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Bangkok’s Grand Palace: Wow to the WowWow!

There’s a certain point when the thick heat and pollution of Bangkok make your head swim so hard and your clothes stick to you so wetly, that all you want is to collapse onto a shady doorstep and yield.

This is what I was doing as Adie fruitlessly pulled my arm to stand back up.

“I don’t wanna go in!” I whined, leaning back onto the pavement. “We’ve been walking around the city for six hours and I’m tiiiired! Plus, 350 Baht ($10) is too much to pay to go in there. We can see the palace just fine from out here.”

Adie put his hands on his hips. “We did NOT come all the way out to the Grand Palace– the PREMIER attraction of Bangkok– to give up now!” he declared. “You WILL come in there with me, if I have to carry you in or pay your entrance. GET UP!”

At last I did, and I am so very, very thankful to Adie. THE GRAND PALACE. IS. AWESOME.

Spanning across one hundred buildings, the pure gold cone of the palace you can see from the highway is just the very beginning of the wonders inside the gates.

I have never before seen a palace that is so fitting for ROYALTY.

Everywhere, gold, tiny mirrors, jewel-toned stones, and metallic paint glistens. Each building is a different gorgeous twist.

Giant statues with individual (and often hilarious) expressions guard the doorways and hold up the columns. Elated, dejected, furious, bored– they all look fantastic.

What most struck us was how amazingly well the entire Grand Palace is maintained.

Though it was built in 1782, every single day workers toil to re-polish, re-paint, and re-build another small section… meaning that not a single tiny jewel becomes dulled.

Look at the photo of the two painters refurbishing the murals of Buddha’s life! There were about a hundred of these caretakers at work yesterday.

Now a word about the Emerald Buddha.

This vibrant green, 26-inch tall figure is one of the holiest sites in Thailand, and was discovered in 1434.

It sits atop a twenty-foot high, radiant gold throne, and is surrounded by worshipers from around the world.

Signs read: “Proper dress required” and “No Shoes” and “Do NOT point your feet at the Buddha.” You are also not allowed to snap photos inside, so all I have to show you is the pic of a ghostly green glow in the center of a dark room that I snagged from outside. See it?

One of Adie and my favorite details is that, according to the official palace guidebook, “The sacred image is clad with one of three seasonal costumes (summer, rainy season, and winter). The costumes are changed three times a year in a ceremony presided over by His Majesty the King.” How absolutely lovely to envision these holy men delicately swapping the miniature fashions!

I truly loved the Grand Palace of Bangkok. So what’s the moral of the story? There are a few. 1) Don’t be a lazy bum when you’ve come all the way to the gates of a famous attraction. Go inside! 2) Being a cheapskate is sometimes dumb. 3) When something is titled “The Most Famous Attraction in All of __”, there usually is good reason. 4) Friends are important. 5) Gulp plenty of water, snap those pics, and drink in the absolute beauty of the most gorgeous buildings you’ve seen in your life!


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Janssy Garcia

Thursday 22nd of March 2012

The buildings are so colorful they catch your attention immediately. Are the buildings made of real gold?


Thursday 22nd of March 2012

Coated with a thin layer of gold, like the State House in Boston!

Gia DiGiacomo

Thursday 26th of January 2012

These pics are also awesome. You must have had an incredible journey. I am wondering which country was your favorite.


Friday 27th of January 2012

Thanks! I have loved nearly every country I've visited, but here are the 8 places I would most consider moving to (if I didn't love Boston so much) :) -

Xiu Na

Sunday 26th of June 2011

I love how the sign says, “Do NOT point your feet at the Buddha.”

Imported Blogger Comments

Wednesday 26th of May 2010

Anonymous said... We visited the Grand Palace when we were in Thailand. You are right - it is absolutely incredible! Love, Aunt Alice and Uncle Ed

September 17, 2009 2:30 AM

Dave said... Mind-blowing! I love the image of changing mini-Buddha's clothes - so cute!

September 19, 2009 7:11 PM

Luddy Sr. said... I'm starting to wonder if I should follow your journey step by step!

December 6, 2009 8:10 AM

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