One of the best ways to explore a city is on foot. This walking tour through the old town of Bangkok takes you along beautiful sights and cultural spots. It is based on a walk my friend Martin Cowling planned out for one of our walks. Thank you, Martin, for introducing me to these interesting places and all the background information you offered during this walk.
This walk is about 6 km and takes about 2 hours – depending on your walking speed and length of breaks. I have also marked this walk and the major sights and locations in a map which you find at the end of this article.
Start your walk at Sam Yot MTR station and walk towards Rommaninat Park. We also explored the small alleys of the area. It is always a surprise what you will find there.
Rommaninat Park has a very special story, because it used to be the Khlong Prem Prison. If you pay attention to the architecture, the past of this park becomes very clear.
I cannot really describe the vibe of the park – it is a gorgeous park with cute little places, locals meeting for their runs but at the same time the past of a prison is lingering over the park.
Walk out of the part and walk towards Khlong Ong Ang. Again, we ventured into the small alleys around the area.
A canal runs through this park as well.
You may suddenly find yourself in a side alley with random car dealerships…
…or on a busy road with architecture taking you back to the 70s.
When you reach the canal, walk along the canal towards Chao Praya River.
I love to explore residential areas and see how locals live. Always make sure to be respectful and never underestimate the power of a smile or a greeting with “Sawasdee kha” (Hello in Thai).
“Khlong” is the Thai word for “canal”. Khlong Ong Ang is one of the oldest water passages of Bangkok. It dates back to the 18th century. In the evenings, the area turns into a vibrant area of shops and restaurants.
The area is also known for its street art. If you have explored Bangkok’s street art, you may have come across local artist Alex Face and his three-eyed child dressed in a rabbit suit. One of these artworks can be spotted right by the canal.
But Alex Face is not the only street artist – throughout your walk you will spot countless artworks.
At certain points of the walk, it was hard to believe that we were still in one of the biggest cities in the world.
This walk was done when tourism to Thailand was still minimal due to Covid-19 restrictions. Hence, this bustling area was unusually calm.
Can you believe that suddenly you look up and tropical fruits are growing in this metropolis?
Always pay attention to the details. Along the canal, you will see a spectrum of old vs. new, tradition vs. leisure attractions, beautifully renovated buildings vs. those who would badly need a touch-up.
Don’t forget to look up, there are quite a few reminders that the skyscrapers are not too far away.
Shortly before you reach the footbridge across the river, there is another small public park. Walk through it and head up the stairs to the Chao Praya Skypark.
On your left, you can see the old post office building.
Enjoy the 360-degree views and watching the boats and the skyline. I also really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the skyscrapers in the back and the Chinese temple and the mosque at the front.
A lot of effort went into the plants and flowers of the Skypark. It was opened in 2020 and the bridge is universally accessible also for senior citizens and people in wheelchairs. It also has seating areas to enjoy the view.
The Skypark is a refurbished structure of the Phra Pok Klao Bridge, or Duan Bridge, of the Lavalin electric train track. This track lay abandoned for more than 30 years.
There is another small park at the end of the bridge on the other side of the river. Head under the bridge and when you face the river, turn left and walk along the river.
On your left, Wat Prayun Wongsawat Worawihan, a temple, will come up. Also called “Wat Prayun”, this Buddhist temple dates back to the 19th century.
The main stupa contains Buddha’s relics and is a UNESCO world heritage site. (A “stupa” is a hemispherical structure containing relics.)
Head back towards the river and keep walking until you reach the pier of Santa Cruz church. You cannot miss the structure with its beautiful intricate carvings.
You have now reached the former Portuguese quarter. Up until our walk, I was not aware that there was old Portuguese area in Bangkok.
This area was granted to Portuguese Catholics in the 18th century. Until today, the so-called “Kudi Chin”-area is characterised by people from a wide range of (religious) backgrounds living in close proximity.
The first church was built in 1770 and used to be the main Catholic church in the city. What you see today is the cathedral built at the beginning of the 20th century.
Take a walk around the the church and when you almost reach the main entrance turn into the side lane leading to Baan Kudichin Museum. There are some small shops selling fusion Portuguese-Thai pastry and a small restaurant serving Thai-Portuguese fusion food. Also pay attention to the street art in the side lanes.
The Baan Kudichin Museum is the perfect spot for a break and enjoy some snacks or coffee. It is tucked away at the end of the lane and has a beautiful verandah-like terrace. The museum gives an insight into the relationship between Portugal and the Kingdom of Siam by using photos and tools/furniture by former residents of the area and the house who frequently travelled to Europe. Their rooftop allows for beautiful views of Kudichin and the river.
Head back to the riverside and keep walking along the river until you reach Wat Kanlayanamit Pier. Enjoy the views of the beautiful old and new (wood) houses.
Take the ferry back across the river and walk towards the flower market. The whole area around the market is made up of small shops and street stall selling the most beautiful flowers.
End your walk at Napasorn Flower Café and enjoy a nice piece of cake and a coffee or their delicious chocolate frappé.
Distance of the Walk: about 6 km
Time Needed: about 2 hours (depending on your walking speed and breaks)
Special thanks to Martin Cowling who shared his incredible knowledge and walking tour with me. You can follow him on his blog “Wild About Travel”.
More about Bangkok
All information as of the date of publishing/updating and based on the information on the websites of the respective sights and the information provided at the location. We cannot accept responsibility for the correctness or completeness of the data, or for ensuring that it is up to date. All recommendations are based on the personal experience of Elisabeth Steiger, no fees were received by the recommended places above.