Monday, October 6, 2014

Good Morning Old Bangkok 7:
Thonburi ธนบุรี Walking Tour

See the locations on Thonburi Walking Tour Google Map

Wat Arun after sunset

On the west side of Chao Phraya River you stumble into the history of Old Bangkok. Thon Buri (ธนบุรี) used to be the capital of Siam for a short time during the reign of King Taksin. After the Burmese had sacked the former capital Ayutthaya King Taksin relocated the capital to Thonburi in 1782. But ten years later his successor King Rama I. removed his royal seat across the Chao Phraya river to the village of Bang-Koh, the capital was named Rattanakosin. Therefore Thonburi for centuries remained an agricultural land with canals (Klongs) and fruit orchards. Much of this peaceful peaceful atmosphere can still be discovered in the backstreets and on boats on the Klongs.

For our walking tour we take the ferry from Tha Tian Pier to Wat Arun.

Wat Arun วัดพระยาทำวรวิหาร: Wat Arun is the temple of Dawn. A Buddhist temple named Wat Makok had existed at this site since the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The temple was renamed Wat Chaeng by King Taksin when he established his new capital. The temple was located in grounds of the royal palace. After the capital was moved, the temple was abandoned for a long period until Rama II restored it and extended the pagoda to 70 meters.
The main feature of Wat Arun is its central prang a Khmer-style tower, decorated with colourful porcelain and 250 feet high. The corners are surrounded by four smaller satellite prang. The prang are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.The presiding Buddha image in the Ordintion Hall next to the prang, cast in the reign of Rama II, is said to have been designed by the king himself. The ashes of King Rama II are interred in the base of the image. The Construction of the tall prang and four smaller ones was started by King Rama II during 1809-1824 and completed by King Rama III (1824–1851). The towers are supported by rows of demons and monkeys. The circumference of the base of the structure is 234 metres. Over the second terrace are four statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on Erawan. At the riverside are six pavilions (sala) in Chinese style. The pavilions are made of green granite and contain landing bridges.

Picture by JasonDGreat

Picture by h0lydevil

Picture by Pimthida

Picture by jscoke

Picture by gatgetdan

Picture by gatgetdan

From Wat Arun we can walk along Chao Phraya River until we reach Klong Bangkok Yai. As there is no bridge we have to turn to Arun Ammarin Road to cross the Klong. We follow the road until we can turn left into Soi Kanlaya 3.

Wat Kalayanimit: Wat Kalayanamitr is a Buddhist temple that was founded in 1825 by the Chinese nobleman Chao Phraya Nikorn Bodin (Toh Kalayanamitr). He built the temple in honour of King Rama III. The name of the wat means “good friend” and illustrates the close relationship between the Chinese community and the royal court at that time, as notes. The architectural style of Wat Kalayanamitr is primarily that of a Buddhist Thai temple. But the viharn, ubosot and many other smaller buildings sit in an inner courtyard surrounded by statues, a Chinese stone pagoda, ceremonial gates and other decorations imported from China. It is said that the Chinese decorative elements found their way to the temple during the days of Sino-Siamese trading in the form of ships’ ballast. Read more background about Wat Kalayanimit and Kuan Im Shrine on
See the Buddha.

Picture by Sphimm

Picture by Fringer

Picture by -AX-

Not far from this temple is Bang Luang Mosque, "a Thai-style building that made it look more like a Buddhist temple than a place of worship for people of the Islamic faith", as Bangkok Post described it. Around tghe mosque lives a well integrated Muslim community, as padthai describes.

And only some steps from Wat Kalayanimit you discover and old Chinese shrine:
Kuan Im Shrine: Between Soi Kanlaya 6 and Chao Phraya River. An old shrine to Kuan Im, the goddess of mercy and for good fortune, peace and fertility, faces the river not far from Wat Kalayanamit. Inside, where no photography is allowed, you will discover some large murals of mythical Chinese figures. A large number of bells and chimes hang from the eaves around the courtyard.

Picture by Fringer

Picture by runran

From here we walk along Chao Phraya River. We will pass this old house with a lot of wood decorations:

Picture by Fringer

Picture by Fringer

A litte bit later we reach the first Catholic Church in Thonburi.

