The Grand Palace is the most popular attraction in Bangkok, Thailand. Every year, several millions tourists come to The Grand Palace from all over the world. It is open every day from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Generally, visitors enter from the Wiset Chaisri Gate. You may need to show your passport. Your bags may also be checked.
Things to note before visiting:
The Grand Palace is open every day from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, except in rare cases of any state functions.
A “religiously respected’ dress code is a MUST. This is a Royal Palace and they expect everyone to dress respectfully.
Male: A shirt, T-shirt, long dark colored pants, jeans and covered footwear.
Female: A blouse, T-shirt that covers the shoulders, long skirt or dress that covers knees, and covered footwear.
There are three ways to tour the Grand Palace.
Smartphone based audio-visual guide.
Guided tours in English are available at 10:00, 10:30, 1:30 and 2:00. However, they are over crowded, hard to listen to and very fast moving without giving you time to absorb the story of each structure. You may or may not enjoy them as much.
Audio Guide Instrument
You can rent an audio guide instrument for 200 Baht (6 USD) with a two hour limit. You will need to hand over your passport or credit card as security deposit for a timely returns. The difficulty of this option is the two hour limit is very stressful as it is not possible to see the whole place in two hours. Also, without a visual aid and a map, it is difficult to get proper navigational help. There are times, when people end up standing in front of one structure while listening to a story of a completely different structure!
Smart Phone based Audio Visual tour guide app
You can download The Grand Palace app on your own smartphone for 200 Bhat (6 USD). This is a much better alternative since there is no time limit, you don’t have to hand over a credit card or passport and you can take the stories and images home with you. It offers 3D maps for navigation, easy-to-understand narration, accurate stories and works totally offline. With its beautiful pictures, audio transcripts, social media sharing capabilities and your ability to take the story home, this is the our recommended option.
The Grand Palace is only closed for state functions which is a rare event.
The entrance fees is 500 Baht. The admission fee also includes an admission ticket to Vimanmek Mansion that can be used within seven days of your Grand Palace visit.
How to get there
There are several ways to get there. Boats are the easiest and fastest. Please note that there are three types of boats -
1.Chao Phraya Express boats
2.Local water taxis and
3.The Chao Phraya tourist boats.
The local water taxis are extremely cheap and will give you a lot of local flavor. However, the catch is in the tourist boat and the Express Boats since they both go by the same name - Chao Phraya. If you are planning to visit the Grand Palace, you are unlikely to have too much time left over to do more cruising on the river and so we would definitely advise that you steer away from the Tourist day Pass that is automatically offered to all tourist (150 B per person) and opt for single or round trip fares.
Take the Chaophraya Express Boat to the Chang Pier (Tha Chang), walk through the market around the pier and out onto the plaza flanked by old shop-houses. Grand Palace is only a few minutes walk from there.
Tips before you go
Beware of scammers outside the Grand Palace: They may try to sell you tickets, tell you that all tours to the Grand Palace are sold out etc. Ignore and walk through the Wiset Chaisri Gate directly to the ticket counters.
Expect long lines: Even during the supposedly off season. The Grand Palace bangkok is a very popular tourist destination.
Water and Comfortable shoes: It is hot all year round in Bangkok and you will do a lot of walking when visiting the Grand Palace. You will be grateful for your comfortable shoes and the bottle of cold water!