Bangkok’s Grand Palace and Its Fashionable Resident

Grand Palace Bangkok

The Thai royals’ former residence is a splendid, sprawling complex of buildings, halls, pavilions, gardens, and courtyards. Built in 1782 and today used mostly for ceremonial purposes, the Grand Palace glitters with ornate detailing, bold colors, and gleaming spires, all competing for the eye. Bronze lions, gilded mythological creatures, and giant, three-headed guard statues are on display here. So is the world’s longest wall painting.

Grand Palace Mural Bangkok

Grand Palace mural

But the main attraction is a mere 26 inches tall and tucked away inside a darkly lit temple. Spot the tourists acting like paparazzi, and you know you’ve found the right place. On a veranda at Wat Phra Kaew, cameras are pointed through a small open window, zoom lenses trained on a specific object. People jockey for space to capture its image since photos aren’t allowed in the temple.

What is all the fuss about?

Bangkok’s most revered Buddha. The green jadeite statue of a seated Buddha is believed to have been crafted in India in 43 BC and subsequently made its way around Southeast Asia, primarily as a spoil of war, and has had pride of place in Wat Phra Kaew for nearly two and a half centuries.

Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace Bangkok

The Emerald Buddha bundled up in his winter wardrobe

Several times a year the King of Thailand acts as the Emerald Buddha’s stylist. Since the monarch is the only one allowed to touch the statue, during special ceremonies he (or someone he authorizes) is tasked with changing its attire to correspond with summer, rainy, and winter seasons. The two outfits the Buddha isn’t currently wearing are on display in the Museum of the Emerald Buddha on the Grand Palace grounds.

The Emerald Buddha is not only a tourist magnet but a fashion trendsetter too. In shops around the city, Buddha statues are for sale along with their own gold mesh attire.

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9 Comments on “Bangkok’s Grand Palace and Its Fashionable Resident”

  1. marjma2014 April 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Amazing. I’ve never been to Thailand so thank for sharing these.


    • maristravels April 21, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

      I try and visit the Grand Palace every time I’m in Bangkok as I find it an absolutely magical place. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with reality at all. I also love the sellers outside on the street – especially the one selling used false-teeth!

      Liked by 1 person

      • marjma2014 April 22, 2015 at 3:10 am #

        False teeth! Wow, whatever next. Hope I get to go there one day, it certainly looks wonderful.


  2. Lucia April 21, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    Definitely need to go!


  3. Bulldog Travels April 22, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    It’s stunning!


  4. Sue-Ann April 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    I was recently one of those tourists with a zoom lense, I was not going all the way there and leaving without a pic 🙂

    Oh and interesting fact, the King is now too old and frail to perform the ceremonial dressing of the Buddha, so for the last few years the honour has been passed down to his Son.


  5. Marilyn Albright May 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    Traditions of countries around the world are just simply fascinating. I always wonder how they come about.


  6. Nathan Veeranai November 23, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    The palace is an amazing place. Sadly, the Grand Palace will be closed on 1-2 December and 5-6 December 2016



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