Church of Santa Cruz: The Portuguese had given military support to King Taksin to help him drive out the Burmese from Siam. Grateful for that King Taksin granted the Portuguese land for the church. The first Santa Cruz Church was a wooden building constructed in 1770. Later a new Chinese-style church was built here, influenced by the Chinese community that stayed around Wat Kalayanamit. It was called "Kudichin church" (Chinese church). In 1916, the third and current Santa Cruz Church was built during the reign of King Rama IV, now in Italian-style architecture. This area is also known as birthplace of a famous cupcake, Khanom Farank Kudichin.

Picture by DarkB4Dawn

Picture by Fringer

Picture by Fringer

From the church we follow Thetsaban Sai 1 Road. And soon we can see the white chedi of War Prayoon.

Wat Prayoon: Built by Rama III early in the 19th century. There is an artificial hill in the compound, dotted with small chedis, spirit houses and frangipani trees, and surrounded by a pool filled with turtles. It has been designed by King Rama III. You can feed the turtles with papaya and other fruits on sale at a stall. At the back of the temple compound is a large white chedi in Ayuthaya style. However, the chedi is not in very good condition and the entrance pavilion to the upper terrace surrounding the chedi appears to be permanently blocked off. If you walk around the chedi, you'll find an exit onto a side street which runs along the side of the temple. Turn left and walk down this small lane until you reach a large main road, where you turn right. The gate marking the entrance to Wat Kalayanamit is a short way down on your right.

Picture by Pimthida

Picture by Steve, Tanja, Leon & Lukas

Picture by Steve, Tanja, Leon & Lukas

Picture by Steve, Tanja, Leon & Lukas

Princess Mother Memorial Park อุทยานเฉลิมพระเกียรติสมเด็จพระศรีนครินทราบรมราชชนนี: The late Princess Mother, daughter of a goldsmith, became the mother of two kings. Her Royal Highness Princess Srinakarin passed away in 1995. A small museum park was built in the area. And there is a small museum dedicated to the memory of the Princess Mother. A small lane lined with shops leads to the Princess Mother Memorial Park.

Picture by adaptorplug

Picture by adaptorplug
Part of a relief in the centre of the Princess Mother Memorial Park.

Kuan Ou Shrine ศาลเจ้าพ่อกวนอู: Also: Guan Yu Shrine. Located on the Thonburi bank of the Chao Phraya. It dates almost certainly from before Bangkok's founding. This area was the main port of Siam back in the time when Ayutthaya was the capital. The district was home of traders from many countries, including China and India, and later Portugal and and other European countries. Here used to bee the main docks where ships from China and Europe would offload cargoes to be sent further up the river to Ayutthaya. The shrine is dedicated to the ancient Chinese god of war. Kuan Yu, an ancient Chinese general in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, played a central role in the civil wars among the warring kingdoms of China. The shrine is an octagonal pavilion under a pagoda roof with a praetorian guard of dragons, the symbol of the emperor, strength and wisdom. Dragons glide down the roof, coil round the pillars within the shrine and the ornamental lamppost outside.

Picture by marhas

Picture by Jay Seedy

Wat Pichai Yathikaram: There is no record of when Wat Phitchaya Yatikaram Worawiharn (วัดพิชยญาติการามวรวิหาร) was originally built. It was almost certainly during the time when Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam. Later the temple was deserted. Around 1830, during the reign of King Rama III Lord Bunnag, a high ranking official in the king’s court, discovered the temple and decided to restore it as a favour to the king. Most of the materials used in the construction of the temple were actually brought from China. See the chedi.

Memorial Bridge Pier: Also: Phra Buddha Yodfa. The locals call the pier Saphan Phut. Memorial Bridge is the first bridge over the Chao Phraya River built in 1932.

See also:
The Secret Coves of Thonburi - video on youtube
Darren Wolfs Photos of Thonburi

Discover more in Thonburi:
Floating Markets: Klong Lad Mayom Floating Market, Taling Chan Floating Market and Wat Sai Floating Market. Read more and see pictures: Famous and hidden markets in Bangkok.
Klong tours: Follow Khlong Bangkok Noi, visit the Royal Barge National Museum, Wat Suwannaram and Bangkok Noi Museum. Read more: Treasures along the Khlong: Bangkok Noi คลองบางกอกน้อย.
Follow Klong Bangkok Yai until you reach Taling Chan Floating Market: Treasures along the khlong: Bangkok Yai คลองบางกอกใหญ.
Visit one outstanding wooden house on Khlong Bang Luang: Baan Silapin, the artist's house ริมคลองบางหลวง. Now there is a Coffee shop on the first floor and a studio where visitors can learn to draw and make woodcuts and jewellery. Read more: Treasures along the Khlong: Baan Silapin - the artist's house in Khlong Bang Luang.

