A kingdom isn’t complete without palaces, and Thailand is no exception. The Grand Palace compound is found in Bangkok and the best way to tour it is with a dedicated tour guide. The present monarch, Bhumibol Adulyadej, spends most of his time in the Klai Kangwon Villa in Hua Hin. The compound in Bangkok holds palaces that were once the official residences of monarchs before him. The variety of styles of the buildings is due to the nature of their completion – each monarch adding his own building/courtyards over time.
NOTE: If visiting, make sure your shoulders and knees are covered. If you don’t want to wear a long-sleeve like I did my first trip, bring a shawl with you. For Thais, it’s disrespectful to enter a place of worship showing that much skin.
Middle Court & Temple of the Emerald Buddha
The popular region of the complex holds three throne rooms and courtyards. Each building is so distinct with intricate patterns or carvings on their exteriors. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) holds one of the most revered artefacts – the buddha image carved from jade. It sits on a very high gold structure and is easily the most crowded site on the compound. This temple in particular does not allow photography inside.
The temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) is also the site of a school that teaches traditional Thai massage. The Buddha is stunning, and lies on his side with a majestic 46m span!
Temple of the Dawn
Most tour packages will also take you across the Chao Phraya river using a ferry to the Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun). You will have the chance to carefully climb the steep steps to get a breathtaking view of Bangkok. It is named the Temple of the Dawn because the sunrise in Bangkok reflects off its surface with a pearl-like luminescence.
Temple of the Golden Mount
This temple requires climbing a mountain (there are steps built up and around the sides of it). It has a very unique history that is worth reading about. This temple (Wat Saket) also has a rooftop platform that offers 360° views of Bangkok around the chedi.
Temples are a must when you visit Thailand. Which temple has left you in awe in this beautiful city?