Grand Visit to the Grand Palace (Part 2): A Quick Peek at the Emerald Buddha

Every nation has its own national treasure. A precious item whose lost will cause grief to all citizens of the land. Thailand has one national treasure and I got a chance to take a short look at it. What am I talking about? Well, the answer is from two years ago when I visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

I previously posted about my little adventure en route to the Grand Palace. It was a journey that placed me in a crowded boat and even in a street crowded with vendors. That’s why it’s a big relief when I entered the palace gates. Finally, a big space of greenery!

Outer Court of Bangkok Grand Palace
"Keep off the grass" na lang ang kulang.

The Grand Palace of Thailand is formerly the residence of the king of Thailand. I said formerly because the king now resides in Chitralada Palace, which outside of the Grand Palace complex.This only meant that I will never ever fulfill one of my goals for my Thailand visit, which is to meet and greet the King of Thailand.

The Grand Palace is a complex composed of many buildings, the important of which are the royal temples and the royal residences. I went to the royal temples first.

Royal temples of Bangkok Grand Palace

Just like any tourist spot in Thailand, I had to go to the ticket office first before I could proceed to the main palace and the royal temples.

Ticket office in Bangkok Grand Palace

I paid a total of 500 Baht to get a ticket that entitled me to visit the Grand Palace, the temple of the Emerald Buddha, royal museum, coin museum, and the throne hall.

Description of admission ticket to Bangkok Grand Palace

Tourists should be mindful of some of the rules inside the Grand Palace complex. One of such rules is about the prohibited outfits inside the Grand Palace.

Prohibited clothing in Bangkok Grand Palace

The palace guards are strict when it comes to dress code so following this rule is highly recommended. Fortunately, a booth was set up near the entrance where inappropriately dressed tourist can borrow skirts and pants.  I wore my usual attire of pants and t-shirt that day so I didn’t need to go to that booth.

Road to the temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok Grand Palace
The way to the royal temples.

The guards at the entrance of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha checked my ticket, checked my clothes, and checked my bags. They’re quite strict, which is good because they’re guarding their national treasure.

The Hermit Doctor welcomed my entry to the temple grounds.

Statue of Shivagakomarpaj in Bangkok Grand Palace

The hermit doctor is Shivagakomarpaj, who was the doctor of Buddha and considered as the father of Thai massage/medicine.1

The temple grounds are filled with familiar images from Buddhist, Hindu, and Thai myths. The two demon guards in Wat Arun also made their appearance in Grand Palace.

Crowd in Bangkok Grand Palace
Sahatsadecha failing big time in guarding the Grand Palace from "intruders".

The lower demons were present too and, yes, they also carry the temple on their backs.

Demons carrying the temple in Bangkok Grand Palace

Similar to my visit to Wat Arun, my eyes feasted on Thai artistry which is dominated with gold. Almost everything in the temple grounds are golden. Even the prangs flanking the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is golden from top to bottom.

Golden temple in Bangkok Grand Palace

Even the miniature version of the Angkor Wat Temple is present on the temple grounds.

Miniature Angkor Wat in Bangkok Grand Palace

This is perfect for people like me who cannot go to Cambodia.

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha was built at same time as the royal residences. Its purpose is not only for housing the Emerald Buddha but also the temple where the King and the royal family can worship in private.

Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok Grand Palace

The origin of the Emerald Buddha is not known. One legend says that in 1434, the statue was discovered in a temple in Chiangrai province of Northern Thailand province which was struck by a lightning. The Emerald Buddha went to hands of the King Chiangmai after staying some time in Lampang.

Golden statues in Bangkok Grand Palace

The King of Chiangmai had no son but his daughter is married to the King of Laos. Thus his throne was inherited by the his grandson who became the new king of Laos. The new king brought the statue to Laos. Years later, Burma attacked Laos and the Emerald Buddha was taken to Vientiane (in Laos) where it stayed for 214 years.

Temple of Emerald Buddha in Bangkok Grand Palace

The Emerald Buddha finally reached its resting place when it was captured by King Rama I, who is the great-great grandfather of the current King, and then brought to Bangkok. From that day on, the Emerald Buddha became Thailand’s national treasure.2

Emerald Buddha in Bangkok Grand Palace

It’s good that the Thais are generous enough to allow foreigners to see their national treasure. I was fortunate enough to take a short peek. I don’t believe in Buddha but I’m amazed with the way the Thais (and even some foreigners) revere the statue.

No one knows if the Emerald Buddha will stay in Bangkok forever. What’s sure, however, is that many Thais will mourn if that statue will be taken away from them.

Travel Notes:

1. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is one of the most important places in Thailand. That’s why it is imperative for all tourists to follow the rules and respect their belief even if you’re not a Buddhist.

2. Wear modest clothing as required by the rules. A booth is located near the entrance where anyone can borrow skirts and pants. You just need to leave some money and your passport as surety.

3. Don’t believe the touts who will tell you that the Grand Palace is closed. That is their modus so as to trick would-be Grand Palace visitors in joining their “tour” to various shops around Bangkok where they have a cut from purchases made by their victims.


Some information in this post were obtained from the following sources:

1. Thai Massage History and Context from Earth Dance Healing Arts.
2. History of the Emerald Buddha from Bangkok Magazine.

