Landmarks Walk in Bangkok (Self Guided), Bangkok

Before modern times, Thai sculptors focused exclusively on creating images of Buddha, leading to Thailand being one of the world's best locations for Buddhist art. By the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century, Western fashions had begun to influence classical Thai art forms, particularly architecture and sculpture. Take our tour to see the top landmarks of the Thai capital.
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Landmarks Walk in Bangkok Map

Guide Name: Landmarks Walk in Bangkok
Guide Location: Thailand » Bangkok (See other walking tours in Bangkok)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.0 km
Author: valery
Chinatown Gate

1) Chinatown Gate (must see)

The history of Bangkok's Chinese community dates back to the time when a group of Chinese traders resided at the land where the grand palace stands today. Chinatown is a lively district in Bangkok that runs along Yaowarat Road from Odeon Circle, where a huge ceremonial Chinese gate distinctly marks the entrance, up to the Ong Ang Canal which marks the outer boundaries of the royal district. Chinatown is a place which can easily be explored on foot. It is one of the best places to buy gold as Yaowarat Road is all lined with many gold shops.

Built in 1999 as part of the celebrations of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 72's birthday, Chinatown Gate is often called Odean Gate after the Odean cinema which used to stand nearby. The words on the gate say "Sheng Shou Wu Jiang" which means "Long Live the King". During Chinese New Year celebrations the gate becomes the center of activities where people come to make their offerings.

Chinatown Gate is the entrance to many sites, a brief description of which is given below:

Wat Traimit, a small temple, is home to the world's largest five-ton-plus solid gold Buddha image. Tien Fa Charity is a small charity and clinic run by the Tien Fa Charitable Foundation. Sampaeng Lane, Chinatown's original main street, is now a small narrow alley. Crowded with shops selling mostly inexpensive household items and a very old Chinese pharmacy, this is definitely worth a look. Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is the Chinese-Buddhist temple which becomes the center of festivities during important festivals such as Chinese New Year and the vegetarian festival. Wat Kanikaphon, founded by a former Madame who owned a brothel, is a small temple with some interesting details. Li Thi Miew Temple is one of the more open and accessible of many Chinese temples in Chinatown. Wat Chakrawat is one of the three biggest monasteries in Bangkok that houses some very unusual buildings as well as a few crocodiles! Phahurat Market is home to a large number of fabric and wedding stalls. It is really a small community center for Sikhs and other immigrants from the subcontinent. The Old Siam is a shopping center where you will find tourist-friendly western and Thai restaurants and fast food outlets.

In short, Chinatown Gate gives you the visa to enter into a whole new world to explore and enjoy!

Plan ahead so you can visit the top spots and leave room in your stomach for the unexpected – but be sure to eat where the locals are queuing.
This is a great place to find good bargains, from fabrics to dry goods, to teas and fish.
Bring small bills and an umbrella, as heavy rains can catch you off guard.
Memorial Bridge

2) Memorial Bridge

The Memorial Bridge connects the Phra Nakhon and Thonburi areas. Construction started in December 1929 and the bridge opened on April 6 1932, marking 150 years of the Chakri Dynasty. The bridge is usually known as Memorial Bridge, although locals also call it Phra Phutta Yodfa Bridge after the emperor of the Chakri Dynasty.
King Rama I

3) King Rama I

This large memorial was erected along with the nearby Memorial Bridge to celebrate 150 years of the Chakri Dynasty, an era which is commemorated to this day. Designed by Prince Naris, architect Silpa Bhirasri engraved it in bronze. King Rama I, who is also known as King Puttayodfa, was the first emperor of the Chakri dynasty. Born in March 1736, he ruled Thailand until April 1782.
October 14 Memorial

4) October 14 Memorial

On October 14, 1973, one of the biggest and most dishonorable demonstrations ever to have happened in Thai history took place in Bangkok when half a million people gathered at the Democracy Monument to demand an end to the autocratic regime of the so-called "Three Tyrants". They were protesting against the arrest of political campaigners and continuing military dictatorship. Military and police attacked this student-led protest killing hundreds of protestors. Ultimately the regime was toppled and Thailand became a constitutional monarchy.

