Ratanakosin Walking Tour

This walking tour is designed to take you through some of these other sights. You can combine this tour with a visit to Wat Po or the Grand Palace, but either one of those can be a half-day trip in itself, so it might be a little too much to do in one go.

To start, take the Chaophraya Tourist Boat to the Thien Pier. If you'd rather not take the boat, you can take a taxi or public bus to Wat Po. In either case walk east (away from the river) to the large intersection. Cross the street to Saranrom Park.

The park was originally part of a palace. It was built by Rama IV in 1866. He planned to use it after he abdicated but he died before it was completed. Rama V gave the palace to his sons, including the crown prince, who stayed there before becoming king. The basic layout of the park today is as it was designed by Rama IV.

Exit the park on the east side, and you'll be facing Lord Canal. Crossing the canal will bring you to Wat Ratchabophit. The temple's unique design has the large wiharn and ubosot linked by a circular courtyard. In most Thai temples, the ubosot sits on its own in a square courtyard. In the center of Wat Ratchabophit's courtyard, between the ubosot and the wiharn, is a large guilded chedi containing a seated Lopburi-style Buddha image.

The pig
The Golden Pig statue.

After visiting the temple, if you re-cross the canal using the footbridge at the north end of the temple, you'll find on the opposite side a gilded statue of a pig. The story is that the footbridge was built by one of the wives of King Rama V. For many years the bridge had no name, but since the lady was born in the year of the pig, the bridge became known by that name. The statue was erected later in her honor.

Cross the street next to the Golden Pig, and take the next side street just a short distance further north. On the left side of the street is Wat Ratchapradit. This small crowded temple was started by Rama IV. The temple is finished mostly in small grey marble tiles laid out to form a sort of checkerboard pattern. One of the most interesting features are two prangs in the style of Angkor Thom in Cambodia.


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