The Grand Palace was the seat not only of the king and his court, but contained within its crenellated walls the entire government administration. The architecture is vibrantly Thai though there are some European designs as well. Brilliantly colored and gilded, and decorated with intricate detail, the overall effect is dazzling. The palace served as the official residence of the kings of Thailand from the 18th to the mid-20th century. The most famous building on the palace grounds is Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in Thailand. Construction of the temple began when King Rama I moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok in 1785. Unlike other Thai temples, it does not contain living quarters for monks; rather, it has only the richly decorated holy buildings, statues, and pagodas. The main temple building is the central ubosoth, which houses the Emerald Buddha. Though green in color, the Buddha is actually carved from a single piece of jade, and though only 17 inches tall, is the most revered object in Thailand . Also within the grounds are several palaces, used for various occasions: the Funeral Palace , Reception Palace , Throne Hall, Coronation Hall, and the Royal Guest House. The majority of halls and palaces can be viewed from outside only, but the exteriors are captivating enough to please.
Note : The entire Grand Palace is closed during special royal ceremonies and during visiting heads of state, while other buildings (such as the Throne Hall and Coronation Hall) are always closed on SAT/SUN and public holidays, during special ceremonies and on Buddhist Holidays. A calendar for visiting the Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha can be viewed on the web-site of the Bureau of the Royal Household at: http://www.palaces.thai.net/calendar/2010/english_2010.htm