the Grand Palace in Bangkok is an enormous complex of temples, museums, and government buildings. we spent a few hours wandering there after our visit to Ayutthaya, until our feet were sore and my camera batteries were dead. I still managed to capture a TON of pictures. enough that this will have to be a 2-part post.
first things first: when you visit the Grand Palace you must follow proper ettiquite. you cannot enter the grounds unless your shoulders and legs are covered. I wore a tshirt + long skirt, but the boys had to rent pants to pull on over their shorts. you should come prepared - either already covered, with a wrap in your bag, or ready to rent.
once you are properly attired and on the grounds, you have to buy tickets to enter the specific areas of the palace. I don't think we made it to everything our ticket covered, but the palace was packed and we still saw plenty. most of our time was spent exploring the area around the Temple of the Emerald Buddha [also known as Wat Phra Kaew.]
when you first enter the temple area, you can't help but notice the three main pagodas which include an enormous golden chedi and the stupa of the library building. these three spires are surrounded by other shrines, statues, and decorated buildings.
the entire temple complex is surrounded by a wall and forms a giant courtyard, with these painted demon warrior statues standing guard at the various gates around the perimeter.
the details in the tilework and decoration on the buildings is simply stunning. the royal family used to live in the Grand Palace complex and it is still used today for important functions - so you can understand why Wat Phra Kaew is one of the most opulent temples in Bangkok.
if you've been to Cambodia this carving might look familiar - it's a model of Angkor Wat. it was one of my favorite things on the pavillion. even though it isn't painted or covered in mirrors and gold, the detail in the carving is just incredible.
and that's all of the Grand Palace that I have to share for today. I'll be back next week with part two, which involves more gold and more demons. until then- happy travels!