Thailand is home to a rich and historic cultural heritage. With distinctive architecture and imaginative religious imagery, Bangkok is the perfect place to experience this exotic Southeast Asian culture.
While the city offers plenty of festivals, museums and performances, visitors who wish to learn about Thailand’s storied past should make sure to visit Bangkok’s historic district. Known as the Phra Nakhon district, this area of the city houses the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
At the heart of the historic district, visitors will find the magnificent Grand Palace. Known as the Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang in Thai, the Grand Palace has been home to many of the kings of Thailand and houses a few official offices. Construction on the palace began in 1782 when King Rama I decided to move the capital to the East side of the Chao Phraya River. With distinctively Thai architectural elements, the Palace rests along the river and is designed to encapsulate three different layers of royal quarters and also houses the beautiful temple of the Emerald Buddha. While the current King of Thailand resides in the Chitralada Palace, this location is still home to a few official offices and The Royal Institute of Thailand.
One of the greatest treasures that travelers will find within the Grand Palace is the ornately designed Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Constructed as the King’s personal place of worship, the temple is known as Wat Prakeaaw or Wat Phra Kaew and houses a magnificent statue of the Buddha carved from one solid piece of Jade. The Wat, or temple, is designed in a distinctively Thai style and perfectly represents the traditional architecture of the country. The Emerald Buddha itself is revered as the protector of the country and is the center of an important ceremony performed by the King himself three times a year.
With all that Bangkok has to offer, it can be hard to fit everything in. One destination that can not be missed is the Grand Palace and its temple, Wat Prakeaaw. Both of these locations are still very much a part of this nation’s culture and contain official offices, the Royal Institute and the sacred personal temple of the King. Any traveler wishing to better understand the nature and origin of this exotic land needs to pay a visit to Bangkok’s historic district which is easily accessible by public transportation which is seconds away from your central Bangkok hotel.