For any traveller, it is painful to read about political unrest or natural calamity in a place/city/country of tourist interest. Be it the Spring Uprising in Egypt or the Uttarakhan disaster last year or now, the clashes in Bangkok, how you wish, the world was a safer place. When the Thai government imposed a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok in January this year, I couldn’t but help think about the negative impact it would have on the tourism of the country. Summers are round the corner and a whole lot of Indians look Thai-wards for a good family vacation. The political uncertainty would be a big dampner.
I kept thinking about these when I read newspaper reports from Bangkok this morning. And then my mind wandered to the tour of the Grand Palace that we had undertaken on the last day of our tour there. A must-visit, the Grand Palace is a sprawling complex that houses many magnificient buildings and temples. Although home to the Thai royal family, a huge portion of the Palace grounds is open to tourists providing a good peek into the life of the royals.
What all can be seen at the Grand Palace in Bangkok? Grand Palace courtyard and Temple Gods, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Royal Reception Halls, Dusit Hall and a museum and the Dusit Zoo.
Timings of the Grand Palace in Bangkok: 8.30 am to 3.30 pm. It is open every day. Buy tickets for the Grand Palace in Bangkok from the ticketing counter or alternatively, get your hotel to book it for you.
What is the Dress Code for The Grand Palace in Bangkok? Conservative. Men need to wear full pants. Women need to wear outfits that cover the hands and the legs completely. No noddle-straps or tank tops. In case you went dressed otherwise, there is a counter that offers cotton pants to men, and stoles and tie-around skirts to women on the payment of a deposit of 200 Baht. This is refundable as soon as you return the clothes that you borrowed.
How long does the Grand Palace tour take? More than half a day. So plan accordingly. We reached by 9.30 in the morning and strolled through at a leisurely pace, learning about the place and takings photos.
Is the Grand Palace tour child-friendly and elderly-friendly? Yes. More or less. Our daughter was 4 year old at the time of our visit and we carried her stroller that was easy to manoeuvre in the grounds. Carry enough water/juices since it can get very hot mid-day and afternoon. The temples have flights of stairs; but take heart, there aren’t many of them. Take your child to the Dusit Zoo in order to give them a reason to cheer after the ‘history’ walk of the temples and museum J
How to reach Grand Palace in Bangkok? Unfortunately, no sky-train or subway connects the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Hence, we booked a taxi. You can also take the bus or river ferry. Enquire at your hotel. Do note that the Grand Palace has a number of entry points but all foreign nationals can enter only through the main gate.