Explore Bangkok’s Old Town (Rattanakosin)

Old Town is a historic district situated at heart of Bangkok and boasting some of the most breathtaking attractions in the city. It is also known as Rattanakosin island since the area is bordered by the Chao Phraya River to the west, with canals to the North, East and South.

This district is the cultural and historical center of Bangkok where you can find many of the famous temples as well as The Grand palace. Below you will find many of the popular attractions in Bangkok’s Old Town to visit on your next vacation.

Historic Sites

Following are some of the most stunning and important historical sites in Bangkok’s Old Town.

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is a vast building complex dating back to the 18th century. The site has been the official residence of the kings of Thailand since 1782 and used to house the Royal court and the administrative seat of government. A visit to the Grand Palace features on many tourists’ “must-see” lists as one of the best architectural and spiritual treasures of Thailand. The Grand Palace is open for visitors every day from 8:30 to 15:30.

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew, located within the grounds of the Grand Palace, is one of the most important Buddhist temples in the Kingdom. It was built specifically to house one of Thailand’s most important Buddha statues, Phra Kaew Morakot (the Emerald Buddha) which has been meticulously carved out of a single piece of jade. The temple is open to the public daily, except when used in religious ceremonies.

Wat Pho

Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, can be found right behind the Emerald Temple. This is one of the oldest and most visited temples in Bangkok. The highlight is the world-famous gigantic Reclining Buddha built by King Rama III in 1832.

Wat Saket

Wat Saket, also known as the Golden Mount, is a revered pilgrimage site and one of the most popular temples in Bangkok. This beautiful golden temple is decorated with colorful lanterns and vibrant flags. A 318-step climb takes you to top of the chedi where you are rewarded with panoramic views over Bangkok.

Wat Arun

Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun was built during the Ayutthaya period. This is a missile-shaped temple that looks incredibly gorgeous when lit up at night. It is one of the most iconic Bangkok landmarks and can be easily observed from any of the tour boats that cruise up and down the river.

Other attractions

Bangkok’s Old Town is famous for its temples and shrines, but there are many other fun places. Following are some of the other attractions in Bangkok Old Town.

Ong Ang Walking Street

This is a relatively new weekend market along the Ong Ang canal, open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 16:00 to 22:00. The canal has been cleaned up and the sidewalks transformed into a pleasant pedestrian street with street art, live performers, food stalls and many other things along the way. Ong Ang Walking Street is conveniently located just 5 minutes’ walk from Sam Yot MRT station.  

Also read: Highlights of Bangkok

Pak Khlong Talat flower market

Pak Khlong Talat is Bangkok’s biggest wholesale and retail flower market and one of the biggest orchid flower markets in the world. It’s a busy market that can feel somewhat chaotic with just about every type of exotic flower available in various colours. The market is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, and is usually busiest around midnight and early morning when fresh flower deliveries arrive. It is located close to the Memorial Bridge, about 10-minute walk from Wat Pho.


Hop on a tourist or commuter boat and get off at Ratchawong pier to find one of the biggest and most authentic Chinatowns in the world. Find the perfect bargain from the market stalls and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of this bustling and often chaotic part of the city. In the evening, the narrow alleyways are packed with street-food stalls and open-air restaurants. Try Hong Kong style noodles, roasted duck, oyster omelet or a bird’s nest soup. Bangkok’s Chinatown is simply a haven for street-food lovers!

Bangkok Old Town e-scooter tour

Bangkok is a hot city and walking around all day can be exhausting. Consider joining a Bangkok Old Town e-scooter tour and zip around many interesting landmarks in just a few hours. Not only are electric scooters easy to ride, but a great way to get off the beaten path and interact directly with local life.


Khao San Road, Bangkok’s famous backpacker area, is back in business after almost two years of Covid-19 related closures. It’s not as busy as it was pre-Covid but as tourists have started to return, so have most of the street vendors and shops. It’s mostly quiet during the day but a good option for cheap drinks and street food in the evening.