After the Temple of Reclining Buddha or Wat Pho, our local tour brought us to the Temple of Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew. If Wat Pho is the oldest and the largest temple in the city, Wat Phra Kaew is the most sacred temple. The temple was located inside the Grand Palace in the Banglamphu area of Bangkok, also known as the Old City. They are must-go tourist destinations in Bangkok.
The place opens from 8.30AM – 3.30PM. If you are not together with a tour, it’s good to reach here early. Since it is a top tourist destination, it always crowded. The entrance fee is THB350 (this was in 2011). Personal audio guides in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese or Mandarin, are also available for rent at THB100.
If you who were to visit temples and the Grand Palace, it’s better to wear a proper attire (no shorts, mini skirts, tights or sleeveless shirts). Visitors were not to expose any skin, including arms, lower legs and toes. Visitors who dressed inappropriately required to rent suitable clothing. My brother wore a shorts and had to rent a long pants before entering the palace.
Despite its function as a sacred place for people to pray, the number of tourists who payed a visit here is bigger. All I could hear here were the sounds of the microphone of the tour guides buzzing everywhere.
The architecture inside the compound was what amazed me. You could see Thailand everywhere. We saw the gold plated stupa roof which is also the trademark features of Thai building. Because of the crowd, it took sometime to move. Because of the distinct colourful stupas and building, people were busy taking pictures. I was not surprised that we had to take turns to take photos in some favourite spots.
The main chamber where the Emerald Buddha was placed, was guarded. Visitors were to keep noise down to respect the people who came to pray. Unfortunately, no photo-taking were allowed here (if you are curious about how the Emerald Buddha looks like, I’m sure you can find it online)
Just like its name, Emerald Buddha was made of jade. It was believed to be originated from Sri Lanka and this Buddha image was so important that only the King himself is allowed to touch it. The King changed the image’s robes in three times a year in the hope for good fortune.
After our visit to the Temple of Emerald Buddha, we headed to the main part of the Grand Palace. It is the area where the most important residential and state buildings are located. The most recognisable building in the Grand Palace was, Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall. The architectural style is a blend of Thai and European style.
After touring the Grand Palace, we went out from the main entrance, the Wisetchaisri Gate. There, you can post with the stoic soldiers who guard the palace and stand rigidly with bayonets fixed, just as with the famous London Beefeaters!
How to go there:
– By public bus: No 8, No 12
– By boat: Chao Phraya River Express (disembark at Tha Chang)
Open: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
– Admission fee: 200THB for foreigners; Free admission for locals