEMBER 30, 2015

The Grand Palace 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.  The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently resides at Chitralada Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events.  Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year.  The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand.

Construction of the palace began on May 6, 1782, at the order of King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I), the founder of the Chakri Dynasty, when he moved the capital city from Thonburi to Bangkok.  Throughout successive reigns, many new buildings and structures were added, especially during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).  By 1925, the king, the Royal Family and the government were no longer permanently settled at the palace, and had moved to other residences.  After the abolition of absolute monarchy in 1932, all government agencies completely moved out of the palace.

In shape, the palace complex is roughly rectangular and has a combined area of 218,400 square metres, surrounded by four walls.  Rather than being a single structure, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards.  Its asymmetry and eclectic styles are due to its organic development, with additions and rebuilding being made by successive reigning kings over 200 years of history.  It is divided into several quarters: the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; 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, but it remains a working palace, with several royal offices still situated inside.

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The Grand Palace

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The Grand Palace

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The Grand Palace

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The Grand Palace – Model of Angkor Wat

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The Grand Palace – Model of Angkor Wat

Next up will be a day trip to Ayutthaya and a Bangkok New Years celebration.

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For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.