Ko Ratanakosin is the Ratanakosin Island which rests in a bend of the river in the middle of Bangkok and contains some of the city's most celebrated architecture and esteemed universities. It consists of the Ratanakosin temples and the river walking tour.
This walk begins at Tha Tien, a pier on the Chao Phraya River Express route. From the pier walk out to the main road, a right turns takes to Tha Maharat, then left onto Tha Chetuphon and enter Wat Pho through the second portico. Officially named Wat Phra Chetuphon, this is Bangkok's oldest temple and is famous for its reclining Buddha and massage school, the oldest in Thailand. The temple's affiliated massage school is located outside of the grounds in a small lane.
Through the same portico, on the left, there is the Sanamchai and on a left turn following the street there is the fortress-like wall of the Grand Palace. At the intersection of Th Ratchadamnoen Nai and Th Lak Meuang, opposite the southern end of San am Luang, there is the Lak Meuang. By tradition, every city in Thailand must have a foundation stone that embodies the city spirit and from which intercity distances are measured. This is Bangkok's most important site of animistic worship.
From Lak Meuang, Th Na Phra Lan follows towards the river and the entrance to the famed Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. The Grand Palace has been supplanted by Chitlada Palace as the primary residence of the royal family, but it is still used for ceremonial occasions. Wat Phra Kaew is a gleaming example of Bangkok temple architecture.
The exit is via the same doorway and a turn left towards the river again. On the right-hand side there is the entrance to Silpakorn University, Thailand's premier university for fine arts studies. Originally founded as the School of Fine Arts, by Italian artist Corrado Feroci, the university campus includes part of an old palace built for Rama I. A small bookshop inside the gate, and to the left, sells English-language books on Thai art.
A turn right will take to Th Maharat and this is followed by Th Phra Chan, near Thammasat University, known for its law and political science faculties; it was also the site of the bloody October 1976 demonstrations, when hundreds of Thai students were killed or wounded by the military.
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