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posted by The Bangkok Consultant
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This is without a doubt one of your most must-see places to visit in Bangkok, where some of the city's most famous sights are located. Rattanakosin is technically an island situated right in the S-bend of the Chao Phraya River. This area of the city is considered, countrywide, to be the spiritual centre of Thailand with hundreds of years of history to be explored.
The Grand Palace is the main draw, but there are also several famous temples located around Rattanakosin, so expect to spend the best part of the day there if you want to get around the entire area in one day.
The heat from the sun can get pretty fierce without the protection of the hi-rise office buildings and hotels, offering shade, so be sure to wear a hat and take plenty of water. You may want to try and negotiate with a tuk-tuk driver to take you around.
The area of Rattanakosin is about 1.5km from north to south starting at the National Gallery to the north and the Museum of Siam in the south. The National Museum is particularly worth a visit. If you are only in Bangkok for a short stay, the most noteworthy of temples are Wat Po (containing the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), but they are all worth a look if you have time.
A short hop across the river to Thonburi offers its own wonders. Another impressive temple is Wat Arun and is the main draw, but there is a Royal Barge museum that houses the intricately decorated barges that are used during the annual barge procession, which has been taking place for nearly 700 years, that sail up the Chao Phraya River in November.
The Siriraj Museum is a rather peculiar place of dead bodies and pickled babies (be warned). It can be difficult to find but just ask, and most people will direct you where to go.
Other temples in Thonburi are Wat Rakhang and Wat Prayoon. The area of Thonburi is mostly navigated via canal, so you might find it easier to boat hop to your destinations.