Saturday, 18 May 2024

Walking Tour of Rattanakosin Island

Rattanakosin Island is the area around Sanam Luang, the most well-known open ground in front of the Grand Palace, which is surrounded by water and houses the Grand Palace, several famous temples and important government buildings.

The first place to visit is the National Museum on the West side of Sanam Luang, which is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. Next to the museum is one of Thailand's most famous universities, Thammasat University. Walking through the campus, you will reach Tha Phrachan Road. Then turn onto the nearby Maharat Road, on the left of which is Mahathat Temple, where the Buddhist Meditation Centre is located.

Next to the temple is Silpakorn University, the country's centre of fine arts study. Turning left onto Na Phra Lan Road, you will reach a must-visit place for every visitor to Thailand. It is the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo) where you can catch a glimpse of Thailand's traditional arts and splendid architecture. To the left of the front gate of Wat Phra Kaeo, you will find Tha Chang (tha = pier) where you can take a ferry to Wat Rakhang, a famous old temple with traditional architecture. Next to Tha Chang is Tha Ratchaworadit, a royal pier containing a Thai-style pavilion exclusively used for royal ceremonies.

Walk on a few hundred metres you will see another pier - Tha Tian, from which you may take a ferry to Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn. This renowned temple is attractive in its striking pagoda decorated with multicoloured porcelain fragments.

Opposite the rows of shophouses around Tha Tian is Wat Pho or Wat Phra Chetuphon, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, another famous temple in the area. In addition to a large number of pagodas, the temple also houses a huge reclining Buddha. On the opposite side of Sanamchai Road, the road beside Wat Pho, is Saranrom Garden where you can take a break under shady trees. Then continue your walk along this road, you will pass the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence which is marked by some old cannons displayed in front of the building.

Going a little way farther, before arriving back at Sanam Luang, you will see the City Pillar Shrine with the roof in the form of a pagoda. Here is where a lot of people come to worship the city's guardian deity. The route of this walking tour programme is completed here.

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