The stunning Grand Palace and glittering Wat Phra Kaew are Bangkok’s most famous attraction and for good reason.
A Glittering Grand Palace
The extravagant Grand Palace is the jewel of all Thailand’s dazzling temples and palaces and the highlight is the mesmerizing Wat Phra Kaew.
The elaborate splendor and intricate decoration on the stunning Wat Phra Kaew, the temple of the Emerald Buddha really has to seen to be believed. The place is a mesmerising riot of glitter and gold with stunning details everywhere you look.
Every surface is covered with intricate, mirror and glass mosaics that glint in the sun while shimmering golden stupas rise up toward the sky.
Hundreds of mythical creatures adorn the palace; pairs of giant yakshas guard the entrance, cheeky hanuman monkeys hold up the gilded stupas, five headed naga snakes slither down stair rails while garuda birds line the walls.
The Grand Palace is a huge complex of temples, halls, pavilions, courtyards, royal residences and offices in different styles. Construction on the Grand Palace started in 1782 under the reign of King Rama I, throughout the period of absolute monarchy from 1782 to 1932, it was both the country’s administrative and religious center.
It still remains the official residence of the Thai royal family although they stopped actually living here in 1925.
Inside the temple elaborate, detailed, gold embossed murals are painted all over the walls depicting the Buddha’s life and path to enlightenment.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Wat Phra Kaew is also known as the temple of the Emerald Buddha and houses Thailand’s most precious national treasure.
It is thought that the Emerald Buddha was made in India in 43 BC and legend has it that it changed hands many times, ending up in Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia and Laos. When the Thai’s captured Cambodia’s Angkor Wat in 1432 the Emerald Buddha came to Northern Thailand but there are many legends and conflicting stories.
The famous Emerald Buddha is actually made from jade but still looks spectacular sitting high up on a golden alter adorned with golden robes that get changed by the King himself in a ceremony at the start of Thailand’s three seasons.Thailand’s most precious treasure – the Emerald Buddha
The temple is literally dripping with gold, glittering mosaics and amazing mythical creatures that create a dazzling, mesmerising effect, there is so much to see.
Make sure to take in the glorious details of the beautiful murals that run around the courtyard that depict the Ramakian the Thai version of the influential Hindu epic the Ramayana. After being recently restored it runs in an intricate, golden freeze all around the walls of the courtyard.
Bangkok’s Grand Palace may be hot, crowded and expensive but you can’t miss this amazingly intricate, dazzling sight.
For practical information check out my guide to Surviving Bangkok’s Grand Palace