In the sad memory of those who died on that gloomy day, a monument known as October 14 Memorial was erected not far from the Democracy Monument. The memorial is in the form of a conical structure rising from a rectangular pedestal. It is a small granite amphitheatre encircling an elegant modern dome-shaped Buddhist shrine bearing the names of some of the dead. Photographs and a narration of the ten-day protest are written on the back wall.

A museum is also constructed as an extension of the 14 October 1973 Memorial. Photos of the October revolution are on display behind the memorial. These photos are a thrilling record of the riotous days in October 1973 showing thousands of protestors gathering at the Democracy Monument, the brutal military response, demonstrators running for their lives and jumping into canals, the bravery and boldness as some fought back using buses to block tanks and the catastrophic result. 

The 14 October 1973 Memorial serves as a harsh memento of a bleak period in Thai political history. Every year on 14 October, services are held at the memorial to commemorate the occasion and the sacrifices of those brave young men and women who stood up and achieved democracy at the price of their blood, flesh and lives.
Democracy Monument

5) Democracy Monument

The Democracy Monument was built in 1939 to commemorate the 1932 coup that changed the face of Thai politics forever. The 150-year-old absolute monarchy came to an end and Thailand changed to a constitutional government. Corrado Feroci, an Italian immigrant invited to Thailand by King Rama VI to develop a Western-style art tradition, designed the Monument in 1924. He stayed in Thailand, became a Thai citizen changing his name to Silpa Bhirasri. The monument has four curved columns arching inwards. Each column stands 24 m high to signify the 24th of June, date of the revolution. The winged-shaped columns signify freedom and rights of the people. The original 1932 constitution is housed in a pedestal at the center. The six swords on each door represent the six major policies of the Peoples' Party. The Democracy Monument has been an important place for democracy movements and demonstrations throughout Thai political history. In October 1973, a massive public protest against the military dictatorship of Field Marshall Thanom Kittikachorn took place here to demand the release of 13 students arrested by the military. In May 1992 further bloodshed took place at the Democracy Monument and Ratchadamnoen Avenue when demonstrators rallied against General Suchinda’s regime and military attacked the protestors again. Known as Black May 1992, that day witnessed another tragedy being added to the Thai political history after which General Suchinda left his office. In the two decades between 1973 and 1992, the area around the Democracy Monument saw three major upheavals resulting in a bloodshed. Today, the Monument symbolizes hope that there would be no more bloodshed to be witnessed.
King Rama V Statue

6) King Rama V Statue

King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V, one of the most legendary figures in the history of Thailand's monarchy, was a generous king. He eradicated various social evils including slavery from the Thai kingdom. Because of his friendly manners, he established amiable relations with the European royalty and other neighboring countries. During his rule of 42 years, he played a revolutionary role in paving the way for a modernized Thailand.

A living memory of this great king is present in Bangkok in the form of his equestrian monument near the Dusit Palace. The monument depicts King Rama V riding an elegant stallion standing high on a pedestal. In fact, it was the first statue built in honor of any Thai king. Sculpted in bronze and erected to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the coronation of the King, the statue was cast in Paris and was completed in 1908. Public raised a huge fund worth a million baht for the establishment of the monument. King Rama V inaugurated the monument himself. Just two years after that, the king died quite tragically in October 1910. People celebrate his death anniversary even today and gather near the statue to show their gratitude towards their former monarch. After his death, his son King Rama IV established Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, in honor of his father, with the remaining funds.

Many Thai people consider the statue of Rama V as an object of worship. On Tuesday, the day when the king was born, the whole place was full of devotees who visit the statue for good luck and prosperity. According to them, those who seek their blessings from the King get their prayers answered in the form of good fortune, especially in business. Many people visit the statue daily to pay their obeisance to the king and to light candles and incense sticks at the site. Followers also present brandy to the king.

Thais deeply respect this monument and can be seen praying and paying homage to the great king all the year round.
Chitraladarahotarn Palace

7) Chitraladarahotarn Palace

This striking palace is situated on the Rama V Road in Dusit. Around the building you'll notice some eye-catching man-made lakes enveloped by walls. Every corner has a fountain decorated with baroque stylings drawn from legends, a reflection of the refined taste of Thailand's leaders. Nowadays it's not just a palace but is also home to an agricultural study station and even some farms and factories.

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