Bangkok Old City (Rattanakosin) Review

Bangkok Area Guides

Some call it the Vatican City of Thai Buddhism; Bangkok Old City (also known as Rattanakosin) is notable for its spectacular collection of religious and architectural treasures. The Old City is filled with some of Thailand’s most honoured and holy sites including the Royal Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, Sanam Lung (Royal Grounds), The National Museum, Parliament and more.

Besides the city’s beloved attractions, the area is home to many local markets include Pak Khlong Talad (flower market), Bo Bae Market (clothing wholesale), Saphan Phut Night Market and the Amulet Market in Tha Chang. The Old City also offers unique dining and nightlife. 

Come here to take in the street life as much as the famed attractions. The best time to do so is in the morning before the sun reaches its maximum strength. Please note: most temples here are off-limits to visitors after 16:00.


Where to Stay in Old City (Rattanakosin)

The Old City is a paradise for backpackers. It’s fairly easy to find to find a place to crash, just have a look and ask around for the best offer at the many guesthouses and hostels in and around Khao San Road. You don’t need to make a reservation for these places, just show up and start hunting. Still, midrange hotels such as the Rikka Inn, Rambrutti Village Inn, and the Sawasdee Khaosan Inn take reservations and often offer better rates for advance booking.

For more upscale accommodation with facilities such as a swimming pools and fitness centres, consider Royal Princess Larnlung, Prince Palace Bangkok Hotel, Buddy Lodge Hotel in Khao San, or Navalai River Resort on Phra Athit Road. Read More...

What to See in the Old City (Rattankosin)

The Old City is the historic centre of Bangkok. There are many spectacular attractions and plenty of things to do, including temples, monuments, galleries, museums, or markets. Give yourself a few hours to stroll around the area, preferably in the morning. Mark Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall at the Royal Plaza, Dusit as a starting point, from there you can a stroll along Ratchadumnoen Road and visit Democracy Monument, Wat Saket (the Temple of the Golden Mount), Wat Benjamaborphit (the marble temple), and end at the Royal Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew.

With more time, visit Wat Pho – Bangkok’s largest temple and famed for its huge and majestic reclining Buddha measured 46 metres long and covered in gold leaf. You can also take a ferry across the Choa Phaya River to the stunning Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), or explore the flower market located at the Memorial Bridge Pier. For a markedly different perspective, head to the famous Khao San Road. Read More...

Old City (Rattanakosin) Shopping

Because of the district’s holy status, shopping around this area is rather simple but pleasant. Tha Chang amulet market near the Royal Grand Palace is where locals come to inspect sacred amulets and to pick up traditional medicines. There are quite a few antique markets. Tha Prachan Pier Market is where you can shop for souvenirs for your family and friends back home. Creatively printed T-shirts, interior decorating items, and handmade postcards are available.

Bo Bae Market near Price Palace Bangkok Hotel is one of the biggest clothing wholesale venues in Bangkok (similar to Pratunam). Nighttime shoppers shouldn’t miss Suphan Phut Night Market near the Memorial Bridge and street shopping in Khao San where you can find just about everything any traveller would need. Cheap T-shirts, secondhand travel books and novels, hip wallets, wooden puppets, CDs and DVDs, silverwares, or fake student ID cards, souvenirs, pad thai, orange juice. You name it – they’ve got it. Read More...

 

Old City (Rattanakosin) Nightlife

The Old City offers a ‘same same but different’ nightlife experience such as found on Khao San. The area is, however, more laid back and relaxed with plenty of hip bars. Many students and backpackers here head to the sleepy little boulevards off Phra Athit, for live music and inexpensive drinks and food.

For partygoers who seek some loud music after dark, head to the popular Café Democ (Democracy Monument, Ratchadumnoen Road) and you will not be disappointed. For more vibrant and eclectic nightlife scene, the multicultural Khao San Road is the key. Read More...

Old City (Rattanakosin) Dining

Because of its wide swathe of international travellers, the Old City has a vast variety of places to eat. With lots of trees and a cool vibe, Phra Athit Road has plenty of cute cafes, bakeries, and easy-on-the-ear acoustic music. For travellers on budgets, Bang Lumphu has modestly priced hole-in-the-wall Thai restobars.

If you haven’t tired of pad Thai, one of the nation’s popular dishes, Thipsamai (313 Mahachai Road) is a good place to start. Riverside dining? Kim Lom Chop Saphan and In Love restaurants feature romantic and relaxing ambience with superb views overlooking the Choaphraya River and Rama III Bridge. Read More...

Best Hotel Offer in Old City (Rattanakosin)

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