Bangkok, Thailand




Rattanakosin (also known as Rattanakosin Island) is Bangkok's historic centre, where most of the city's "must see" sights are located including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. Rattanakosin was established in 1782 when King Rama I moved the Siamese capital across the Chao Phraya River from Thonburi (starting a period in Thai history known as the Rattanakosin Period). Spending a few days in this remarkable district does not just show you dozens of traditional Buddhist temples, palaces, museums, parks and monuments but also gives a better understanding of Thai culture, history, religion and its people.

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Rattanakosin is the result of careful 18th-century urban planning and therefore orientation in Rattanakosin is fairly straightforward. Like Ayutthaya, the focal point of the district is Sanam Luang, a wide open royal field and the site of many ceremonies and festivals associated with Thailand's royal family. Surrounding the field are Rattanakosin's prime sights and the most important is the Grand Palace. Just like Ayutthaya, part of its compound is dedicated to a royal temple named Wat Phra Kaew, which is the most sacred temple in Thailand and home to the Emerald Buddha. Most visitors spend a full day admiring these shimmering beauties.

Grand Palace by Deror Avi

Khao San Road is an integral part of Rattanakosin but covered separately as it is a laid-back hippy-style area that is different from the grandeur of Rattanakosin. Walking from Khao San Road to the Grand Palace takes about 20 minutes, if you don't take in any stops along the way. The Bangkok Tourist Information Office located at 17/1 Phra Athit Road (under the Phra Pin Klao Bridge) is good stop for travel information about the city including literature and maps. You can also get hotel and dining addresses here.

King Prajadhipok Museum by Globetrotter

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