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Trolleybus Around Rattanakosin Island By Dararai
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Hi walkers! We know you guys love to walk. Anyway, there must be occasions when you feel very exhausted but still want to continue your expedition. If so, there is an alternative way to go sightseeing around Rattanakosin Island -- on a tram-like bus operated by the Bangkok Tourist Bureau. Just sit in relaxation, you will enjoy the views of old Bangkok's important places in 30 minutes of the journey.
 
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Tram in the old days
 
The trolley's terminal is located between the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang ground. A trolleybus leaves the terminal every 30 minutes from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 20:00 p.m. on weekends..
 
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The fare is only 30 baht (free services on the weekends). Below you'll find the brief details of interesting places which the bus passes.
 
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The serene surroundings in Thammasat University
 

The first place is Thammasat University : It is one of the leading universities of Thailand. The pinnacle of its administration office building is the landmark of Tha Phra Chan community.

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National Museum

The next is the National Museum : This used to be the palace of the Crown Prince in the reign of King Rama I. But it was used as part of the museum in the fifth reign (1868-1910). Today, many precious historic items as well as works of art are on display.

Adjacent to it is the National Theatre : The place was constructed in 1960 to be a stage for traditional performances such as mask plays, drama, Thai classical dancing and music. Its architectural style is neo-Thai with the front gable featuring a stucco of Ganesh, the Hindu god of knowledge and performing arts.

The next attraction is Santi Chaiprakarn Park : This park was designed to be a recreational area in the city. Phra Sumen Fortress, one of the two remaining old fortresses in the city, is also located nearby. The last lamphu (Sonneratia caseolaris) tree in Bangkok is preserved here as the symbol of the Bang Lamphu community.

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Khao San Road

After that the bus passes Khao San Road This road was constructed in the reign of King Rama V. Because of the cheap accommodation and ideal location with access to famous attractions and shopping centres, it became a mecca for backpackers from around the world, especially Europeans.

The next minute you'll see the National Museum Art Gallery : The place was the Royal Mint before the Fine Arts Department turned it to be the National Gallery in 1974. Its architectural style is the typical one of the Rama V reign.

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The Grand Palace. The trolley's terminal
is obliquely opposite its entrance.
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Sanam Luang is an ideal place for flying kites.

The next spot is Sanam Luang (Phra Mane Ground) : In the old days this area was a place for royal cremations (Phra Mane in Thai). King Rama IV used this ground to perform the royal ploughing ceremony. Since then, he gave it the name "Sanam Luang" to replace the old one.

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Inside the City Pillar Shrine
 
Then the trolleybus passes the City Pillar Shrine : It houses the wooden pillar erected by King Rama I in 1782 to guard the new capital.
 
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The second largest reclining
Buddha image in Thailand at Wat Pho

The next is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) : Here the second largest reclining Buddha image in Thailand is enshrined.

Then the trolleybus passes Pak Khlong Talat Community : It is the biggest flower market in Bangkok
 
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The magnificent architectural style
of the Temple of the Reclining Buddha


Not far from here, you'll see Tha Tian Community : In the old days (around the reign of King Rama I, 1782-1809) royal people stayed here. Unfortunately, there was a conflagration in the reign of King Rama IV (1851-1868), resulting in a void (tian in Thai) space.

The next attraction is Ratchaworadit Royal Pier : King Rama IV had a command to build four pavilions in this site but the only one left is Ratchakitwinitchai Pavilion. Today this pier is exclusively used for Royal ceremonies and the River of King's performances, which is held annually around the Chinese New Year.

A while after that, you'll notice Tha Chang Wang Luang Pier, literally means elephant pier of the Grand Palace: In the reign of King Rama I, elephants from the Grand Palace were brought to this area to take a bath.

Then the bus passes Silpakorn University, the first and foremost Fine Arts university of Thailand with over 3,000 students.Three art galleries on the campus are open to the public.

The next construction in front of you is Wat Mahathat : This is one of the most significant temples in Bangkok built in the Ayutthaya period (1350-1767). Maha Chulalongkorn University, where Buddhist theology is taught, is situated here.

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Tha Phra Chan Community

Tha Phra Chan Community is the last point: The name was derived from the now defunct Phra Chan Fortress. This bustling community is an important centre of amulets and Buddha images.

The trip ends here. But if you're attracted by any of the specific places, you're recommended to visit them on foot later, so you will be able to linger as long as you want.

Going on trolleybus is like a flashback of the past when the main road transportation of Bangkok was the tram. It was introduced to the Thais in 1887. Originally, horses had been used to pull it before electricity was available. Regarded as a symbol of modernity, the tram quickly became popular.

It was said that the relationship between the tram workers and passengers was very intimate. Not only young pupils were treated with utmost care but adults also received a warm service from the staff. The story goes that there was a period of time when the tram passing Bang Rak Bridge about 11:00 p.m. had to stop in front of a bar to pick up a drunkard and take him home.Even when he was still in the bar, getting very drunk, the driver would have had to drag him out. Later, the tram was replaced by other kinds of transportation such as automobiles and buses. In 1968 it was abolished and became obsolete.The trams that are used today are an imitation of the original, using rubber tires instead of steel wheels.

For a vivid understanding of the routes, please refer to maps in
Thaiways or Thaiways Map of Bangkok which can be obtained from airports, the Bangkok Tourist Bureau and your hotel, or visit Map : Bangkok Metropolis Area A

Note: Another interesting tram route in Bangkok is the Yaowarat (Chinatown). Trolleybuses to Yaowarat run on the weekend from 10:00 a.m. to 20:00 p.m. The route begins at Soi Politsapha, Mahaphruetharam Rd. (opposite BKK Railway Station) and continue on Charoenkrung Rd. and Yaowarat Rd.


For more information about trolleybus services, please contact Bangkok Tourism Dividion on tel: 0 2225 7612-5.


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1
For the correct pronunciation of romanized Thai words, see
Romanization System of the Thai Language .

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