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Bangkok with Elle

A walking journey to discover Bangkok in ways we may not have expected.

Episode 1: Exploring the Canal

words By
photography By

The Klong (canal) Lod is a small canal that flows into the Chao Phraya River. In the past, this canal was an important trading place and a historical canal of Bangkok. Along the canal, there are various forms of art, which can be seen in the architecture and unique designs of each bridge. Moreover, there are also walkways alongside the canal for us to enjoy the breeze, watch the sunrise or sunset and the atmosphere of the old town. Don't forget to visit important landmarks along the way.

While walking along the canal, you will experience this atmosphere.

You can start walking from this point. You will see the sign for the “Khlong Khumueang Doem” telling the history of the canal at the wing bridge on Ratchini Road.

Saphan (bridge) Pi Kun

This pedestrian bridge was constructed by Her Majesty Queen Saovabha Phongsri during the reign of King Rama V in the year 1911 to celebrate the 48th anniversary of the queen's birth. At the time of construction, the bridge had no official name until a nearby monument was built and it was called "Pi Kun Bridge" or "Year of the Pig Bridge". The bridge is decorated with concrete columns and balustrades on both sides of the bridge, totaling four, representing the candles. The bridge also features a semi-circular staircase for pedestrians.

The candles.

The Pig Memorial celebrating the birth year of Her Majesty Queen Saovabha Phongsri. The statue represents the Chinese zodiac which is also shared by 3 high ranking officials who erected this monument: Prince Narissaranuwattiwong, Praya Pipat Kosa and Praya Raja Songkram. Significantly, this memorial is the only monument related to the royal family which is  built in the shape of an animal, in this case a pig from the Chinese zodiac.

Chang Rong Si bridge

It is considered an outstanding architecture and a landmark that people in the area know about. When this bridge is found, it is in the area between Sampraeng and Phra Nakhon neighborhoods. The distinctive feature of the bridge is the dog head sculptures. According to history, this bridge was built in 2453 (1910 AD), and it is also known as "Chang Rongsi" because people speculate that an elephant used to cross the bridge and was tied up near the bridge. The bridge is beautifully decorated with ornate brick patterns and rope designs along the railing throughout the bridge. The four corners of the bridge are also adorned with dog head sculptures made of plaster.

Saphan Hok

"Holland-style bridge".

Established during the reign of King Rama V, also known as King Chulalongkorn, the bridge is known as a bridge adapted from a canal bridge in the Netherlands. It is called the Saphan Hok, a "Holland-style bridge", with "Hok" also meaning “turn over” in Thai. This is one of the first movable bridges in the capital of Thailand. After the original bridge was destroyed, it was rebuilt in the same design but as a wooden pedestrian bridge.

Trok (alley) Khrut (Garuda)

Nearby the area, after we pass Sapan Hok, we will come across Krut Alley. Turning right from the main street, we can visit the shrine of Garuda deity who is famous for blessings related to work, finances, prosperity, gold, happiness, and to enhance our luck and spirituality in life.

If you walk continuously for about 3-4 minutes, you will arrive at Wat Buranasiri Mattayaram.

Wat Buranasiri Mattayaram

This is a well-known Buddhist temple for its beautiful architecture, including a large golden stupa surrounded by smaller stupas and sculptures. The temple also serves as a center for Buddhist education and meditation, with classes and training in topics such as meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhist philosophy. It is a popular cultural destination for tourists and locals.

If we continue walking along the canal a little further, we will come across the National Museum Bangkok.

National Museum Bangkok

This is an important museum in Thailand that exhibits numerous antiquities and artworks from the prehistoric era to the present day. It is located in the area of the old royal palace and features various exhibitions about ancient Buddhist art, traditional Thai fabrics, royal regalia, and South East Asian ancient civilisations.  In addition, it also holds rotating international exhibitions. The National Museum is a must-see destination for those interested in Thai history and culture.

It's a great place for a leisurely walk in the shade during the cooler parts of the day. We've discovered a rich cultural heritage, artworks from throughout history, and the architectural legacy.

Some decades ago, this area used to be a center for the musical instrument market. Over time, these businesses have transformed to reflect changing times, but we can still explore the buildings that retain the Western architectural influences of their past and that continue to inspire contemporary design.

More info on the Pig Memorial

More info on the National Museum

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