Bangkok Old Town – Things to Do in Rattanakosin

The Old City in Bangkok or Rattanakosin is home to a glittering array of temples, palaces and ancient architecture, representing the cultural and historical centre of the city. For anyone interested in the history and origins of this bustling city, a visit to the wide, tree-lined avenues of the Old City is a must.

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Rattanakosin Island was a walled city in Bangkok within the Chao Phraya River and its various canals more than 200 years ago. It is now a bustling district with historic landmarks, Temples, museums, and restaurants serving traditional Thai cuisine. Take the subway to Museum Siam and spend the weekend there. Get a Thai massage at the massage school at Wat Pho after a nice meal at Old Town Café Bangkok.

Visit Museum Siam

While the Museum of Siam is housed in a vast neoclassical mansion, it is not the typical display of ancient artefacts and dusty mannequins that one would expect to find in such a historic structure.

Museum Siam Picture

The first sign you will see is a giant bronze ‘ribbon’ coiling and looping in the front garden. Wooden stairwells, ceramic tiles, and old-fashioned columns mix with fiercely modern art and cutting-edge technology in the reception area. Everywhere you look, the two aspects coexist in perfect harmony, as designers take every opportunity to defy your preconceived notions of what a museum should be like. If you are into museums do not our article on the best museums in Bangkok

Take a look at Thammasat University, Thailand’s second-oldest university

Thammasat is Thailand’s second-oldest university, founded on June 27, 1934, by respected statesman and politician Pridi Banomyong to instill legal and political knowledge in Thais in the aftermath of the Siamese Revolution. Its city campus, dubbed Tha Prachan by locals, is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, on the grounds of the ancient Front Palace. Law, economics, political science, and mass communication are among Thammasat’s most well-known programs.

Thammsat University Building

Tonchabab Record Shop has a lot of unique items

Sua, the owner of Ton Chabab, reveals his passion for vinyl records through his music collection. Thousands of original albums from a variety of genres are available in the shop, which he has been collecting for over 30 years. You can either ask for your favourite artist or spend your time looking for the ones you like.

Tonchabab Vinyl Shop

At Tang Hua Seng, take a trip back in time

Tang Hua Seng, a department store in Banglumphu (just near the Old Town), is a one-stop shop for creative and DIY projects. Various zones sell various types of cloth, rope, and thread, as well as imported goods from Japan. (It’s almost like a little version of Sampeng Market.) It’s ideal for those interested in making their own gowns or gifts.

Saranrom Park

It is a pretty tiny park just a few minutes’ walk from the Grand Palace. The park was once the grounds of King Rama IV’s palace, and much of his design has been preserved. In between surrounding temples, this is a wonderful area to cool off.

Saranrom Garden Picture

Wat Suthat

It is a huge Buddhist temple within walking distance from the Grand Palace that is less busy than the other temples in the vicinity. The Giant Swing, a massive swing originally intended for use in ceremonies but now partially dismantled, is located across the street from the temple grounds.

Wat Suthat Bangkok

 Where to eat in Rattanakosin – Restaurants

Krua Khun Kung

The restaurant provides a significantly more authentic riverbank eating experience than the other riverfront eateries in Rattanakosin. This seafood restaurant, located inside the Navy Club Building, offers a variety of typical Thai cuisine as well as a great view of the Chao Phraya River.

Krisa Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop, located directly across the Grand Palace, is a convenient café that is a perfect spot to stop for lunch in between temple visits in Rattanakosin. All of the typical Thai foods are available on the menu at moderate price.


Bangkok’s Old Town Cafe

A short distance from the Grand Palace, Old Town Café Bangkok delivers delicious sandwiches, croissants, and coffee. Between temples and museums, this is one of the greatest café in Rattanakosin for a coffee and lunch break.

Bangkok Old Town

Where to sleep – Rattanakosin’s Best Luxury Hotels

Sala Rattanakosin

It is an opulent 412-star hotel with spectacular views of Wat Arun. Sala Rattanakosin offers both relaxation and convenience thanks to its quiet and peaceful location near the Chao Phraya River and close proximity to Rattanakosin’s best temples and cultural attractions.

Riva Surya Bangkok Hotel

This hotel is conveniently located on Phra Athit Road and offers spacious, modern, and luxury accommodations just a few steps away from some of the city’s top restaurants, cafes, and bars.

riva surya Hotel

How to Get to Rattanakosin

Take the River Boat

The Chao Phraya River provides access to the majority of Rattanakosin’s attractions. Tha Chang Pier (N9) is a short walk from the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, while Phra Athit Pier is close to nightlife and the most famous restaurants and cafes in the neighbourhood (N13).

At Sathorn Pier, the Chao Phraya Express Boat links the BTS Skytrain, which stops at all of Rattanakosin’s piers (CEN).


Although Rattanakosin does not have its own BTS there is the sanam Chai MRT newly built station or using the BTS to Phaya Thai or National Stadium and hiring a cab is often faster than taking the river boat.

To explore Rattanakosin Island you can consider to take our e-scooter tour in Bangkok Old Town

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