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Bang Rak (บางรัก) is one of the 50 districts (khet) of Bangkok, Thailand on the east bank of Chao Phraya River. The district is bounded by four other districts (from north clockwise): Pathum Wan, Sathon, Khlong San (across the Chao Phraya River), and Samphanthawong. It was established in 1912. Template:Asof, Bang Rak's population was 47,817. Bang Rak was one of the first areas the westerners settled in Bangkok. Some of them were the Paris Foreign Missions Society who established the Catholic church Wat Suan Than (Template:Lang-th; now Assumption Cathedral (Bangkok)), American Presbyterian missionaries who founded the Bangkok Christian College, the embassy of France and Portugal in Thailand, and the East Asiatic (Thailand) Company who headquartered in the area.[1] In 2016, the Thailand Creative and Design Centre (TCDC), relocating its headquarter from the former office in Khlong Toei to the Grand Postal Building in Bang Rak, has announced and promoted the Bang Rak's neighbourhoods surrounding the Charoen Krung Road as the creative district of Bangkok under the name "Creative Charoen Krung".[2][3]

The motto of the district reflects some traits of Bang Rak as; "entertainment zone" (i.e. Patpong, former Soi Pratuchai), "luxurious hotel district" (i.e. Dusit Thani, Sheraton, Mandarin Oriental), and "education hub of famed schools" (i.e. the long-standing private schools Assumption College, Bangkok Christian College, Saint Joseph Convent School). Moreover, Bang Rak is dotted with colonial and western architecture buildings;[4] the former Customs House, the former East Asiatic Building, Neilson Hays Library, and the Bangkokian Museum. Asides from the historical significance, Bang Rak boasts a number of offices and some of the country's tallest skyscrapers; Mahanakhon, State Tower, and Jewelry Trade Center. The Si Lom neighbourhood is known for being one of the most valuable land in Thailand with estimated land cost of 0.425 million THB per square metre in 2016, ranking the third in Thailand behind the Siam neighbourhood and Chit Lom both in Khet Pathum Wan.[5]

History[]

Bang Rak's history dates to the reigns of King Rama III, Rama IV, and Rama V after the conversion of a canal to Charoen Krung Road in 1862 and the construction of Yaowarat Road were completed.[6] When Bangkok grew, many people, especially from Chinatown moved to live there. It is adjacent to the Talat Noi, one of the oldest Chinese communities in Bangkok. The area became a locus of Western businesses and diplomatic missions.[7]

There are several theories about the district name, Bang Rak:

  • According to Marc Askew the word bang (บาง) refers to 'water-hamlets', floating communities on the Chao Phraya River sitting alongside structures on the bank.
  • Another theory suggests that rak refers a kind of plant and that there was one such plant in a canal in the district.
  • Another suggests that the original name for the area which became Bang Rak was written in Thai as บางรักษ์ (also pronounced Bang Rak) meaning 'village of care' due to the presence of an early missionary hospital. The rak of Bang Rak is thought to be short for raksa (Template:Lang-th; Template:Rtgs) which means 'to treat an illness' or 'take care of'. Over time the Thai spelling was shortened to the current form, meaning 'village of love'. Because Bang Rak can mean village of love, today the district is a popular place to register marriages, especially on Valentine's Day.[8]

Administration[]

Template:Stack The district is divided into five sub-districts (khwaeng).

1. Maha Phruettharam  มหาพฤฒาราม
2. Si Lom สีลม
3. Suriyawong สุริยวงศ์
4. Bang Rak บางรัก
5. Si Phraya สี่พระยา

Places[]

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File:MahaNakhon Tower unfinished (Bangkok Thailand) (20275977358).jpg

MahaNakhon tower under construction

Bang Rak is known for its commercial area around Si Lom Road (also written Silom). The land properties on Si Lom Road are among the most expensive in Thailand with skyscrapers dotting the road. The MahaNakhon Tower (312 m 1,030 ft with 77 floors) in Bang Rak, is now the tallest building in Thailand, overtaking Baiyoke Tower II.[9] Other skyscrapers in Bang Rak include State Tower (247 m or 811 ft with 68 floors) on Si Lom Road while the nearby Jewelry Trade Center was once the tallest building in Thailand when it was completed in 1996. Dusit Thani Hotel, at the opposite end of Si Lom Road, contains a distinctive triangular shaped building, another landmark in the district. The hotel will be demolished in mid-2018 when the current lease expires and will be replaced with a new mixed-use project.[10]

Many shops targeting tourists appear along Si Lom Road, especially clothes, art, and jewellery stores. Much of the jewelry is produced in jewelry companies here. A few department stores are present in Bang Rak, namely, Silom Complex, Robinson Bang Rak. They are rather small compared to shopping centers in other areas. It is better known as a night shopping area for tourists. Along two sides of the Si Lom and in Patpong become night market full of stalls selling clothes and souvenirs. Furthermore, many pubs and go-go bars open in the nearby Patpong Road, a red-light district.

