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Thailand Travel : A Stroll Around Rattanakosin Island

 

The best way to soak up the history of the sites around Rattanakosin Island is on foot. But because there's so much to see it's best to break it down into sections. Basically, five routes cover the ground:

  • ROUTE 1: Inner Rattanakosin Island. Start from the City Pillar Shrine - then Grand Palace - Tha Ratchaworadit - Wat Pho - Hor Klong Shrine - Saranrom Royal Garden - Wat Ratchapradit - Sanam Luang - Tha Phrachan - National Museum and finish at Wat Phra Kaeo.
     
  • ROUTE 2: Lower north of outer Rattanakosin Island. Start from the National Art Gallery - then Phra Athit Road - Phra Sumane Fort - IChao San Road -Bang Lamphu - Democracy Monument.
     
  • ROUTE 3: Centre of outer Rattanakosin Island. Start from Klong Lot - then Wat Ratchanatdaram - Maha Chesadabodin Pavilion and Plaza - Phrang Sapphasart - Phrang Sapphasart Palace Gate - Chao Pho Sua Shrine - Phrang Phuthorn - Wat Ratchabopit - Brahman Temple - Giant Swing - Wat Suthat - Golden Mount (Wat Saket).
     
  • ROUTE 4: South of outer Rattanakosin Island. Start at Chalermkrung Royal Theatre - then row houses on Charoen Krung Road - Woeng Nakhon Khasem - Khlong Thom - Constitutional Court - Flower Market (Pak Khlong Talat) - Phra Buddha Yodfa Bridge (King Rama I Monument).
     
  • ROUTE 5: Upper north of outer Rattanakosin Island. Start from Tourism Authority of Thailand office - then Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue - Wat Parinayok - Bang Khun Phrom Palace - Wat Inthara Wihan - Chan Kasem Palace - King Rama V Statue - Wat Benchamabophit - Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium.

 

 

> Exploring Bangkok
> Rattanakosin Island
> River and Canal Tours
> Eating Out
> Bangkok Nightlife

 

 

 

ROUTE 1

The Grand Palace - Wat Phra KaeoThe Grand Palace - Wat Phra Kaeo 
Bangkok's most famous landmark and the heart of Rattanakosin Island comprises two signifi­cant sections: The Grand Palace, the King's Royal Residence surrounded by other exquisite palaces, and Wat Prasri Rattana Sassadaram, or Wat Phra Kaeo, where the Emerald Buddha (the national Buddha image) sits and where some of Thailand's most significant religious ceremonies are performed by the King. The compound of Wat Phra Kaeo and the Grand Palace is open daily from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. The admission fee is 200 baht, including the entry to the Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion in the same compound and to Vimanmek Mansion Museum on Ratchawithi Road.

Wat PhoWat Phrachetuphon Vimon Mungkararam (Wat Pho)
Dating back to the Ayutthaya era, this monas­tery has been a centre for collecting religious architectural and artistic treasures, including the great Reclining Buddha. The chapel is also noteworthy for having been the location of Thailand's first university, a fact which today accounts for its role of correlating religious disciplines with medical science, literature and other academic subjects. The wat's original charter was inscribed during the reign of King Rama III. It is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission fee is 20 baht.

Wat Arun RatchawararamllWat Arun Ratchawararam
Popularly known in Thai as Wat Chaeng and in English as the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun was originally included in the compound of King Taksin the Great's palace. The temple's most outstanding feature is its 82 metres high pagoda, making it the tallest of the historic buildings around Rattanakosin Island.

Ministry of DefenceMinistry of Defence
Originally the site of a palace built by King Rama I for his three sons, the present western style three-storey building was constructed to house soldiers in the reign of King Rama V The building's upper gable is decorated with ornate mouldings and gilded with the Ratchawallop seal. Ancient artillery specimens are lined up in front as reminders of military history.

Hor Klong Shrine
Located behind the Territorial Defence Department, Hor Klong Shrine was established to worship Chao Pho Hor K1ong, Protector of the Signal Tower. In olden days, signal towers used three drums to make important announcements. Yam Phra Surisi drum beat the time, Akki Pinat drum raised the fire alarm, and Pikat Pairi Drum sounded the battle alert.

NATIONAL THEATRENational Theatre
Established in 1960, this distinctive white building with Thai style roof is located adjacent to the National Museum and presents regular traditional Thai drama and musical performances.

NATIONAL MUSEUMNational Museum, Bangkok
Formerly Bavornsatan Palace (Wang Na), these buildings were converted into a museum in 1887. Several palaces in the compound now house a precious collection of art and historic objects ranging from Neolithic times, Sukhothai, Ayuttthaya to Bangkok period. The museum is open everyday, except Mondays, Tuesdays, and annual holidays, from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission fee is 40 baht.

Sanam LuangSanam Luang
The ancient city's original central park, this tree-lined open space has hosted all kinds of royal events, from birthdays to cremations, and is frequently used for public fairs.

