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Bangkok Tourist Guide Thailand


Bangkok Palace, Chao Phraya River and Royal Barges


  • Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and the first point of call for most international flights and the center for domestic travel. Over 11 million people live or work here and so it is large and congested. Accordingly the choice of hotel and its location can be important. Bangkok itself has numerous tourist attractions and these are detailed in the links on the left.
  • The principal tourist sites in Bangkok include, The Grand Palace, Wat Phrao Kaeo (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the National Museum Bangkok, Wat Arun, Wat Suthat, Wat Pho, China town, the Chao Phraya River, the Dusit District and Vimanmek Mansion, Jim Thompson Museum, and Suan Pakkad Palace Museum.
  • Bangkok is also in the center of various tourist places of interest available on one day or several days excursions. These include, Lop Buri, The Summer Palace, Ayutthaya, the Burma railway on the Kwai River at Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin and the South West Coast and Pattaya and the South East Coast. These are also detailed in the links on the left. For those travelling around Bangkok the summary below explains the history and hence reason for the layout of the city, the location and reason for the Canals and the functions of the River.



Wat Benchamabophit, Bangkok


  • In 1557 King Thamaracha of Ayutthaya allowed Bangkok to be the port of entry for the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Later King Narai had French technicians build the Wichaiyen and Wichaiprasit Forts on the east and west banks of the River. They were called the Bangkok Forts. Between the Forts was a large chain hanging beneath the River to prevent unauthorized boat entry into and exit from Siam.
  • Previously in 1542 a canal was dug from the mouth of Bangkoknoi Canal to Bangkok Yai Canal for convenience of transportation at the time. The Chao Phraya River then changed course and the short cut canal became the River and the original river became the Canal.
  • After the Burmese sacked Siam and Ayutthaya in 1767, General Taksin selected Thon Buri (n the west bank) as the new capital for Siam, as it was an important port of entry and was well fortified. In 1773 King Taksin ordered the renovation of the City and named it Krung Thonburi.
  • Until 1767 Ayutthaya was the Capital of Siam and an international trade centre. At the same time Rattanakosin [ the area on the opposite east River bank ] was since 1557, a port of entry for the Ayutthaya Kingdom. It was called Bank Kok. Bangkok became the new center of the Siamese Kingdom. Its story has 4 periods. The first is the story of Taksin and the First Kingdom at Thon Buri on the west side of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.
  • Next is the period of construction of Rattanakosin from 1782 to 1851 from the reign of Rama I to the end of the reign of Rama III (the Era of National Peace). The period 1851 to 1932 is referred to as the Reformation Era before which changes in the system of government took place, and then there was the Democratic Era from 1932 from the reign of King Rama VI until the present day.
  • To understand the design of Bangkok, the locations of its monuments, the River and the Canals, one needs to understand the history. To understand the design of its art and monuments one needs to appreciate mythological, religious and ethnic influences.



National Museum Grounds