Bangkok and The Grand Palace
We have now been travelling for just over two weeks and it feels like much longer. We have visited Bangkok, Koh Tao and Kanchanaburi in Thailand.
When we arrived in Thailand we spent 4 days in Bangkok. The first two days we stayed in the Din Daeng district at Siamaze Hostel and the second two days we stayed in the Old Town at Sam Sen Sam Place. Both of these hostels were clean and safe but Sam Sen Sam Place won on location being just a 10 minute walk from Kho San Road and a 30 minute walk to The Grand Palace.
We visited the grand palace on our 4th day in Bangkok. I thought it would be useful to write about this because it’s such a major attraction.
Four things you need to know about The Grand Palace
1. It is almost never closed and anyone telling you differently is a scammer! I have read this advice on many travel blogs but I think it bares repeating because some of the scammers we encountered on the walk there were very convincing. We were told by several tuk tuk drivers the palace was closed “didn’t your hotel tell you? The princess is having a ceremony and the palace is closed for the morning!”. The palace wasn’t closed and it rarely is except for royal birthdays. You can check the official website before planning your trip to confirm its open on the day your planning to visit. The aim of this scam is to convince you to abandon your plans and instead go on a tuk tuk tour which will undoubtably involve a trip to a suit shop and a gem store where tuk tuk drivers get commission if you buy something. My number one tip for getting rid of these scammers fast is to say “That’s fine, we would still like to take a look from the outside” this worked for us.
2. The dress code is strict. There is a sign by the door telling you what is acceptable. I wore a maxi skirt, vest and cardigan however other women wore t-shirts which was accepted and would have been cooler. Also I read that you had to have closed toe shoes or your feet covered. Since I only had flip flops and sandles I took socks with me to put on when we arrived. I put these on, not a good look, but soon realised once inside that flip flops were widely worn without a problem so took them off. There are plenty of street vendors near the palace where you can buy trousers to cover your ankles or a shawl for your shoulders, although I suspect they charge a premium compared to picking up the same thing at a market the day before. You can also rent clothes from the palace for a small deposit.
3. There is free water inside! I bought some expensive luke warm water just outside the gates thinking this might be my last chance for a while but I was wrong. The water machine is just behind the Upper Terrace and while its not ice cold it was significantly colder than the warm water I paid for outside! Take an empty bottle with you and fill it here.
4. The entry is 500 Baht and includes entry to a number of the musuems. The ticket grants entry to The Palace and The Emerald Buddha on that day only but stays valid for 7 days for some of the museums. There is a lot to see so this is a good idea and makes the ticket good value for money.
We enjoyed the palace. Admittedly we visited it with hangovers and I wouldn’t recommend this. It’s very beautiful so there is a lot to photograph. If you only have a few days in Bangkok The Grand Palace is a must see. I’d skip all the free “lucky buddhas” that Tuk Tuk drivers recommend and see this instead!