Thailand · Travel Tales

Walking around Rattanakosin in Bangkok

Rattanakosin is the old capital of the Thai kingdom. “Old” here is relative — before Rattanakosin, some three centuries ago, there was Thonburi, and Ayutthaya, and Sukhothai. (This much I gleaned by eavesdropping on a tour guide and his client in the Grand Palace.) Here you can find some of the most important sights here in Bangkok. This is partly the reason why I wanted to stay near Khao San Road, which is also within the old city area — I’m after the nearby sights, not the nightlife. I’ve been here at the hostel since six PM, after all.

I’ve had an eventful couple of days here in Bangkok. Joey, Vince and I spent our first afternoon “getting lost” with the aid of a map, and found some temples and other monuments in the process. I really love this sort of activity — leisurely exploring with barely any knowledge of the place but what a map says. You get to discover interesting stuff along the way.

October 14 Memorial, dedicated to civilians who died in a pro-democracy rally in 1973
October 14 Memorial, dedicated to civilians who died in a pro-democracy rally in 1973

We got to see the Democracy Monument, and then we somehow found ourselves on a square fronting the city hall. Here, bikers practiced some stunts and mothers followed a dance instructor a la Fitness First. Across the square is the Giant Swing.

Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing
Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing

From a distance, we could see Wat Saket and the Golden Mountain, so we tried to follow it. We somehow ended up walking along houses by a canal and by another temple.

Wat Ratchanadaram
Wat Ratchanadaram

We never did get to Wat Saket — the way seemed too dodgy — but I do have a pic from the Mahakan Fort.

DSC_9337

Ratchadamoen Road toward sunset
Ratchadamoen Road beyond sunset. You could see the Democracy Monument in a distance.

There was an arts event of sorts on the sidewalk of Ratchadamoen Road — we saw portraits and sculptures being done then and there, kids doing crafts, and performers dancing and playing music.

Street performers
Street performers

We stumbled upon the actual Khao San Road, where we had a meal of street pad thai with egg and chicken (50 baht with all those toppings). Here’s the thing about eating street food: we were tired after all that walking and wanted to sit down while eating. On the other hand, we could not do that unless we bought drinks in another store. I ended up spending more for my lemon juice than for my pad thai.

Pad thai. Choose your noodle.
Pad thai. Choose your noodle.

There was a woman who tried to sell us bracelets woven with such inscriptions as “I HAVE BIG BOBS” and “I LOVE SMALL PUSSY”. Ah, hello Bangkok.

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