Thailand Country Guide

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Yaowarat & Phahurat (Bangkok) Tour

Morning Tour
Take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Si Phraya Pier (N3). Once you arrived walk to the River City shopping centre. In the mornings and afternoons, the mall feels quite empty but is the best place in Bangkok for expensive antiques and other cultural objects. Note that taking real antiques and religious images out of Thailand requires an export licence and many shops can arrange this for a fee.

 
 
 
 
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From River City, take a left into a small market on Soi Wanit 2. Here you can get some snacks and water from the street vendors before the big hike. From the market you can see the Holy Rosary Church, often called Kalawar Church by the locals. It is a Catholic church constructed during the end of the 19th century in the style of the neo-gothic architecture. When you leave the church, take a left and find the riverside Siam Commercial Bank Building, the first commercial bank set up by Thais. It was built in 1906 in the art-deco style, which was popular during the time. It is hard to find though but is easily seen from the Chao Phraya Express Boat service.

Take another left and then turn right to Trok Talat Noi, a small lane that brings you to the Noi Market, a local market selling Chinese products. Most tourists don't know about this place, so it's a nice way to see how the locals live. You might even walk through some living rooms. Walk back to the main road and take a right and walk through the Sieng Kong Zone, a small area with larger-than-human-sized piles of oily car parts. Walk further on Wanit 2 and you will stumble across Wat Pathum Khongkha, often called Wat Sampeng. It was built during the Ayutthaya period and has been restored to its current state.

Old car parts in the Sieng Kong Zone by Globe-trotter

Take a right to Tri Mit Road and head for the Chinese Arch at the Odeon Circle. Officially known as the King's Birthday Celebration Arch, it sets the stage for Chinatown. It was built by the Thai-Chinese community and unveiled on December 5th, 1999 to show their loyalty to the Thai royal family. The big four Chinese characters on the monument mean "Long Live The King" and are in the handwriting of Princess Sirindhorn (who is fluent in Chinese). Now continue in the same direction and take a left to Wat Traimit. You cannot enter the golden-white building but looks nice for photographs. The real feature of this temple is the Phra Sukhothai Traimit, the largest solid gold Buddha image in the world.

Chinese Arch by hkgalbert

Walk back to the King's Celebration Arch and take a right to Yaowarat Road. At the left, you will see the Thien Fa Foundation, a local medical treatment centre which uses modern as well as traditional Chinese medical practices. Also interesting is the Kuan Yin Shrine (Buddhist temple from the Mahayana school), which is quite different from the Theravada school practiced by Thais. Plenty of Chinese locals light a candle here to get a blessing.

 
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