Koh Rattanakosin or Rattanakosin Island
is the origin of Bangkok history, which shows an identity of Thai art as well as the history of setting up Rattanakosin city. The area is called island because it is surrounded by Chao Phraya River and the inner city moat. The area of Rattanakosin Island is about 414.2 hectares. In Koh Rattanakosin, there are variety of the historical sites like palaces, temples and other buildings, combining the western style with the early Rattanakosin style. This guide tour is developed to encourage both Thais and foreigners to have more understanding about the remaining historic elements in Rattanakosin Island.
The Marble Temple
was built in the King Rama V's reign. The interior of the main building is magnificently decorated with cross beams of lacquer and gold. A large collection of Bronze Buddhas lines the walls of the spacious inner courtyard. There are two marble Singhas in Khamer style, placed in front of the chapel.
Sao Ching Cha
as one of the landmarks of Bangkok, the Giant Swing has been standing in front of Wat Suthat for more than 200 years. It was created in 1784 to be used in the Brahmin Swing ceremony. The ceremony was proceeded every year from 1784 until it was revoked in 1933. But other Brahmin Ceremonies still remain and are performed at Brahmin shrines (no. 13) located nearby.
This temple was a small temple built in the late Ayutthaya period. The temple has become one of Royal monasteries since the First reign (1782-1809). During World War II in 1945,significant buildings and objects in the temple were damaged by airbombs. Later, the temple was reconstructed and become an important temple of Rattanakosin once again.
was built in Ayutthaya period (during 1688-1703). The common name is "Wat Po", a shortened word of its original name -Potharam. This temple has many interesting and beautiful monuments such as the reclining Buddha Image which is the second largest in Thailand. During early period of Rattanakosin,Wat Po was the center of many fields of academy including the famous Thai massage.
This temple was built in the Third reign (1824-1851) to celebrate the King's niece who became the first queen consort of King Rama IV. The outstanding monument of this temple is "Loha Prasart". Loha Prasart is a kind of pagoda substitution which was built to represent the teaching of Lord Buddha.
The Grand Palace
is one of Bangkok's most beautiful and frequently visited sights. This palace was built in 1782 in the reign of King Rama I. In one corner of this massive compound is the glittering Royal Chapel, known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The "Temple of the emerald Buddha" is the royal temple within the palacecomplex. It has a variety of buildings and frescos of the Ramakien (Thai Ramayana) around the outer walls. At present, the Grand Palace is used for important Royal and State functions. The City Pillar Shrine, placed opposite the Grand Palace, is a highly respected city landmark.
The first museum was introduced in Thailand in the Fourth reign (1851-1868). The King used two buildings in the Grand Palace to keep his private antique collections. But the first public museum was opened in 1874 (the Fifth reign)in the building namely "Sala Sahathai Samakom" located in the precinct of the Grand Palace. The museum was relocated in 1887 to the area of the Crown Prince after the Crown Prince appointment post was abolished. At present, many significant buildings in the former Crown Prince Palace are being used as national museum exhibition halls.
Phra Sumane Fort
Fort is a hexagonal-shaped concrete structure, topped with pointed roof. At the beginning of Rattanakosin (since 1782) there were 14 forts along the city limits (defined by The Chao Phraya River and Klong Robb Krung). Today, only 2 forts (Phra Sumane and Mahakan) remain. Phra Sumane fort was partly destructed during King Rama V-VII (1868-1934). The Fine Arts Department repaired and restored it in 1959 and recently in 1981. This fort was brought back to its original appearance which is understood by the old picture taken in the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910).
The Golden Mount
This temple is an old monastery which was first built before the rise of Rattanakosin. King Rama I redeveloped and improved the condition of the temple. The Golden Mount, one of the unique landmarks of Bangkok,is located within the area of this temple. The construction of the Golden Mount started in the Third reign (1826-1851) and completed in the Fourth reign (1851-1868) and the Fifth reign (1868-1910).With little effort, the Golden Mount can be walked up to the top. From the top of the mount, a golden pagoda is situated and this area is one of the best points to observe the panoramic view of the entire Rattanakosin area.
Equestrian Statue of King Rama V
We start with Equestrian Statue of King Rama V located in the center of the Dusit Palace ground. It was built to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of King Rama V's Accession to the throne. Behind the statue is the Anantasamakhom Palace. This palace was erected in 1908 by the King Rama V.
This monument was erected in 1939 to remind the revolution of the country administration from absolute monarchy to democracy (constitutional monarchy). Many elements of the monument imply events involved in the nation's administration and political change. For instance,the height of the four posts is 24 metres which means the date of the political change (24th of June 1932). The 75 cannons at the base means the year 2475 B.E. or 1932. At the base panel of the four posts, the relief of people involved in the revolution were created. The Democracy Monument is the symbolic structure that represents liberty and democracy in Thailand.
The Ministry of Defence
This huge building was built in 1882 and completed in 1884 on the land of former three palaces existed in the First reign (1782-1809). It was used as barrack and storehouse at the beginning and became the head office of Ministry of Defence later. The Roman pediment and six columns supporting the front balcony are very outstanding and representing power of the Army. The front garden is decorated with ancient cannon which also symbolize the power.