Thursday, January 17: After our boat ride, we wander through a market and head to the Grand Palace.
The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings in the heart of Bangkok. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The king, his court and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently lives at Chitralada Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year. (Wikipedia: Grand Palace)
Construction of the palace began on 6 May 1782. Throughout successive reigns, many new buildings and structures were added, especially during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). By 1925 the king, the Royal Family and the government were no longer permanently settled at the palace, and had moved to other residences. After the absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932, all government agencies completely moved out of the palace.(Wikipedia: Grand Palace)
In shape, the palace complex is roughly rectangular and has a combined area of 218,400 square metres (2,351,000 sq ft), surrounded by four walls. It is situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River at the heart of the Rattanakosin Island.
Rather than being a single structure, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. Its asymmetry and eclectic styles are due to its organic development, with additions and rebuilding being made by successive reigning kings over 200 years of history. It is divided into several quarters: the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; the Outer Court, with many public buildings; the Middle Court, including the Phra Maha Monthian Buildings, the Phra Maha Prasat Buildings and the Chakri Maha Prasat Buildings; the Inner Court and the Siwalai Gardens quarter. The Grand Palace is currently partially open to the public as a museum, however it remains a working palace as several royal offices are still situated inside. The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand. (Wikipedia: Grand Palace)
We have lunch at a Thai restaurant, then we head to Wat Pho, commonly known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, directly adjacent to the Grand Palace in the Rattanakosin district. The temple is known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. Wat Pho is named after a monastery in India where Buddha is believed to have lived. (Wikipedia: Wat Pho)
We leave the complex and head back into the streets of Bangkok, where we encounter fruit vendors and the chaotic tangle of Bangkok traffic.
After dinner, Johanna, who has not been feeling well since we arrived in Bangkok, and I go for a relaxing foot massage.