The Grand Finale Of Thailand: The Grand Palace

 

Grand it was.

I just wish we had spent more time.

Check out the ahead pictures,

and you’ll understand why.

The aptly named Grand Palace of Bangkok is perhaps the most striking architectural offering in all the Kingdom of Thailand.

It didn’t hurt that the bright blue sky hung above while the sun shone upon the large, color-saturated structures. Their golds and whites exclaimed their visual brilliance while also displaying the history and culture of this country of SE Asia.

Buddhist temples, royal museum, and the King’s Grand Palace.

This, our final day in Thailand, would end our trip on a royal note.

***

Our last day in Thailand was also our hottest here. Sweltering, equatorial heat forced us into the shade, which if we were smart, would have been with us wherever we went via large-brimmed hats or umbrellas. We didn’t think of that.

But the Chinese tourists did.

As I remembered from my time in China, and as I recalled when visiting the elephant park in Chiang Mai, the Chinese are adept at escaping the sun.

DSC08112

Our group of students and chaperons made our way to the entrance.

DSC08114

Once inside, a visual feast stood before us:

DSC08115

DSC08116

DSC08123

Construction began on the Grand Palace, or Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang, in 1782. At that time, the US was but an infant, but the Thai state had been around already hundreds of years. Construction continued into the 1900s.

Today, the buildings serve as much a tourist and historic purpose as a practical one. For instance, the king no longer lives here. But there are yet religious and government services held on the grounds.

Where to begin looking?

It was as simple as following my travelers heart. I followed the beat to the sound of worship.

DSC08126

I could hear the nearby sing-chants of a Buddhist service.

After watching the religious activity, we checked out more of the buildings.

DSC08127

…and statues.

DSC08129

DSC08130

DSC08131

Walled in within this “downtown” of sacred skyscrapers, I sought the open escape of an executive building. This wasn’t a plain-jane state structure, though.

DSC08138

Known as Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat, this palace was built in 1876 with the help of English architects from the East Indies (present day Indonesia). Inside are ballrooms, galleries, and something called the Throne Room. It’s an architectural blend of English and Thai

Also reminding me of the English, was the guard out front.

DSC08134

I posed in like fashion.

DSC08136

Then we lightened up.

DSC08135

At least I did–as would he. Not shown here, but he wasn’t too serious to smile.

After taking in The Grand Palace, we had one more site in Bangkok to tour. And boy was it a sight–a particularly appropriate one.

***

Our one last look was an astounding and literal overview of our time in Bangkok–and all of Thailand.

Taking the elevators to the 80-something floor of the Baiyoke Sky Tower, we looked down on this:

DSC08157

And this:

DSC08159

And finally this:

DSC08176

Bangkok is a grand city, Thailand a grand country.

We flew home the following day.

Next week, we take a look back at the best pictures and moments of our three weeks here.

What say you?