Ratanakosin Walking Tour - Part III

Ministry of Defense
The Ministry of Defense headquarters with its collection of cannons -- aimed at the Grand Palace.

Further up the street is the Ministry of Defense building. Arranged on the front lawn of the building is a collection of cannons from Thai history. Its curious to note, as more than one guidebook does, that most of the cannons are aimed at the Grand Palace.

Next to the Ministry of Defense is Bangkok's City Pillar shrine. The pillar was driven into the ground on the auspiscious time and date of 6:45 a.m. on the 21st of April in 1782, the official date of Bangkok's founding.

Across the street from the City Pillar is the large open space of Sanam Luang. These parade grounds are the site of many important ceremonies and celebrations. Between late February and April, the grounds are also the main place to see traditional Thai kite fights.

Cross Sanam Luang, at about the mid-point along the side, a shady street (Prachan Road) leads away from the park beside Wat Mahathat. On most days, the street is lined with amulet sellers offering special protection to those that need it. The street turns left to parallel the river and becomes Mahathat Road. The entrance to Wat Mahathat is a short way down this street.

Founded in the 18th century, the temple pre-dates the founding of Bangkok, but was considerably altered after one of its monks, the young Prince Mongkut, later became King Rama IV of Thailand.

After exiting the temple, continuing on down the road will bring you to Chang Pier, where you can catch the Chaophraya Tourist Boat.


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