The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew really are places you must visit while you are in Bangkok. Both have considerable historical significance and are extremely beautiful places to see.
The Grand Palace was built in 1782 by King Rama I who established Bangkok as Thailand's new capital. The palace was to be bigger and grander than palaces built in the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya eras to underscore the significance of the change of capital. The result was a palace of jewels and gold and splendor like never seen before in Thailand. The Grand Palace remained the Royal Family's official residence from 1782 to 1946. The last king to live there was King Chulalongkorn.
Wat Pra Kaew was built to house the Emerald Buddha which was returned to Thailand after Thailand's the capture of Vientiane in 1778. The Emerald Buddha is the most important representation of the Buddha in Thai Buddhism. To pray before the Emerald Buddha is to make merit, and although this is an important place on any visitor's itinerary, it is important to recognise that this is a place of worship and should be respected as such.
You must dress appropriately before guards will permit you to enter the Palace. If you do not have long sleeved shirts/blouses or long trousers or dresses/skirts with you, it is possible to hire cloth at the gates of the Palace. This cloth can be wrapped around you and worn as a 'Sarong' or across your shoulders.
Under no circumstances must you point your feet at the Emerald Buddha - to do so is sacrilege. If you can not cross you legs, avoid sitting down. If you do point your feet at the Buddha image, you could be ejected.
Photography inside the Emerald Buddha Chapel is strictly forbidden. This is not just a requirement of the chapel; taking pictures of Buddha images is against the law.
Details: Admission fee is 400 Baht. The fee also includes tickets to the Coin Pavillion, Vimanmek Mansion and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall, all of which are worth seeing in their own right. The site is open 08:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 01:00 p.m. - 03:30 p.m.
Tel: +66 2224 3328, +66 2226 0255
Fax: +66 2225 9158
How to get there: The Grand Palace and Wat Pra Kaew are in the Banglamphu area of Bangkok - the 'Old City'. You can take a taxi or Tuk Tuk. The following buses will get you there:
Bus Number: 1, 35, 44,47, 123, 201
Air-conditioned Bus Number: 2, 3, 7, 8, 12, 25, 39, 44, 82