Building of Permanent Objects
Designed in the Khmer style by HRH Prince Narissara Nuwattiwong, this oddly titled building was built over a century ago during the reign of King Rama V. The Phra Vachirayan Library, under supervision of the National Library, was formerly located here. The building is currently being renovated in honour of King Rama V.

Sam Phrang, Ancient Canal and Moat
Originally built as residences for senior court officials during the reign of King Rama V, these two-storey, western style row houses are now occupied by various shops. The area also includes three notable phrangs - Nara, Sappasart and Puthorn.
 

ROUTE 2

Wat Bowon Nivet WihanWat Bowon Nivet Wihan
Constructed during the reign of King Rama III, the wat combines Thai and Chinese artistic elements. Past kings and members of the royal family were ordained as Buddhist monks here. Notable features include the statue of Phra Buddha Chinnasri and the Khurua In Khong mural.

NATIONAL ART GALLERYNational Art Gallary
Originally built as a royal mint, this magnificent European style building located on Chao Fa Road now houses the national art collection and hosts regular exhibitions of traditional and contemporary works of art created by Thai artists. It is open to public everyday except Mondays, Tuesdays, and public holidays from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission fee is 30 baht.

 


Phra Sumane Fort - Bang Lamphu CommunityPhra Sumane Fort - Bang Lamphu Community
Located on Phra Athit Road at the entrance to Bang Lamphu canal, this white-walled fort was built in the reign of King Rama I to protect the city from attacks from the river.

A short walk away, Bang Lamphu is a popular haunt of budget travellers and a meeting place for Thai traditional music teachers from schools in the area.

Democracy MonumentDemocracy Monument
A national symbol of political evolution from absolute monarchy to democracy in 1932.

Musical Arts Centre
A collection of historic objects from the realms of Thai drama, music and recreation, located on the 4th floor of the Phanfa branch of Bangkok Bank.

ROUTE 3

Rattanakosin HotelRattanakosin Hotel
Standing on the comer of Ratchadamnoen Klang Road opposite Sanam Luang, the hotel was built during the reign of King Rama VI. Now known as the Royal Hotel, it is notable for its interior design by Professor Silpa Bhirasri.

Wat SuthatWat Suthat
Construction commenced by royal edict during the reign of King Rama I and was not completed until the reign of King Rama III. The temple is especially noted for its Phra Sri Sagaya Munee acquired from Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai and mural paintings. The temple complex is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. In front of the temple is the Giant Swing or Sao Ching Cha where a Brahman ceremony had taken place until the early 20`t' century.

Wat Ratchanatdaram and Loha PrasatWat Ratchanatdaram and Loha Prasat
Built by King Rama III in honour of his niece, Princess Sommanus Wattana Wadee, the roof of the pagoda comprises 37 spires. Loha Prasart is one of only three of its kind anywhere in the Buddhist world.




Maha Chesadabodin Pavilion & Plaza
The most important entrance to Rattanakosin Island located at Phanfalilat Bridge includes a memorial statue of King Rama III and a pavilion for receiving official guests of the King or government.

Chao Pho Sua ShrineChao Pho Sua Shrine
An ancient shrine venerated by Chinese and Thai alike containing depictions of Chao Pho Sua, Guan Ooh and Chao Mae Tubtim gods. Especially respected as an auspicious place to make a vow.

The Giant SwingThe Giant Swing
Located to the front of Wat Suthat, the Giant Swing was originally used for Triyumpawai, a Brahman ceremony under royal patronage commemorating visits to earth by Pra E-suan and Phra Narai. However, the ceremony was revoked in 1933.

ROUTE 4

Chalermkrung Royal Theatre
Constructed during the reign of King Rama VII in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the kingdom of Thailand, it was the first air-conditioned theatre in East Asia and has recently been reopened for dramatic performances.

PakKhlong Talat Market
In the early Rattanakosin period, this area was a floating market. Nowadays, it is Thailand's largest wholesale market for flowers and agricultural produce. In the evenings, the area bustles amid sweet smelling flowers.

Wat Benchamabophit
This temple was built during the reign of King Rama V using marble left over from construction of Anantasamakom. Thus it is also known as the Marble Temple, it employs European ecclesiastic details, such as stained glass windows, and contains a superb cloister collection of bronze Buddha images including the image of Phra Buddha Chinnarat.

 

Wat lnthara WihanWat lnthara Wihan
This monastery is located in an area inhabited by Thais of Laotian origin who took up residence during the reign of King Rama I. The temple is noted for its image of Luang Pho To and huge standing Buddha, To Prommarangsri, built by Somdej Phra Phutthachan.

Tourism Authority of Thailand
Located on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue, TAT's office for tourism development and promotions also provides information to travellers and is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Rattanakosin IslandRattanakosin Island
Rattanakosin Island was founded in 1782 when King Rama I ascended the throne and established the Chakri Dynasty. Rattanakosin Island comprises the administrative centre of the kingdom, including the Grand Palace and Bavornsatan Palace (Wang Na).

In the 220 years since then, nine kings have reigned, each one increasing the island's store of treasures of which all Thai citizens are intensely proud.

 

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