Rattanakosin, Bangkok’s historic neighborhood, is located on the Chao Phraya river in the Phra Nakhon district, centered on the Grand Palace.
The location is also known as Rattanakosin island since it is an artificial island surrounded by the Chao Phraya river to the west and canals to the north, east, and south. Thailand’s most iconic landmarks in this neighborhood are the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, and Wat Pho.
Bangkok is thought to have been founded in the 14th or 15th centuries. Because of its strategic location on the Chao Phraya River and the Gulf of Thailand, the little town grew in importance throughout the centuries.
Thonburi is designated as the new capital.
After the fall of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767, Taksin the Great transferred the capital to Thonburi on the West bank of the Chao Phraya river, where he erected a Palace and the Wat Arun, “The temple of Dawn.”
Bangkok was designated as the new capital in 1782.
Following Taksin’s brief reign, King Rama I relocated the capital across the river. In 1782, he founded Bangkok as Siam’s new capital on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River.
He created a series of canals to safeguard the town from Burmese invasion, resulting in Rattanakosin island. The channels to the east, north, and south created a moat. Fortifications were built around the island, the most notable of which are Mahakan fort and Phra Sumen fort.
Building of the Grand Palace
The King built the Grand Palace and the Wat Phra Kaew temple, which house Thailand’s most precious Buddha image, the Emerald Buddha. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the Palace functioned as the Royal Family’s residence. Sanam Luang, the historic Royal field opposite the Palace, was where Royal festivities and celebrations were.
Historic sites of Rattanakosin island
The Rattanakosin neighborhood is home to the Grand Palace as well as some of the country’s oldest and most famous Buddhist temples, including the Wat Phra Kaew (“Temple of the Emerald Buddha”) and the Wat Mahathat, a significant and historic Royal temple that predates Bangkok as Siam’s capital. The Wat Mahathat is home to the country’s first Buddhist university.
The Wat Pho, or “Temple of the Reclining Buddha,” is Bangkok’s oldest and largest temple. It houses a gold-plated reclining Buddha picture 46 meters long. The temple is also recognized as “The birthplace of Thai massage.”
Wat Suthat, Wat Saket (“Golden Mount”), Wat Bowonniwet, and Wat Ratchanadda (“Metal Castle”) are also prominent temples in Rattanakosin.
How to Get Around in Rattanakosin
Taxis, tuk-tuks, MRT subways, and riverboats are the most convenient modes of transportation.
The Rattanakosin region does not have a BTS Sky train station.
Taxis and tuk-tuks
A tuk-tuk ride is a fun way to travel short distances. They are not ideal for a long drive in downtown Bangkok due to traffic exhaust fumes and heat.
Taxis are ubiquitous and inexpensive in Bangkok. Flag down a metered taxi and make sure the meter is turned on.
The Grand Palace and Wat Pho are within walking distance of the MRT metro station Sanam Chai on the Blue Line.