Tips for visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok
The Grand Palace is Bangkok’s most famous attraction and for good reason. The elaborate splendor and intricate, glittering decoration on the stunning Wat Phra Kaew temple of the Emerald Buddha really has to seen to be believed.
But the sheer number of tourists to the Grand Palace attract equal numbers of touts and scammers meaning that visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok may not be that easy for first time travelers.
Here’s 7 tips on how to outsmart the scams when visiting Bangkok’s Grand Palace:
Don’t believe anyone who saws that the Grand Palace is closed today this a set up to get you on a tuk tuk tour, shopping trip or a gem sale scam. Politely ignore these scammers and continue confidently towards to Grand Palace
I avoid tuk tuks in Bangkok as they are not very practical and are seen as a tourist trap, most of the time you will get ripped off, taken to an overpriced shop or somewhere you didn’t want to go, get over charged or will have to haggle hard to negotiate a good rate.
The sky train is quick and cheap, boats are cheap and fun and when taxis are cheap and air conditioned, make sure the driver uses the meter. If he refuses simply hail down another cab. There is no reason, apart for the novelty, to use a tuk tuk.
Arrive Early. In the heat the swarms of tour groups and droves of other tourists ruining photos can be exhausting. Try to do sightseeing early to avoid the worst of the heat and crowds. The Grand Palace opens at 8.30 with most of the tour groups turning up after 9 so arrive early and give yourself time to enjoy it without other people getting in your way.
Cover Up – The Grand Palace has a dress code (like many temples and religious sites and places associated with the Thai royal family) To enter you need to have your shoulders and legs covered down to well below your knees. So wear something light and long, many stalls on Khao San Road sell lightweight baggy pants in loads of funky designs popular with backpackers.
If you don’t have anything you can rent some cover ups at the palace but you will have to queue to receive and return them, pay a deposit and it just makes you a target for the scammers outside to tell you that you won’t be allowed in and they will take you on an expensive shopping trip to their friends shop!
Bring Enough Water and Cash. If you’ve come from colder climates Bangkok’s heat and humidity can be exhausting and the Grand Palace is a large complex. Make sure you bring enough water to keep hydrated as it’s easy to get dehydrated in the sun while exploring the palace and no water is on sale inside. Also, the ticket price for foreigners keeps increasing and the Grand Palace only accepts cash so make sure you have enough – 500 Baht at the time of writing.
Do Your Research. Find out a bit if you can about the history of the Grand Palace, the Emerald Buddha, Thai mythology and the Buddhist religion. Doing your homework will make your visit to the Grand Palace much more interesting as you will understand what some of the murals and mythical creatures mean and will gain a greater appreciation for what you’ve experienced by knowing more about it. You could also hire a tour guide but make sure you agree on the fee first to avoid being overcharged.
Be Cautious of Over Friendly Locals. Whilst it can incredibly rewarding to connect with local people you need to exercise caution as some over friendly locals may just be trying to scam you, to get you to part with your cash in some way or part of a gem scam or tea shop scam.
But most importantly, don’t let anything put you off seeing this must see sight. Bangkok’s Grand Palace is literally dripping with glitter and gold and the mesmerising mythical creatures and elaborate details really need to be seen to be believed.
For more on the Grand Palace also see Bangkok’s Glittering Grand Palace