This road begins at the eastern end of Bangkok’s downtown and continues all the way to the Cambodian border in Trat province. In Bangkok it is the main thoroughfare of an expanding business quarter popular with foreigners.
Though it is a long way from Bangkok’s best-known sights, the area has numerous good quality, moderately priced hotels and restaurants, and a few attractions of its own.
Foremost of these is the Siam Society, which was founded in the early 1900s (by a group of Thais and foreign residents under the patronage of Rama VI) to research, rediscover, and preserve Thai culture. Within the grounds are two traditional teakwood Northern Thai houses that comprise the country’s only genuine ethnological museum. The Kam thieng House, a farm dwelling, was transported piece by piece in the 1960s to Bangkok from the bank of the Ping River, near Chiang Mai. The Sangaroon House is a later addition donated by the architect Sangaroon Ratagasikorn who – inspired by the utilitarian beauty of rural utensils – amassed a sizable collection. It is a good example of Central Plains style (see p40). Also on the grounds is a reference library on Thai culture, open to visitors. The Journal of the Siam Society is one of Asia’s most respected publications on art history, culture, and society. Located next to the Eastern Bus Terminal, the Bangkok Planetarium, with its handson exhibitions, may be of some interest to those people who have time to spare while waiting for a bus.
The Queen’s Park (or Benjasiri Park) is between sois 22 and 24, while the larger King Rama IX Park is farther out toward Samut Prakan. With its botanical gardens and area for water sports, this park is one of Bangkok’s most pleasant oases. The park also has an exhibition on the king’s life.