Touring Royal Palaces
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and still honors its King and Royal Family. Throughout the years, many royal residences have been built. The Suan Pakkad Palace is one of the royal residences open to tourists. It was originally built as a royal retreat for weekends. Royal Prince Chompbhotong Paripatra of Nagor Svarga commissioned it for himself and his royal consort as a place to relax. They moved into this residence permanently after the end of World War II.
Because it began as no more than a weekend retreat, Suan Pakkad Palace is one of the smaller palaces open to tourists. It contains only 7 buildings surrounded by manicured landscape and gardens. The buildings themselves house art collections chosen by the Royal Family as well as some of their personal mementos that have been assembled throughout the years.
For tourists that want to go right to the top, the Grand Palace is now open to tourists. Built in 1782, the Grand Palace was home to the Thai Royal Family for approximately 150 years. It is no longer used as a royal residence, but does host ceremonial rituals. It is also home to the famous Emerald Buddha in the attached temple complex. It is accessible by boat on the Chao Phraya River. The express boat drops tourists at the pier that is a 2 minute walk from the Palace entrance.
Many tourists tend to travel in comfortable clothes such as sandals, shorts and halter tops because of the tropical weather. One of the few restrictions for visiting the Grand Palace is what to wear. Tourists must cover their shoulders, knees and toes. This is to show respect for the religious nature of the Palace and Temple. Admission will not be allowed to those that do not adhere to the dress code.