Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Grand Palace

One of the excursions the host group arranged for us was to visit the Grand Palace in downtown Bangkok. The official residence of the kings of Siam since 1782, the 200,000+ square meter compound also houses the Royal Chapel (which in turn houses the Emerald Buddha) and various government buildings and offices as well as a couple museums. Back in the day the area, situated near the Chao Phraya river, was part of the bustling Chinatown port and there are many distinct Chinese influences noticeable among the decor and statues.

Various courts and gates mark different reigns and historical eras but I'll admit my knowledge of Thai history is pretty scant. Most of what I know is based on the movie The King and I, but we did happen to see the royal court room where the dancing takes place (well, where it did in real life...not where they filmed it.) 

It was opulent beyond anything I've ever seen before. The buildings were coated in gold leaf, colored glass and gemstones, and porcelain and enameled surfaces polished to a shine.  Every available inch of space was covered in something that gleamed or an intricately detailed flourish. Near the end of our tour it was almost too much to take in any more.  See for yourself.


1 comment:

  1. Wow. These images really capture the place. Stunning. What a grand adventure indeed!