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240 YEARS RATTANA KOSIN

 This year, Thailand celebrates Bangkok’s birthday. The country’s capital city is already 240 years old. It is a great time for both Thais and foreigners to revisit its rich history.

Also nicknamed ‘The Venice of the East’ due to its complex of canals, Bangkok was established after King Taksin the Great set up “Krung Thon Buri” in an area called “Bangkok” on the Chao Phraya River. Later, King Rama I, the first monarch of the reigning Chakri Dynasty of Siam, ordered the construction of the Royal Palace of Rattanakosin on the bank of the river on April 21 in 1782, inheriting art and architecture from the Royal Palace of Ayutthaya, to become the new capital city.

The best way to recapture the classic atmosphere of the area is to turn reading text into a real-life walking experience. Here are some places worth visiting, for both educational and recreational purposes.

 

MUSEUM SIAM

The first ‘must-go’ place is Museum Siam or Discovery Museum. Here, you will come to understand the national identity and its history in a contemporary context through the presentation of various mixed media.

There are both permanent exhibits and a museum on wheels, in collaboration with Muse Mobile. The exhibition uses interactive storytelling techniques with seven characters as intermediaries. Combined with detailed presentations in 17 exhibition rooms, it is guaranteed to be both knowledgeable and fun.

How to Get There

MRT: Get off at Sanam Chai Station. From Gate One, walk out in the direction of Tha Tien Pier until you reach the main road, then turn right. Go straight through the front of Wat Pho and Museum Siam will be on your left.

Admission Fee: Adults:100 Baht; Students: 50 Baht.

Free Entry: Monks, novices, youths under 15, adults over 60, and the disabled. 50% discount for groups of 5 or more.

 

THA MAHARAJ

Next, let’s go to Tha Maharaj, a community mall located on the Chao Phraya River. With the concept of “Riverside Eatery, Urban Oasis, Art & Culture Market”, it is a source of various arts, restaurants, and coffee shops for those looking for leisure or on vacation.

The retail outlets, coffee shops, and restaurants are on the 1st and 2nd floors, with highlights on the 3rd and 4th floors, where you can enjoy the view and take photos on the open-air deck. This place also serves as a green oasis which can be enjoyed in every corner of the building.

How to Get There

Take either a Green, Orange, or Yellow Flag Chaophraya Express boat to Phran Nok / Wang Lang Pier (N10), then take a ferry from Wang Lang Pier to Wat Mahathat Pier.

Take either a Green or Orange flag Chaophraya Express boat to Tha Chang Pier (N9), then walk to Tha Maharaj.

Take a Blue flag Chaophraya Tourist Boat (CTB) direct to Tha Maharaj.

 

PIPIT BANGLAMPHU MUSEUM

The building was originally the residence of Phra Yanarat Phakdi Si Ratsadakorn, Director General of the Department of Finance during the reign of King Rama V. Later, it was converted into a depository for books and textbooks.

The museum is where the livelihood of Ratanakosin Island took root. Located on Phra Athit Road near Phra Sumen Fort, the museum has been around since the reign of King Rama I. In 2001, the Fine Arts Department registered the building as a museum. This is a modern museum best known for its interesting adaptation of exhibition items and historical tales of the portrayal of Bang Lamphu community’s traditional lifestyle.

Its inner space features a “Universal Design” that everyone can experience, including elders, the disabled, and children. There is also Braille available for the visually impaired.

How to Get There

Entrance fees:  30 Baht; 10 Baht for children 10-18.

Free admission: Children under 10 years, Thai senior citizens 60 and over, priests of all religions, the disabled, and group visitors who request a special visit.

Opening Hours: 8.30 am – 4.30 pm, Tuesday to Friday; 10 am – 6 pm on weekends.

Note: The last show starts at 3 pm.

 

WAT BOWONNEVET RATCHAWARAVIHARA 

This Buddhist temple features one of most magnificent architectural styles and exquisite artworks in Thailand. It is divided into two sections, by walls and canals, into Buddhavasa and Sanghavasa. The architecture in the Buddhavasa area was derived from Thailand, China, and Europe, while Sanghavasa is the living area for monks and Thai kings during their monkhood years. Behind the temple, is a European-style museum and library. You can see the Gothic style prominently visible within the Thai artwork.

Wat Bowonniwet is one of the Class-1 royal temples, making it one of the most important temples of the Rattanakosin Period. Several Thai royal family members and Thai kings have studied here, and four supreme patriarchs have resided here.

LOHA PRASAT (THE METAL CASTLE)

With its unique architecture, and the world’s third and Thailand’s only structure with amazing, brightly colored bronze tiles, Loha Prasat-Wat Ratchanadda never fails to catch the eye and create a feeling of awe.

Loha Prasat was built as the main stupa of Wat Ratchanadda. The name originates from India, referring to its multi-storied and square-based construction with metal spires. You can buy flowers, incense, and candles at the nearby stall to pay respect to the Buddha’s relic, which was enshrined at a ceremony presided over by King Rama IX.

The central tower has a spiral staircase that leads to the top, providing wonderful 360-degree views of Bangkok and Rattanakosin Island. Before leaving, take a walk around the area below to see an exhibition of the temple’s history.

 

THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE

Situated not far away is this 100-year-old wooden house converted into a café and museum. The house once belonged to a senior government officer and is located behind the Brahmin Temple, Sao Ching Cha (Giant Swing Area).

Its eye-catching architecture was influenced by that seen in the reign of King Rama IV, with its stencil design and gingerbread cookie-like shape. The café, run by his grandchildren, served beverages and international desserts; the “Bua Thong Set” is the most popular. Other recommendations are Pandan and Bua Loi Ice Cream with Coconut Milk.

 

ONG ANG WALKING STREET

Guaranteed for recognition for landscape improvement from Pacific’s 2020 Asian Townscape Awards, the street is a remarkable landmark worth visiting. Based on its name, historians believe it was a pottery market set up by Chinese and Mon people. Today, it is a popular hangout, particularly for food lovers, as several famous food stalls and shops are located here, many of them as old as three generations. The shops stretch from Damrong Sathit Bridge (Saphan Lhek) to Osathanond Bridge (Phra Pokklao Bridge). You can also enjoy a stroll to enjoy street arts portraying the local livelihood or take a kayak for a canal view.

 

FARM TO TABLE HIDEOUT

After visiting the flower market, let’s go to Farm to Table Hideout to fill your stomach with organic salads, healthy drinks, and rare Thai desserts. Although the place is in the market area, it’s so well-hidden that the word “Hideout” isn’t far from the truth at all. To get there, you have to walk as the road is too narrow for cars.