There is no other place in this world quite like Bangkok, the city of angels, which has been home to generations of Thai people and acted as the city’s bustling capital for over two centuries now. Every inch of the city is embedded with exquisite culture, unique art and remarkable history and what began as a settlement known as “Koh Rattanakosin” (Rattanakosin Island) has expanded outwards in every direction to become the sprawling metropolis we know it as today. In B.E. 2325 (1782), King Phra Phuttha Yotfa Chulalok the Great chose the prime location on the right bank of the Chao Phraya River to commence his nation-building.
The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the City Pillar were all built in quick succession and this marked the establishment of the inner part of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which is now the oldest and the top-ranked tourist attraction in the area. Of particular note is Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, housed inside the Grand Place, which enshrines Phra Phuttha Maha Mani Rattana Patimakon or the Emerald Buddha, a highly revered Buddha image. Here, tourists may witness exquisite art by famed Thai artists and craftsmen of the Rattanakosin Era. In the neighboring area, at the heart of the capital city stands the City Pillar Shrine, a sacred place that houses the city’s horoscope and that residents of the capital often call upon for blessings or good luck.
Rattanakosin Island is the perfect size for planning one-day trips and activities. Tourists can walk, bike or take public transportation to pay homage to the largest reclining Buddha image in the city at Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram, admire Loha Prasat, one of only three metal castles in the world, at Wat Ratchanatdaram, be mesmerized by the meticulous artworks created by ancient Thai craftsmen or stroll around watching Thai musical folk drama at the National Museum Bangkok and enjoy discovering the roots of Thainess in the contemporary exhibitions at Museum Siam. When hunger strikes, let your stomach lead you to the surrounding districts including the waterfront areas of Tha Tian and Tha Prachan and downtown neighborhoods like Sao Ching Cha (the Giant Swing), Bang Lamphu, and Khao San, where a host of culinary treats await, including some fantastic street food.
During their trip around Rattanakosin Island, tourists may take part in cultural conservation by simply showing respect to the places of interest and local culture by dressing in polite outfits and following the instructions which request them to refrain from touching antique items or works of art. This will ensure that their artistic and historical value can last beyond our lifetime.
- Bike around Koh Rattanakosin to embrace the beauty of the Rattanakosin period.
- Carrying a personal bottle can help save the environment and quench thirst at any time (especially useful in the blazing Bangkok sun).
- Explore countless chic cafés and experience a charming culmination of old city charm and modern culture.
Best Time to Visit
- All year round.
- Local Shops – Regular Opening Hours are every day from 5 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Temples are open every day from 8.30 a.m.-4.30 p.m., Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram (Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha) recommended Visiting Hours every day from 8.30 a.m.- 3 p.m.