Bangkok’s Old City: Escape the Metropolitan Rush and Sample Some of the Best Street Food

Bangkok is a metropolitan city with all that it entails; high-rise buildings, Skytrains, traffic jams, pollution, and noise. Thankfully, you can escape all that and go to the charming Old City (Rattanakosin) where it feels like the time has stood still. This old district is home the most incredible temples such as Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew (the Grand Palace) with the lovely Chinatown connected just southeast and the world-famous Khaosan Road to the north. The Old City is also home to some of the best street food vendors in Bangkok.

Maharat Road with charming old buildings and the impressive Wat Pho in the center.

Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is a temple complex housing the largest collection of Buddha statues in Thailand with the massive reclining Buddha as the big attraction. Existed before Bangkok was established, Wat Pho is one of Bangkok’s oldest temple. It’s also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

A monk buying fresh fruits from a street vendor on Maharat Road near Wat Pho.

Wat Arun by the majestic Chao Phraya River.

About 500 meters in a straight line from Wat Pho, on the other side of the Chao Phraya River, stands the stunning Wat Arun also known as the Temple of Dawn. The 70-meters high temple, which derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, is lit at night when not under renovation as in the picture above.

People queuing for some amazing Pad Thai at Thip Samai.

Maha Chai Road in the eastern part of the Old City is a great place to sample some of the best street food in Bangkok like Pad Thai Thip Samai and Raan Jay Fai with a Michelin Star. This road is also home to the fantastic Wat Ratchanadda complex housing Loha Prasat, also known as the “Metal Castle.”

Jay Fai wearing her iconic ski goggles as protection from the hot oil.

The 72-year old Jay Fai was rewarded a Michelin Star in the Bangkok Michelin Guide 2018 as the only street food eatery. Famous for her drunken noodles and crab omelet, people are queuing for hours despite the hefty prices.

The most important temple in Thailand; Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

From street food back to the amazing temples. Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is situated within the complex of the Grand Palace and is the most important temple in Thailand. It’s also one of the most popular tourist attractions, so if you want to avoid the crowds, this is not the place.

The beautiful Grand Palace in Bangkok.

The Grand Palace is an architectural wonder mixing Thai and European style that was home to the kings and government of Thailand (the Chakri dynasty) between 1782 and 1925. The whole complex of more than 100 buildings is just bloody impressive!

Lovely atmosphere at Yaowarat Road.

A visit to Bangkok’s older parts should also include Chinatown. This vibrant district with market stalls, street-side restaurants, and gold shops has been a center of Chinese settlement since 1782 and is one of the largest Chinatowns in the world! The 1-km long strip with neon signs in Chinese, tuk-tuks and wooden buildings provides some great photo opportunities.

Other things

The Old City boasts some interesting museums like Museum of Siam and Bangkok National Museum. The famous 24-hour flower market called Pak Khlong Talat is also located here and like mentioned before, the famous Khaosan Road — described in Alex Garland’s The Beach as “the center of the backpacking universe” — is a 400 meter long street packed with cheap to reasonably priced hotels and guesthouses, restaurants, bars, market stalls and shops.

→ Recommend hotel: Sala Arun
→ Recommend restaurant: Supanniga Eating Room


4 thoughts on “Bangkok’s Old City: Escape the Metropolitan Rush and Sample Some of the Best Street Food

  1. Fredrik Jacobsson November 5, 2018 / 9:43 am

    Håller med om det som skrivs; du har fått med det viktigaste.

    Om något så saknar jag kanske ett tips om att ta någon av båtarna (förslagsvis Orange linje) längs med Chao Praya. Hoppa av och på längst med turen var både kul och billigt. Undviker man bara själva turistfällorna i anknytning till bryggorna så får uppleva en mix av gammalt och nytt, rikt som fattigt. Munkar som vandrar längst med gatorna och tar en runda in om 7-eleven för att handla en flaska vatten.

    Sedan kanske man skulle kunna nämna en lite trist sak, som dock blir högst påtaglig ifall man vistats större delen av tiden “down town”. Kollektivtrafiken är inte lika väl utbyggd här. Stadsdelen är inte anknuten till vare sig skytrain eller tunnelbanan. På gott och ont finns det dock andra alternativ; båt, Tuck-Tuck, lokalbuss eller till fots.

    • Anders November 5, 2018 / 11:10 am

      Absolut, en båttripp längs Chao Phraya River borde nämnas i texten. Uppdaterar nog inom kort. Tack för kommentar.

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