Grand Visit to the Grand Palace (Part 1): From the River to the Palace Gate

There are two places in Bangkok that tourists should never miss. The first one is the Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn, and the second one is the Grand Palace. I already visited Wat Arun with my friend Foong, so, only the Grand Palace remained in my Bangkok bucket list.

The Grand Palace is just across the Chao Phraya River and just beside Wat Pho, which is another popular Buddhist temple that houses the gigantic statue of Reclining Buddha.

Cruising down the Chao Phraya River is the best way to reach the Grand Palace. Good thing that I already experienced riding the Chao Phraya River boats during my Bangkok tour with Foong. So, my trip to the Grand Palace was easy peasy.

Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

I enjoyed the view as we went upriver. I once again saw my favorite building along Chao Phraya, which is this church.

Santa Cruz Church in Bangkok
Santa Cruz Church along the Chao Phraya River.

Too bad that I didn’t get the chance to visit that church. Maybe next time when I return to Bangkok (I hope!).

No tourist should miss cruising the Chao Phraya River because of the unique view that it provides. I saw the mix of modern Bangkok with its tall skycrapers…

Tall towers along Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

…and of old Bangkok with its temples.

A boat cruising down Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

Riding the river boat is an adventure especially for those who came from First World countries.  Chao Phraya Express Boats (especially the one with the orange flag where I rode) seems to be overloaded with passengers. Just one wrong move and you might be sending another passenger to bottom of the river.

If you’re a tourist who is planning to cruise the Chao Phraya River, I suggest that you read my detailed post about my ride on the express boats. I assure you that it will answer important questions like, “what boats have the cheapest fare?”

Tha Chang Pier along Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

I disembarked at Tha Chang Pier, which is the nearest pier to the Grand Palace.

Exiting Tha Chang Pier, Bangkok

I immediately know that I am at a very popular tourist spot because Tha Chang Pier is connected to souvenir shops. Even the street outside of pier station is filled traps..err…shops.

Street Shops near Grand Palace, Bangkok

Good thing that the place is not as crowded as Divisoria so after a short walk I finally reach the Grand Palace.

Asian tourists to the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Actually, it was just the outer wall.

The Grand Palace is truly the most popular tourist spot in Bangkok. The busloads of tourists that came to this place every minute is a proof of that. I just crossed my fingers and hoped that the Grand Palace will not be overcrowded.

Old builiding near Grand Palace, Bangkok

The vicinity of the Grand Palace is a busy place. Tourism brought in shops that sell food, souvenirs, gems, and anything that catch tourists’ fancy. Of course, the hordes of tourists also brought in the horde of tuktuk.

A line of tuktuk outside of the Grand Palace, Bangkok

I confess that I didn’t ride a tuktuk during my 6-month stay in Thailand because riding it is just like riding the tricycle in my country. I already rode plenty of tricycles during my lifetime and that is enough.

The area outside of the palace walls is not for vendors and tuktuk drivers but also for the less fortunate Thais like this musician and his kid:

Musician-beaggar outside the walls of Grand Palace, Bangkok

There is only one door open for tourists visiting the Grand Palace.
Door to the Grand Palace, Bangkok

A few steps more and I will finally see the grand in Grand Palace.

Grand Palace from afar

Story of my adventure inside the palace grounds will be in the next post. Abangan!

Our 1st Anniversary Special at Giligan’s

I feel like it was only yesterday when Lei and I said our “I do”. Our days together passed quickly and now we have our Little Ahab.

Our first year of marriage calls for a grand celebration. In fact, I thought of going to a vacation with Lei to celebrate this milestone. Unfortunately, the coming of Little Ahab changed our plans. We couldn’t travel because it will not be good for the baby.

So, on our first wedding anniversary we decided to go to Giligan’s with Little Ahab in tow.

Giligan's Restaurant in SM Sta. Rosa, Laguna
(Source: FourSquare by Patrick S)

It was not my first time to dine in Giligan’s because I dined with college friends in their Trinoma branch about 5 years ago. It was Lei’s first time in Giligan’s that’s why she chose this restaurant for our date.

We ordered one Groupies Promo Meal composed of this sizzling pork sisig:

Pork Sisig by Giligan's Restaurant in SM Sta. Rosa

This fried garlic chicken:

Fried chicken by Giligan's Restaurant in SM Sta. Rosa

And this sizzling mixed seafood:

Seafood sisig by Giligan's Restaurant in SM Sta. Rosa

All in all we spent 735 pesos for this meal which included unlimited rice. The price is fine, I think, because Giligan’s groupies meal is good for four persons. My mother-in-law joined us in this meal so the groupies meal is perfect for us.

Just like my previous post, I can only say positive comments with the food that we had in Giligan’s. All the three dishes tasted good but star of our lunch is the sizzling mixed seafood. My Beloved Wife couldn’t get enough of it.

Our first anniversary as husband and wife has no “bang”. What we had may be just a simple lunch but what’s important is not the grandness of our celebration but the love that we with each other (and now with Little Ahab).

I hope and pray that our first wedding anniversary will not be the last. May we have more wedding anniversaries until our hairs became white with age.