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22 Walks In Bangkok Exploring The City’s Historic Back Lanes And Byways

November 22, 2013 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

Bangkok is not an easy city to understand. At first sight an almost endless urban sprawl, the city perplexes visitors who had arrived with vague notions of Eastern mystique, the almost indefinable exoticism that is conjured up by the name “Bangkok”.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 2.28.49 PMSuch a place does exist, however, for the old city grew from a series of villages and districts, temples and palaces, canals and markets, and most of these remain today. With little in the way of easily accessible written information, it remains difficult to discover these old districts, and to understand their significance. Much is to be found hidden down small lanes and byways that give no indication as to where they lead.

22 Walks in Bangkok takes the reader on foot through these ancient districts, explaining how they evolved and pointing out the landmarks. The walks begin in the district of Thonburi, the original settlement, following the path of the canals, exploring the old harbour district, visiting the temples, shrines, mosques and churches, and discovering small communities founded by craftsmen, traders and prisoners of war.

Thonburi lasted for only 15 years before Bangkok was founded as the capital on the opposite bank of the Chao Phraya River. The walks continue here, beginning from the Grand Palace and the moat that surrounds it, and then venturing into other districts in a way designed to reveal how the city has grown. Chinatown, the European district, the royal district of Dusit, villages founded by Khmer and Vietnamese Christians, the Indian quarter, and the areas created around royal palaces, temples, the dockyards, the railway terminus, and the tramlines. The walks end at the railway line that forms a defining boundary on the eastern edge of the city, beyond which modern development has created a different kind of Bangkok.

Author Kenneth Barrett is a journalist, editor and photographer who has known Bangkok for more than 30 years, and who for much of that time has been a resident of the city. He has also lived in Singapore and Hong Kong. Specialising at various times in travel, consumer, business and industry writing, he has been on assignment to over 60 countries, predominantly in Asia but also in the Middle East, Europe and South America.

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