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bangkok Neighbourhoods Guide:
Phra Nakhon พระนคร 1

Subdistricts and historic places: Banglamphu บางลำพ, Rattanakosin รัตนโกสินทร์, Phra Borom Maharatcha Wang พระบรมมหาราชวัง, Wang Burapha Phirom วังบูรพาภิรมย์, Wat Ratchabophit วัดราชบพิธ, Samran Rat สำราญราษฎร์, San Chaopho Suea ศาลเจ้าพ่อเสือ, Sao Chingcha เสาชิงช้า, Bowonniwet บวรนิเวศ, Talat Yot ตลาดยอด, Chana Songkhram ชนะสงคราม, Ban Phan Thom บ้านพานถม, Bang Khun Phrom บางขุนพรหม, Wat Sam Phraya วัดสามพระยา
See the nearest stations on Phra Nakhon Railways, Boat, Skytrain and Buses Google Map

Famous and hidden Markets in Phra Nakhon พระนคร

See the locations on Phra Nakhon Markets Google Map

Banglamphu Market: Clothing, household items and sweets in Phra Sumen Road, Tanao Street and Chakrabongse Street. Great food stalls, as you can read on mmm-yoso!!!. See also Wat Bowonniwet, it has a quiet Temple garden.

Picture © Juan Pablo

Picture © Juan Pablo

Find your way: From Chao Phraya River leave at Phra Athit Pier.
Open: From 10 am to 7 pm.

Thewet Flower Market ตลาดเทเวศร์: Potted plants, flowers and related items.
Find your way: Off the intersection of Samsen road and Krung Kasem road. From Chao Phraya river you leave at Tha Thewet pier.

A lot of orchids at Thewet flower market, picture by © mookE

Picture by © Bryan Ledgard

Thewet wet market, picture by © _perSona_

Picture by © nimboo

Good Morning Old Bangkok 6: Tha Prachan ท่าพระจันทร์ and Wang Lang Market ตลาดวังหลัง

See the locations on Bangkok Walking Tour: Tha Prachan and Wang Lang Google Map

Picture by iamkeang

The area around Tha Prachan ท่าพระจันทร์ ("Moon pier") comes alive around 4 pm, when students and workers starting to head home and visiting tourists form an eclectic mix of people with the street vendors and owners of decades-old businesses in the shops. Tha Prachan (see picture) is one of Bangkok’s most historical piers. It’s also home to two of Thailand’s leading Universities, Thammasart (see campus map) and Silpakorn. "The food on offer at Tha Prachan is a real treat. Inside the pier’s small complex are a number of great local eateries offering all the favourites like papaya salad and green chicken curry. Outside are various street vendors selling tropical fruits, juices and other delicious snacks", notes Life in Bangkok blog. Have a look at the noodles eaten by Earn K.T. And BK Magazine covered eateries like New Yong Hua Pochana, Nai Dee, Charoen Chai, Ajisen Ramen, Tha Prachan, Roti Mataba Tha Prachan, N+Rich, Aew Tha Prachan and R-Roy. At R-Roy you get butter sugar crackers, for which the people are queuing reports Stranger in Bangkok. And their design is vintage, writes

Picture by Momykaboon
R-Roy crispy bread, with vintage design portrays owners of shops and stalls, between fashionable clothes and accessoires, bookshops and musicshops, fortune tellers and amulets. The area around the pier hosts an extensive Buddhist amulet market, which opens early in the morning and closes around dusk. Thais have been wearing Buddhist amulets for centuries. "This comes from a superstitious belief that an amulet can protect the wearer from evil spirits and bad luck. It's also thought that the various powers linked with an amulet can easily outlive the current owner", writes Youthapong Charoenpan.

Picture by -AX-
Amulet Market

Picture by -AX-

Picture by Nir Nussbaum

Picture by -AX-
Maharat Road

On the corner of Pra Chan and Na Phra That roads you will find Cafe Velo Dome คาเฟ่เวโลโดม. Here you can get a lot of information about Bangkok’s bicycle rentals, bike tours, and city routes for bikers.
Tha Prachan is also a historic site - a site of sadness. Pictures by tuktadevil show, what is known as the 6 October 1976 Thammasat University Massacre เหตุการณ์ 6 ตุลา, when right-wing paramilitary groups killed 46 students and wounded 167 students (the official numbers, probably many more), during a military coup. Thammasat University holds an annual event with eyewitness accounts and historical records. In 1996 a memorial has been built on the campus.

