The Grand Palace


Pick your favorite adjective: outstanding…awesome…fantastic…way cool. Regardless of the word chosen, I’m confident that it will in no way capture the beauty, the wonder, the glory of the Grand Palace.

Mike and I will be returning to the palace with our Road Scholar group, so we opted to wander around aimlessly, gawking and gasping at the explosion of color and art that surrounded us.

Here’s a look at royal housing in the Kingdom of Siam in the late 1700’s

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There was a bit of a dispute over what the palace should look like. The king wanted a western style palace, but his advisors thought a traditional building was more appropriate. The end result was a western bottom and an eastern top.

The complex includes the Royal Monastery, which was built to house the Emerald Buddha. Although photos are not allowed within the monastery, you ARE allowed to take photos outside. this young lady is standing at a window and my zoom is all the way out.

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The “emerald” Buddha is actually made of jade. Thailand and Laos both claim ownership of it, with Laos accusing Thailand of stealing it from them in 1778, when Rama I conquered the capital of Laos and brought the Buddha to Bangkok. The Thais claim it was rightfully theirs, and was moved to Laos in 1552 by the son of a Chiang Mai princess and Laotian King, when he succeeded his father as King of Laos. Are you confused yet? I sure was.

The Royal Compound felt like Disney world on steroids, except this fantasy land is REAL.

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Every figure is unique. Check it out.

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These guys made me think of the Wizard of Oz.

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I leave Mike alone for 2 minutes, and look what happens.

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She was one of several women clamoring to have their picture taken with him. They also insisted on having their pictures taken with me. Since they didn’t speak English, I have no idea why, but my guess is they couldn’t get over how HUGE we are. “Look, I’m standing next to a giant!”
We were just another curiosity, sorta like this guard, who stood perfectly still, despite the steady stream of young women posing at his side.

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I had read about the Naga, snakes with multiple heads whose bodies are used as bannisters.

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This particular example has five, but there are also seven headed versions.

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The complex includes a scale model of Angkor Wat, so large that I couldn’t get it all into one photo.

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The attention to detail is amazing.

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Our last stop was Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, an air conditioned oasis. It contains clothing the Queen wore during official visits, beautifully displayed with photos of the queen wearing the displayed garments. Now 71 years old, she was movie star gorgeous. She married the king before her 18th birthday.

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I can’t resist a few more photos of this amazing complex.

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15 thoughts on “The Grand Palace

  1. Great photos Shelley! I love the last one – it looks like a birthday cake! I fell completely in love with all the strange figures guarding the temples; aren’t they wonderful? This will be wonderful, taking the tour again with you!

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    • Edie, Sr. Ann Cyril, in Western Civ, used to say things like “and when you are standing in front of the pyramids…”; “when you go to Paris, and you WILL go to Paris”. At the time, to this penniless Freshman, a trip to NYC was a huge deal, so I thought she was a little nuts, but clearly the old girl knew a lot more about life’s twists and turns than I did!
      I’m so glad you are traveling along with us.

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