The Grand Palace of Bangkok is situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River at the heart of the Rattanakosin Island, in the Phra Nakhon District. The palace is the living example of the creativity and craftsmanship of Thai people. It was comprised of the Thai war ministry, state departments, and even the mint.
Even today the complex remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom. Since 1782, this palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (Thailand). The king, his court and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. The palace is indeed one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand.
The Grand Palace was built in 1782 by the founder of the Chakri Dynasty - King Phutthayotfa Chulalok or King Rama I. It was the time when he moved the city capital from Thonburi to Bangkok. Later, many new buildings and structures were added to the premises, majorly during the reign of King Rama V.
By 1925, the Royal Family and the government was no longer permanently settled at the palace and so they moved to other residences nearby. While after the abolition of absolute monarchy in 1932, all government agencies completely moved out of the palace.
The Grand Palace complex is roughly rectangular, stretched in the area of 218,400 square meters (2,351,000 sq ft), surrounded by four walls. The Grand Palace is not a single structure but is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens, and courtyards. It has been a result of organic development, additions, and rebuilding of the structure by successive reigning kings over 200 years of history.
It is divided into several quarters: The Temple of the Emerald Buddha; the Outer Court, the Middle Court, Phra Maha Monthien Buildings, the Phra Maha Prasat Buildings, and the Chakri Maha Prasat Buildings; the Inner Court and the Siwalai Gardens quarter.
To the north of the Grand Palace there is a large field, the Thung Phra Men, now Sanam Luang, which is used as an open space for royal ceremonies and as a parade ground. The road running north leads to the Front Palace, the residence of the Second King of Siam.
The easiest way to get there is by Chao Phraya express boat. Opening hours are daily from 8:30 am until 3:30 pm. The Palace is very rarely closed, only when it is used for official state functions.
Entrance fee is 500 Thai Baht per person.
If you show up in short pants or sleeveless shirts, clothing can be rented at the entrance at 200 Thai Baht per person.
The Grand Palace with The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Thailand's most sacred site and visitors are expected to be properly dressed before being allowed to enter the temple.
Men are to wear long pants and shirts with sleeves. Women must be similarly modestly dressed.