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Travel Notes from Bangkok Grand Palace

Notes from Bangkok Grand Palace
Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand
From the older ruins of Ayutthaya, we headed to something much more sparkly and new: the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Its construction started in 1782 and new additions have continued to be built. Indeed, we saw a few towers of scaffolding while we were here.

Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand
This is an expansive place, yet the tiny details are what I found most amazing. Tiny reflective tiles hand-cut and placed in mosaic patterns to make up a rich picture, at times in the way that individual brush strokes can be beautiful both in close scrutiny and upon stepping back to see everything as one full picture.

Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand
Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand
While our last stop showed styles that were consistently Thai, at this palace there were bits here and there that reminded me of other cultures. The bonsai trees and a few of the guard statues reminded me of what we saw at the palaces in Kyoto, Japan. Whether there is a real connection there, I’m not yet sure – I’m making this note here so I can look up the influences and political connections of the time and find out! (We arrived a bit late in the day to meet up with a tour guide, who probably would have known, so I’ll ask the powers of the internet when we have a better connection than today.)

Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand
The palace has a smart dress code – our first time to test what we chose to pack in our small bags. The Boy had no problem, but I was stopped at the door for something that surprised me entirely! I was wearing a knee-length dress with short sleeves (but not sleeveless) and three-quarter length leggings. I would always think that was more modest than the same dress without leggings, right? But no – I was asked to either remove the leggings and wear the same dress with bare legs or to wear a full-length sarong, which anyone who doesn’t meet the dress code can borrow while they walk around the grounds. So no problem at all and I happily borrowed a pretty blue sarong, but it left me perplexed that bare legs would be preferred to covered! One of the ladies explained it was because anything tight would be disrespectful. Learn something new every day!

Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand
When we walked around other areas of Bangkok, there was an interesting mix of old and new, where modernisations have been added right on top of the existing culture, so you get interesting scenarios like elderly shopkeepers selling the latest in modern technology and very old buildings with signs for Western fastfood restaurants – that sort of thing. But at the palace that was notably absent. I think if you took photos here thirty years ago and compared them to today, they would look remarkably similar.

Probably something else I should try to find out, I’m sure!


19 December 2010

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9 Comments for Travel Notes from Bangkok Grand Palace

  1. kate Says:

    ahh sounds like you are having so much fun shimelle!! xoxo

  2. jo sowerby Says:

    hi shimelle and the boy, looks like ur having an amazing time so far. i love these photographs, the colours and textures of the tiles have come out so clearly. glad u are enjoyinh the cultural learning as well. that’s what i find so enjoyable about travelling,
    Jo xxxx

  3. Carol Says:

    looks like you and Boy are having an amazing time! the pictures are beautiful. TFS!

  4. Louise Says:

    Thailand is my favourite place in the whole world and these photos bring back so many memories….especially the dress code! Enjoy xx

  5. linda pierce Says:

    I’ve got some photos of the Grnad Palace from nearly 30years ago, and yes you’re right! It looks exactly the same. XX

  6. piradee Says:

    wow.. your pictures are amazing and funny isn’t it how things are sometimes. I never knew about the legging part but I know its not common for us – definitely some new everyday (even for a local)…lol hope you are enjoying your trip!

  7. Robin Says:

    I have to say that Thailand was one of the most educational trips I ever took. My sister taught there for years, and when we took an extended trip we packed up her truck and drove around a lot of the country. While the different spellings on the road signs make for interesting discussions, we also found that it’s very much like the US in that each part is so different. It’s a beautiful country and the people everywhere were so friendly!

  8. Sinead Says:

    Hi Shimelle! It’s so lovely to hear all about your trip, it sounds like you’re having so much fun so far! Plus the fact that it’s minus nine degrees here in Ireland and I imagine it’s lovely there. Can’t wait to hear more about the trip on the blog…happy Christmas!!xxx

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