On my second day in Bangkok I really really wanted to go to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho but the heat got to me. I ate a big breakfast, had some street food and just couldn’t make it. It was a sad terrible defeat and I ended up spending the rest of the day reading in my hostel. So on the third day I ate a small breakfast and hiked to the grand palace from the Chern Hostel. It was about a mile away and about a 20 minute walk, though google maps tried to send me straight through the Ministry of Defense which was awkward but thank you to understanding amused guards.
Once I was finally there it took awhile to find the entrance. There are a lot of speakers set up that state in English the hours of the Grand Palace (8:30-3:30), that it’s open every day and not to listen to any shady characters that might be trying to scam you into thinking it’s closed. Which was part of the reason I walked there. It’s across the street from a couple of parks and there’s plenty of little pop-up street food and souvenir vendors outside.
Despite going somewhat early the Grand Palace was still packed. Tons of tour groups and people in general. A lot of official places (the grand palace and Buddhist temples) also happen to have a strict dress code. This means if you aren’t dressed “respectfully” then you’ll get stopped and either not let in or given something else to wear. So despite the heat I shrugged on a thin long sleeved jacket and walked in in what I would consider comfortable spring attire and not sweltering summer apparel. Clothing that’s see-through, short pants, tight pants, shorts, strapless, sleeveless clothing and even flip flops can and probably will be turned away/guided towards a place where you can rent/borrow something else to wear. If possible try to go for light weight clothes that meet the standards and the same for your shoes, but also try for something easy to slip on and off shoe wise.
Why? Because in order to go into the temples your shoes get left behind. So I was hopping in and out of my shoes all day.
The grand palace was big. There were tons of people, everywhere and plenty to see. I was blown away by the intricacies and attention to detail on the ornate architecture and thus moved throughout the palace grounds at a snails pace. There’s a lot to see in the Outer court and around Wat Phra Kaew (The Emerald Buddha temple). For the Grand Palace you can take as many photos as you want of the outside of buildings but no photos are allowed inside the buildings.
The Middle Court was a bit more like what I was use to but still really impressive. There was a tiny weapons museum but not much else open or to do other than taking photos. (Or enjoying all the potted bonsai and flowers in bloom)
The Grand Palace was built in 1782. The royal family doesn’t currently live at the Grand Palace but it is still used for official events. The Grand Palace costs about 500 baht (~$14) to visit.