Grand Palace, Bangkok: 8 Tips

If you are in Bangkok and do not take the effort to visit the Grand Palace, trust me, you are missing something! If you belong to the clan of people who marvel at architecture, creativity and construction capabilities (without modern day science), you just have to spend a day admiring the Grand Palace – I insist, and I haven’t met anyone who was disappointed after visiting this site.

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Here are eight things that you must keep in mind when you set out to visit the Grand Palace:

Dress Appropriately

No sleeveless T-shirts that expose your shoulders or shorts that show your knees; no three-fourth pants either. The dress code to enter the palace is very well defined – shoulders and full legs to be covered. We saw guards stopping people for not being dressed appropriately.

Appropriate clothing for Royal Palace, Bangkok

Appropriate clothing for Royal Palace, Bangkok

Ladies, a shawl/sarong over your shoulders won’t do the job; you need a jacket if you are wearing a top with straps. However, if you do end up here and aren’t dressed – do not despair. There are plenty of little shops outside the palace that sell loose harem pants and T-shirts …one size fits all.

Prohibited clothing at the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Prohibited clothing at the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Appropriate Footwear

As per rules, you need to wear covered shoes while you are in the palace compound. Shoes without straps or flip flops are not allowed. Carry a pair of socks that cover your ankle if you are in doubt. However, we did not see anyone being pulled out for wearing ‘inappropriate footwear’. We would recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes which keep your feet snug and comfortable. Exploring the palace well means taking a walking tour of at least four hours.

Stay Hydrated

Bangkok is hot and humid. We have been to the city thrice, and its always felt similar. Needless to say, it is important to carry a bottle of water. There are only a couple of shops inside the Palace complex, which charge a premium on the printed price. It is best to carry a bottle of water or some juice which is easily available outside the main gate.

Fresh fruit juice

Fresh fruit juice

Don’t Skip a Meal

We reached the Palace at 10 am, straight from Bangkok airport. We were sleep deprived and hungry. Our enthusiasm to visit the Palace took us right there, on an empty stomach. We assumed that there would be cafes inside the premises. Well, there are none…and we realised this after we had paid for our entrance ticket and could not go out. There was just one little shop near the ticket counter that helped us placate our rumbling tummies with some fresh fruits, cakes and croissants…very few options for us vegetarian souls.

Fresh cut papaya at the Grand Palace 'food shop'

Fresh cut papaya at the Grand Palace ‘food shop’

Carry Local Currency in Cash

The entrance ticket to the Grand Palace costs THB 500 and can be purchased at the entrance by paying cash. Credit cards weren’t accepted when we went. Suggest carrying local currency the entrance tickets, food and water.

Take a Guided Tour

We would highly recommend taking a guided tour: the electronic audio guide or the authorised tour guide – the choice is yours. You are provided with a m ap and a one page synopsis of the important points in the Palace. There are hardly any signs or displays to take you through.

The audio guide can be rented near the ticket window by paying THB 200 per audio set for 2 hours. You need to keep your passport/credit card as security deposit.

Audio Guide

Audio Guide

We preferred taking a tour guide, who took THB 700 to take five of us around the Palace and Temple of Emerald Buddha within two hours. If your bargaining skills are good, you may be able to strike a deal with the guide at ~THB 550-THB 600. Make sure you speak to him/her before paying up to ensure that you understand his/her accent.

Start Early

We have met plenty of people who have been to the Grand Palace. Everyone has loved it, but has cribbed by saying ‘It’s too crowded!’. Well, it is too crowded because it truly is a place worth seeing. Tourists flock in buses, regardless of the day of the week. Forget having a picture without the crowds in the background. If you still aspire for one such picture, visit early. The Palace timings are from 830 hrs to 1530 hrs (closed on Mondays). If you are amongst the first few to reach, you surely will come back with some ‘exclusive’ pictures.

Lots and lots and lots of people outside the ticket window

Lots and lots and lots of people outside the ticket window

Visit Other Sites

The entrance ticket to the Grand Palace also includes entrance to a few other sites that are printed on the ticket. Most of these sites are open to visitors till about 4 pm only. Plan your day well in case any of these sites interest you. While some of them are within the Palace compound, other like the ‘Teak House’ are a couple of kilometers away and may require a short cab ride or a long walk in the Sun!

Exiting the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Exiting the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Hoping that you do visit the Grand Palace when you in Bangkok …and that you have a great time there!

As always, feel free to send an email if you have any queries… glad to help! Let the travellers’ tribe grow!

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11 Responses

  1. shilpi sethi

    can u guide on what should be the travel plan on the list if u have 2 days in bangkok keeping in mind if a4 year old is accompanying .

    1. Most people with kids rave about the Bangkok Safari, which has plenty of animals and is a day long affair, with elephant, dolphin and bird shows. However, Ankur and I don’t support animals in captivity, especially were too many of them are crammed into a little space.
      Honestly, Bangkok is not a city for kids. You could explore Hua Hin – great resorts and good beach, a few hours away from Bangkok, provided your little one is fond of making sand castles.

  2. Jean

    I’m always surprised by how many people still turn up in shorts and singlet tops. Last time I was there I had a knee length skirt on and had to go buy plants. I’m now the proud owner of purple elephant pants

  3. I had fun exploring the Grand Palace in Bangkok. It was truly as beautiful as it is described. In fact, I was still overwhelmed because I knew it was going to be an architectural masterpiece but I did not anticipate it would be as grand as it is. I guess the term Grand Palace is fitting!

  4. Excellent guide. Good reminder about dress code – I often see so many tourists shocked that they have to cover up when visiting temples. There is always a strict dress code for most temples around the world. Great guide, lots of helpful information. Certainly looks like quite a Palace!

  5. Loads of great info in the post! I have also seen a lot of people trying to get into temples and churches with inappropriate clothes so its always good to remind people of this!

  6. It’s a bit odd that a shawl/scarf over your shoulders won’t do the job here! Most temples and palaces I’ve visited which require appropriate dress are okay with that, or otherwise rent out sarongs and scarves for ladies to cover up with. Still, if I ever visit I don’t think I’d have an issue as I mostly overdress! Thanks for the tip on food – I often make the same assumptions and am bitterly disappointed (and hungry!) when I get there and there’s nowhere to eat.

  7. I’ve visited the Grand Palace four times now, and it never gets boring, it always takes my breath away! These are all really great and informative tips, especially bringing lots of water as it gets very hot walking around in long trousers and covered shoulders during the warmer months! Also dressing appropriately is a must, you won’t be allowed in otherwise, and tourists/travellers should respect the local culture. Happy Travels!

  8. I remember visiting the Grand Palace when I was in Bangkok. I completely agree when you say you should arrive early. It was very crowded when I visited. It also nicer to visit before the midday sun comes out.
    Some great tips for others to follow.

  9. Starting early is something we always try and do whenever possible! We love getting somewhere before the crowds so you can really have lots of time to look at everything! Awesome tips thanks!

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