Tha Prachan is just a short walk from Tha Chang Pier, which can easily be reached by a Chao Phraya Express Boat. From Tha Prachan a ferry crosses Chao Phraya River to Tha Wang Lang Pier. And here, beneath Siriraj Hospital, you enter a secondhand shopping paradise: Wang Lang market ตลาดวังหลัง, little sois cramped with shops and stalls. Young Bangkokians know it for good quality and cheap prices for garments, shoes, accessoires as well as delicious foods, loved by locals and students and described by BK. See also this video by ToyJoyKandygirl. The market part with the clothing stalls is called Talad Naew Naew. Nira Chan has nice pictures and one advice: Don't go between 1130 am and 1pm, because the market then is full of hungry students and nurses from the hospital.

Picture by gnarlykitty
Wang Lang shopping paradise

Picture by looktana

Picture by auang

Picture by auang

Good morning Old Bangkok 3: Artsy Phra Athit Road

See the locations on Old Bangkok Buildings Google Map

Picture marhas
Where Phra Athit Road turns into Phra Sumen Road

Not looking for the neon lights, the souvenir stalls and the crowd of backpackers in Khao San Road, but for heritage? Then Thanon Phra Athit ถนนพระอาทิตย์, located along Chao Phraya River, may be your road for a stroll and for your dinner or for a drink, because it's known for its bars and artsy restaurants and also for some shops. It's not far away. First you may arrive at Santichan Prakan Park with Phra Sumen Fort (from 1783), one of the two remaining of fourteen forts, that used to guard the ancient city. From the park a riverside walk leads to Pra Pinklao bridge and to some restaurants with riverview. Phra Athit road also shows you the architecture of old Bangkok with shophouses and palaces:

Picture §Leng§
Phra Sumen Fort

Bann Chao Phraya บ้านเจ้าพระยา (Wang Grom Muen Sathit Damrong Sawat): Next to Sumeru Fortress on Chao Phraya River. Originally the palace of Prince Sathit Thamroungsawat, son of King Rama II. Later it was Prince Khamrob's palace. The two-storey brick building is supposed to have been built between 1868 and 1910. Architectural characteristics are "the delicate perforated wooden porch, the window facades overlaid with half-circle glass, the curved upper balcony", notes Donruetai Kovathanakul in a research project. See picture by flatkrab

Bann Phra Arthit บ้านพระอาทิตย์: Wang Thanon Phra Arthit Tee Nuang. House Number 102/1 Phra Athit Road. Finance Minister Phraya Vorapomgpipat (Wang Chao Woraphong Pipat วังเจ้าพระยาวรพงศ์พิพัฒน์) constructed the building in 1926. From 1962 to 1989 the Goethe Institut rented this house. Now it is the office of Manager Media Group. And it houses the restaurant Coffee&More บ้านพระอาทิตย์. See gallery. See pictures on See also picture on and here

Picture tourrattanakosin

Buddhist Association of Thailand:

Picture marhas

Bann Maliwan: Also called Maliwan Palace and Wang Grom Phra Nares Worarit. It was originally the palace of Prince Worarit, son of King Rama IV. During Woröd War II it was command-post for Seri-Thai, the Free Thai Mouvement. It is also known as Tha Chang Mansion. Today its the office of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. It was built by the Italian architect Ercole Manfredi.

Picture marhas

Wang Grom Phra Sawatdiwatwisit: This building was first the residence of a consort of King Rama IV. Today its the Unicef-Buiding (United Nations Children's Fund).

Prince Adisaranuwongse Sukhasvati's Palace:

Picture marhas

Picture marhas

Picture Ian Fuller

Restaurants on Phra Athit Road
Read more in the Banglamphoo section of Mouthwatering Food in Bangkok

Recommend this blog on Facebook and Twitter:

Mouthwatering Food in Phra Nakhon พระนคร

See the locations on Phra Nakhon พระนคร Restaurants Google Map

Bakery and Café
Nom Joe 441 Tanao Road. Hot milk, toast, also noodles, rice dishes and salads. Aziacity Review. And read, what Austin Bush writes.

