Bangkok is a huge city of more than 10 million inhabitants, spread over an extremely wide area and with hundreds of thousands of tourists and other visitors all year round.
Bangkok originated as an actual city in the late 18th century, when it became the capital of what was then Siam. Before that, it was only a small trading post, but by the early 19th century it was the absolute center of the whole country. The city has grown strongly throughout its history, but especially its population rose from the 1960s to the 1990s. Indeed, many major construction projects date back to this period, such as the city-wide highways at various levels. In the 1990s, the city became an international financial center, although it has since experienced a couple of economic collapses (1998 and 2008).
The size of the Bangkok metropolitan area is about 1568 square kilometers and the metropolitan area is 7760 square kilometers. Although there are cities of its size in Europe, such as London and Istanbul, Bangkok is a completely different city, crossed by a river and several canals. It is made up of several different areas that are not very well connected to each other. Thus, unlike many other metropolises, it is hardly possible to get an overall picture of Bangkok other than by spending years there.
Bangkok is officially divided into 50 different districts, but these are useless terms for those staying in the city. Many of the names are such that they are almost impossible to remember, and because the Thai language is written like Sanskrit, there are many different versions of many names in the Latin alphabet. So it’s worth simplifying things in the city, and you can only visit a few different districts there on a trip of up to a week.
The most important parts for the tourist are quite easy to outline. Ko / Koh Ratanakosin is Bangkok’s “old town” with several major attractions. Adjacent to it, Banglamphu is an area where many Western tourists spend most of their time, and its most famous street is Khao San Road. There are also numerous major attractions and a wide variety of terrain in the area. Adjacent to it, Phahurat (or Pharurat) is an area close to Sam Yot Metro Station with a few attractions and several Indian restaurants. The Chinese district next to it (Chinatown or China Town) is a place where many visit, but some only go there to watch the so-called the golden Buddha.
In addition to these areas, some will become familiar with Silom (or Si Lom), which is already Bangkok’s new business hub, but even more familiar will be the area located between the intersection of Siam Square and Pratunam. It is a convenient area for shopping and accommodation as well, and the adjacent Ratchathewi is known for the tall tower and Pratunam Market, but this name is rarely used in Bangkok.
Farther from the heart, Sukhumvit is a district where many stay and enjoy themselves, but it is a lively and westernized area that is by no means to everyone’s liking.
In 1782, Bangkok became the capital of Siam, now Thailand. The first forts were built on the artificial island of Ko Ratanakos, and the island was also the capital of the Kingdom of Rattanakos (1782–1932). The area has some of the most important attractions in the city, but although it is called the old town in many places, it is in many ways a difficult place to explore and it does not resemble European old towns.
Ko Ratanakosin is a vast area crossed by wide streets and where moving is already a heavy activity just because of the humid heat. It’s a good idea to go there right in the morning, and another pretty good time to visit is late afternoon, although it’s good to be aware that many places to visit will close by 4pm. If you want to enter the temple areas and the royal palace in the area, there are exact dress codes, although you can buy or rent clothes that are considered decent in the area. Shoulders, knees, or shoulders should not be visible, and behavior should be restrained. Phones need to be put out of sight, smoking or drinking alcohol are strictly prohibited, and no areas are allowed to eat anything or grind to unload.
Almost everything is important in the middle ground between Phran Chan Pier and Tien Pier, and inland the area is bordered by a canal called Lod (Khlong Lod). The most extreme attractions in the area, near Tien Pier, is Wat Pho, known for Bangkok’s largest reclining Buddha statue.
Next to it is a large complex with the city’s holiest temple, Wat Phra Kaew, and the Royal Palace (Grand Palace or Royal Palace), which is the city’s largest tourist magnet. Opposite the palace area is Lak Meuang, a wooden pillar erected in 1782 and a kind of symbol of the city. Adjacent to it is a vast green area that, from a tourist’s point of view, has nothing but inconvenience, is Sanam Luang, i.e. the “Royal Field”, surrounded by some of the city’s busiest streets. There is also a national museum on the outskirts of the square [ on the map], where you learn about the history of the area in permanent exhibitions and also have popular rotating exhibitions.
Some of the most significant areas are on the banks of the river, which, however, to the disappointment of many in these areas, like just nowhere else, do not allow long distances to walk. Various complexes break the riverbanks, and include the universities of Thammasat, Silpakorn and Wat Mahathat, the most prestigious Buddhist university in the country. Their areas can be accessed from time to time and have views of the riverbanks, but often they close their doors to anyone other than those who have something to do with the universities.
One of the most prominent features in the area are the various shops that are geared towards tourists. One good place to visit is the amulet Market (in english. Amulet Market) [ map ], which is the most astonishing statues, coins, and other objects related to religion for sale. They have as many locals as tourists and are in a fairly large area close to Phra Chan and Maharaj piers.