On the west side of Bang Rak is the Chao Phraya River. Several luxurious hotels are on the river bank:[11] Oriental Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, and Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel. Next to Royal Orchid Sheraton are Si Phraya express boat pier and River City Shopping Complex (actually in Samphanthawong), a shopping center specializing in antiques and arts.

Although Buddhist temples in Bang Rak are not remarkable, with the possible exception of Wat Hua Lamphong (วัดหัวลำโพง) and maybe Wat Maha Phruettharam (วัดมหาพฤฒาราม), various places of worship representing other religions are well represented. This includes the Thailand's most famous Hindu temple named Sri Mahamariamman Temple. It is also called Wat Phra Sri Maha Umathewi (วัดพระศรีมหาอุมาเทวี)  or Wat Keak (วัดแขก) in Thai. A ceremony named Nawa Ratri (นวราตรี) or Dussehra is held by the temple during the first to the ninth day of the 11th lunar month (around October) when the temple statues were carried by the Hindu community along Si Lom Road. Some devotees perform rituals such as body piercing with sharp objects. Also in Bang Rak is the 210 year-old Assumption Cathedral, which has appeared in various films, as well as its school, Assumption College (Thailand).

File:Thailand Creative and Design Centre tcdc front.jpg

Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC) Bangkok at the General Post Office Building

The Bangkok Folk Museum (also called Bangkokian Museum) is also in the district as are The Neilson Hays Library, Bangkok's oldest English language library, and The British Club Bangkok, the last surviving international members' club. In 2017, the Thailand Creative and Design Centre (TCDC) moved to the Grand Postal Building.[11]

Diplomatic missions[]

  • Embassy of Bahrain[12]
  • Embassy of Belgium[13]
  • Embassy of Canada[14]
  • Embassy of France[15]
  • Embassy of Greece[16]
  • Embassy of Kuwait[17]
  • Embassy of the Maldives[18]
  • Embassy of Myanmar[19]
  • Embassy of Oman[20]
  • Embassy of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta[21]
  • Embassy of Portugal[22]
  • Embassy of Russia[23]
  • Embassy of Saudi Arabia[24]

Transportation[]

Bang Rak is served by both Skytrain and Metro underground line. Most stops lie on district borders however due to its narrow roads. Skytrain stations include Sala Daeng, Chong Nonsi, Surasak, and Saphan Taksin with a new station Sueksa Witthaya planned, while Metro stops are Lumphini, Si Lom, Sam Yan, and Hua Lamphong.

Chao Phraya Express Boats also provide transportation service along the Chao Phraya River with the central pier at Sathorn Pier under the Taksin Bridge. Other piers for the boat service are Oriental, Wat Muang Kae, and Si Phraya.

Gallery[]

Notable people[]

  • Chalong Pakdeevijit (Philip Chalong) – film and TV series director, producer

See also[]

  • Captain Bush Lane

References[]

  1. อลิษา ลิ้มไพบูลย์. 7 Feb 2019. ชวนเดินดูประวัติศาสตร์ย่านบางรัก ชุมชนเก่าแก่ที่เต็มไปด้วยความทรงจำเมื่อครั้งแรกๆ ที่ชาวตะวันตกเข้ามาเยือนสยาม. Retrieved from https://readthecloud.co/walk-west-side-story/ (in Thai)
  2. Creative Thailand. 1 April 2016. Revalue Charoenkrung คุณค่าใหม่ เจริญกรุง. Retrieved from https://web.tcdc.or.th/th/articles/detail/Revalue-Charoenkrung--คุณค่าใหม่-เจริญกรุง (in Thai)
  3. TCDC. 9 ธันวาคม 2558. โครงการสร้างสรรค์เจริญกรุง Co-create Charoenkrung. Retrieved from http://www.tcdc.or.th/projects/co-create-charoenkrung/?lang=th (in Thai)
  4. อังคณา นาคเกิด. 9 November 2560. Hidden Gem in Old Town: หลงเสน่ห์เมืองเก่าเพราะ “ที่นี่…บางรัก”. Retrieved from https://urbancreature.co/bangrak-hidden-gem-in-old-town/ (in Thai)
  5. Agency for Real Estate Affairs Co., Ltd. cited in Nation. 16 May 2016. 5 อันดับที่ดินแพงที่สุด กทม. "สยามสแควร์" ครองแชมป์ ตารางวาละ 2 ล้าน 1 แสนบาท. Retrieved from https://www.nationtv.tv/main/content/378547613/ (in Thai)
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External links[]

Template:Geographic location

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