Royal India 392/1 Chakrapet Road. ThailandTatler writes: "A handful of tables, a TV set and not much else keeps the focus on food, which thankfully makes up for the lack in ambience." ThailandTatler Review

Jae Wa-Jae Yong Hainanese Noodles ขนมจีนไหหลำ เจ้วา-เจ้หย่ง Luk Luang Soi 8 ซอยลูกหลวง. "Firm noodles, tender chunks of braised beef, pickled cabbage, braised bamboo shoots all drenched in a thick sauce loaded with peanuts and white sesame", notes Nuttaporn Srisirirungsimakul. Read BKMagazine Review. And read the story of the Hainanese people, who came to Thailand, amd what kind of kitchen they brought in Bangkok Post

Picture ให้ทิปเจ้าของ

Aquatini: 45/1-2 Phra Athit Road. Restaurant at the Chao Phraya River, in front of Navalai Resort. Thai and European cuisine. "Pocket-friendly prices", says

Chote Chitr 146 Phraeng Phuton, Tanao Road. The "New York Times" writes: "The restaurant has been around some 90 years, prides itself on cooking recipes developed by ancient Thai royal courts, and its wall menu lists hundreds of dishes. These often rely on traditional ingredients tough to find today, and Chote Chitr’s cooks say little about how they uncover them." NYT Review

Chote Chitr, picture by OGGtours.

Khinlom Chomsaphan. 11/6, Soi 3 Samsen Road. On the banks pf Chao Phraya River. "Best value on the river", means the blogger of International Herald Tribune. Good reviews on See also video on Pictures by Christopher.

Picture marhas

Picture Navalai

Hemlock: 56 Pra Athit Road. Run by a group of former students. Good reviews on and The dining area serves also a as gallery with rotating work by local artists, notes BK Magazine

Picture isriya

Krua Noppharat: 130-132 Phra Athit Road. "The authentic Isan menu includes regional specialties like fried snakehead fish with spicy sauce, banana-flower salad, raw shrimp, fried morning glory, and Isan sausage", notes Fodor's. The first restaurant on this road, some decades old, adds Amazing Thailand Gourmet

Picture scottpartee
Marinated pork in Krua Noppharat

Old Phra Athit Pier 23 Phra Athit Road. Dining on a wooden deck. Read review by BKMagazine Review Picture nuttaporn

Poonsin 460 Wisut Kasat Road. BK-Magazine writes: "Homestyle ped yang (roast duck) and ped palo (braised duck with Chinese herbs) make up for the otherwise monotonous setting by taking your mouth on an unforgettable journey." BKMagazine Review

Raan Jay Fai 327 Maha Chai Road. Of the best noodle dishes. The "New York Times" writes: "Jay Fai noodles stir-fried with spicy Thai basil is a dish also called drunken noodles. Some Thais believe the dish got its name because street cooks serve it into the wee hours, when their clientele is the drunkest." NYT Review

Roti Mataba 136 Phra Athit Road. Thai Muslim kitchen from Southern Thailand, popular by backpackers. Roti is flat bread filled with your choice of meat or fish. BKMagazine Review And see, what this blogger writes: Primitive Culture

Picture Erin&Justin

Rub Aroon: Also: Rub Ar Roon. 310-312 Maharat Road. Coffee, milkshakes, juices, sandwiches and curries in an old Chinese shophouse.

Picture marhas1 See another picture.

Samsensoisam สามเสนซอย 3: 10 Samsen Soi 3. Phone 02 6288362With great riverview towards Rama IIX Bridge. With DJ and live band. The house specialty is Goong SamSenSoiSam (fried prawns in spicy red sauce). "If you want to get dinner for two and impress your date with good food and an intimate riverside atmosphere, Samsensoisam is the place to go", comments BK Magazine.

Teddy the Bake: Samsen Soi 5. Teddy bears everywhere in the restaurant. Thai food and bakery for dessert. See pictures on Read the review by

The Deck เดอะ เดค At Arun Residence, 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Road. Read the review of International Herald Tribune. See more pictures by

Ton Pho Riverside Openair-Restaurant. Read Fodors's review.

Mr Pas: 140 Phra Athit Road. Only a few tables. Fusion kitchen, some dished showed by Hungry in Bangkok. "The moment you walk in your hunger will already be stimulated by the smell of duck or seafood being pan-seared in butter and spices", writes Sittipon Chanarat on
See also this picture from inside

Picture Rabbit Moon

Read also Phra Athit Guide by

Discover the second part:
Bangkok Neighbourhoods Guide: Phra Nakhon พระนคร 2

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