With the exception of some riverbanks, the area is long and always incomprehensibly lively. The streets are hard to cross, and the tuk-tuk drivers offering their rides will soon start to strain too. One good place to get rid of the noise, at least for a while, is the park opposite Wat Phota, Saranrom Park.
Banglamphu (Bang Lamphu, Banglampoo, Bang Lamp) is perhaps the most essential district for the majority of Western tourists. It’s a good area to explore Bangkok’s most essential offerings, and while it’s dominated by streets populated by young Western tourists like Khao San Road, there’s a wide variety of neighborhoods there. It is an addictive and constantly entertaining district for a longer period of time, which is also ideal for accommodation.
The most famous street in the area is Khao San Road (Thanon Khao San, Khaosan) [ picture ], which is a 410-meter-long amusement area. “Khao” means both rice and food, and at one time the street was the city’s rice market. It is still a major marketplace, but only the most foolish tourists buy anything along it, as everything it has to offer is overpriced and often of poor quality. It’s not a good street for a place to stay, a restaurant or even a bar, but if you want to eat or drink something there, perhaps at its most pleasant it’s around 5pm to 8pm. After 8pm, at least during the winter season, it is quite crowded, various huge buckets each play their own loud music and the atmosphere is chaotic anyway. If you are here in the evenings or at night, you should take careful care of your valuables and you should not lose sight of the drink for a moment.
A better street for anything is the Soi Rambuttri (Soi Ram Buttri) next to Khaosan, but much longer. It has many bends, and it is precisely around its bends and corners that it has the best to offer. The bars along it are cheaper and more relaxed than in Khaosan, the dining options are marginally better and the shops also offer a better and more varied offer. In addition to the lively part of it next to Khaosan, it is also worth exploring those on the other side of the road parts leading to the most popular museum in the area, the National Museum of Art.
The streets next to Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttr are shopping streets, and the streets at their end are also significant. Tanao is a street with specialty shops and some cafes. Located on the other side of Khaosan, Chakrabongse Road is busier and more diverse in its offerings. Along it are numerous kiosks, grocery stores, cafes, restaurants and various shops such as opticians. Along it, there are numerous travel agencies where you can arrange anything from a day trip to a transfer to another city or a minibus trip to the airports.
Chakrabongse Road runs from the busy streets between the old town and Banglamphu all the way to Banglamphu’s own canal (Khlong Bang Lamphu), after which it turns into Samsen Road. This, too, is a lively, diverse street. Even more interesting, however, are the areas on both sides of it, as these are Bangkok’s most authentic Thailand, a village-like block of flats with all sorts of lodging, bars, restaurants and Buddhist temple areas.
A kind of Venetian style bridge takes Banglamphu from the waterfront promenade to this block of flats as well. Next to the bridge is one of the finest buildings around these, the “White Fort” or Phra Sumen. Around it park(Santi Chai Prakan) is a pleasant place to stay and has good views of the river. If you want to really enjoy the atmosphere of the riverside, you can sit from morning to night on one of the terraces along the short promenade, which includes the park right next to the park. Coco.
In addition to the Sumen Fort, Banglamphu has a few other notable buildings and attractions. Wat Bowonniwet is the temple area next to the roundabout at the end of Soi Rambuttr. Appears on these sidewalks from about 5 p.m. kojuja, which serves typical Thai dishes. If you arrive by bus from a neighboring country or Thailand at “Khao San Road” there is a golden sign in front of the temple area. stupan usually represents the terminus.
If you continue from here inland, you will come across the most spectacular parts of Banglamph. Although the wide high streets like Klatch Road in Ratchadamnoen spoil the atmosphere almost completely, it’s still worth a visit to see the Democracy Monument. If it continues towards the canals, it will soon be met by a pleasant, unpopular Buddhist temple area (Wat Ratchanatdaram), the most notable building of which is the “Iron Palace” i.e. Loha Prasat.
Opposite the temple area, on the bank of the canal leading to Sukhumvit (Khlong Suen Saeb) via Pratunam, there is another white fort in the area, Phra Mahakan. Next to it is a pier to and from which can be reached very specifically in the direction of Pratunam. There is a really long way to Sukhumvit by canal boat, and you should go there by other means.
There is another major attraction in the Banglamphu area, which is mainly the Lookout. The impression is made by the temple, which is at the top of the golden hill(Golden Mount) is a tourist trap. However, if you go there early in the morning, it can be nice to admire the environment from above.
The areas between Banglamphu and Rachawongse Pier are a block of blocks that are even more accessible due to the new subway (MRT) station (Sam Yot). There are a few large traditional shopping malls in the area, such as Mega Plaza, and Rommaninat Park, which serves as Bangkok’s fitness park. The area, which is even closer to this than Banglamphua, has a must-see, the Great Swing (Sao Chingcha, on the map ) on a wide square, polluted by many busy streets.
The most pleasant parts of Phahurat are close to the canal, with its beaches offering a nice, peaceful atmosphere and numerous Indian restaurants. This block of flats is known as Little India and has direct access to the Chinese district.