I like to think that the first King who occupied the Grand Palace in Bangkok met with his designer and said something like, “Nah Bro, not enough sparkles. Slap some more gemstones up in here. And throw in a couple gold-leaf murals for good measure.”
Covering nearly every inch of the 100+ buildings that make up the Grand Palace are tiles in a myriad of hues, tons of gold coating, and elaborate murals in vibrant colors. It’s an artistic experience just walking around the grounds.
The palace was the official residence of the King (first of Siam, then of Thailand), his court and his royal government from 1782 until 1925. Now it’s only used for a handful of ceremonies a year. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t teeming with tourists. As the number one most visited place in Bangkok, oodles of people filter in all day. But, it’s a massive structure, filled with buildings, halls, open lawns, gardens and cozy courtyards, so getting away from the herd isn’t as hard as it sounds.
One thing you won’t see below is a snapshot of the famed Emerald Buddha who takes up residency at the Grand Palace. The enlightened man isn’t about the paparazzi — photographing him is forbidden. Housed in a dazzlingly decorated chapel, he sits between a pair of yaksha (mythical giants, of course) who stand sentry over this 18-inch frame. Three times a year, he gets a visit from the current king, who gives him a little wardrobe change. With each passing season — hot, cool and rainy — the Emerald Buddha gets new royal robes. Continue reading Photo book: 15 Stunning Reasons Why to Temple Hop in Bangkok