Bangkok Walking Tour: Rattanakosin Island

Rattanakosin Island, home of the celebrated Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun, NationalMuseum, Thammasat University, Silpakorn University and other important government buildings, is a must-see in Bangkok City.

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You can start the tour at Lak Muang or The City Pillar, regarded as the heart of the city. It houses Phra Lak Muang, the guardian spirit of Bangkok and was erected when Bangkok was established as a capital of  Thailand. Walking south, you can see the Grand Palace walls.  Cross the street and head towards the main entrance. Entrance fee is 350 Baht and you can use the ticket for the Grand Palace on the day you bought it (which closes at 4:30PM Bangkok time, last ticket sold at 3:30pm) but the rest of the ticket is usable for 7 days for the Dusit Area.

The Grand Palace is one of the most photographed tourist sites in Bangkok.  It houses government offices, royal residence, throne halls, museums and the remarkable Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Photographing the Emerald Buddha is strictly forbidden. Other main attractions inside the Grand Palace are: The Upper Terrace, SubsidiaryBuildings, The Galleries, The Phra Maha Monthian Group, The Chakri Group, The Dusit Group and The Borom Phiman Mansion.

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As Wat Phra Kaew is Thailand’s most important temple, you are expected to dress appropriately.  Signs put up around the entrance show you are not permitted to enter wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, or any form of open ended shoes. Sarongs and long trousers are available for loan for 200 Baht in case you forget.  You can just return the borrowed apparels after the tour and get your deposit back.

It’s been said that when exploring Bangkok, temple overload is common so in case you want to avoid that, just go visit to the Grand Palace, the temples inside are enough to leave you breathless.  You will be provided a handy guide with a map upon entry so there is a slim chance that you will get lost inside.

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Exit by the same way you entered the GrandPalace and return the apparels you borrowed and get your money back. Upon walking out of the main gate, turn right then headed south along the palace wall to the direction of the City Pillar Shrine (do not cross the street). Turn right and walk until you reached the end of the Grand Palace wall.   Then cross the street towards the entrance to the oldest and biggest temple What Pho or Wat Phra Chetuphon which houses the largest number of chedi (spiritual monument in Thai) in Bangkok. There are several Buddha images inside this majestic temple but What Pho is famous for the Reclining Buddha and its Thai Traditional Massage School.

Once you are done, cross the street and walk left then head northwards. At the end of the street you will see several shop houses, sidewalk vendors and a small market that sells dried fish and Thai foods. It will only take a few steps before you reach the pier – Tha Tian, from which you may take a ferry to Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn. This famous temple is attractive in its striking pagoda decorated with multi-colored porcelain fragments.  The best time to visit Wat Arun is at late afternoon when the sun is about to set.

how to get to the Grand Palace:

Don’t listen to anyone on the street as you try to enter telling you it is closed for a ‘Buddhist holiday’, ‘cleaning’ etc. or asking if you want to see the ‘Lucky Buddha’ instead – it’s all part of a sophisticated scam.

Ordinary buses 44, 47 and 91 stop on Thaiwang road between Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew.  Ordinary buses 1, 25, 44, 47, 82 and 91 also stop on Maharat road, on the west of Wat Phra Kaew.  At  Sanam Luang, north of Wat Phra Kaew, ordinary buses 3, 15, 30, 32, 43, 44, 59, 64, 70, 80, 123 and 201 all stop, as well as air-conditioned buses 6, 7, 12, 39 and 44.

 

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