Reading time: 5 minutes
“I’m sorry. Sorry Sirrrrrr, the Grand Palace is closed!”
“Excuse me?” I respond
“Grand Palace. No open today.” The Thai man in a loose-fitting shirt and track pants repeats. His hair, weeks since being dyed bright orange, now looks odd under the heat of the Bangkok sun.
Keicheiro, my travel friend from Japan who I had met in Malaysia, and I look at each other, perplexed. Wondering what the hell is going on.
“Ceremony today. Palace reopen at three,” he continues, waiving three fingers in the air. “Lucky Buddha open today only. Let me show you” as he proceeds to signal a tuk tuk in waiting.
We decline his offer and move on to the main entrance of the Grand Palace.
He will continue to try this trick on other less aware tourists. At the so-called Lucky Buddha temple, another man waits with the same story.
What he is trying to achieve is getting you to take ride with his tuk-tuk buddy where you’ll eventually land up at some jewellery shop or the like, earning commission from the money spent at these shops and from the tuk-tuk driver too.
Other variations of this would be a long tailed boat ride along the Chao Phraya River or a visit to the king’s royal cashmere factory instead.
Don’t fall for this. The only time the complex is entirely closed is when being used for state functions, which rarely occurs. And this can be confirmed with your hotel/host prior to visit or from the main entrance itself.
More information about the Bangkok Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is one of the most visited sights and popular tourist attraction in Bangkok and all of Thailand.
And with good reason. The complex houses sacred sights and amazing archetypal Thai style buildings.
In the complex you will find, amongst others, the Royal Residence, the throne halls and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand’s most revered places.
The Palace is currently used for the hosting of royal ceremonials, official gatherings, the welcoming of the king’s guests and other government events.
As this is a holy sight, please remember to dress appropriately, covering shoulders and knees. Visitors must be properly attired before gaining entry to the temples.
Address: The Grand Palace can be found at: Na Phra Lan road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok.
Getting there: take the Chaophraya Express boat to Tha Chang. From here it’s a quick walk until the high white walls of the Palace are spotted.
Opening hours: The complex is open daily from 8:30 with the last entry being 15:30 and the palace closing at 16:30.
While the grand Palace grounds are open everyday (unless being used for state functions) the audience hall is only open during weekdays.
Entrance fee: 500 Baht for foreigners. Free for locals. The admission fee also includes entrance to some other sights around Bangkok. The list varies and can be confirmed on purchase.
There are free-guided tours in English available four times throughout the day. As an alternative, an audio guide can be rented for a small fee.
The visit to the Grand Palace is easy enough to do independently, but should you wish to know more about the history and finer details not found in books, a half or full-day tour found here is recommended.