Translating as “water gate”, Pratunam is a popular shopping district in Bangkok’s east. In addition to its large retail centres and department stores, it’s home to several museums and palaces that include the art-filled former home of Prince Chumbhot of Nagara Svarga, one of Thailand’s leading art collectors.
Things to do in Pratunam
Gaze up at the 304-metre-tall Baiyoke Tower II, a largely residential skyscraper that houses a revolving observation deck on its 77th floor. Ride the elevator up just before sunset to watch the day’s last rays ignite the city before grabbing a drink at the romantic Rooftop Bar on the 83rd floor.
If you love dolls, don’t miss a visit to the Bangkok Dolls Museum, which was established by Khunying Thongkorn Chanthawimol in 1956 after completing a doll-making course in Tokyo. In addition to its collection of around 400 dolls from around the world, the museum features dolls crafted using traditional Thai materials that depict rural life across the country.
Just north of Pratunam soars the Victory Monument, which was constructed in 1941 to honour those who lost their lives during the French Indochina War. It’s a short stroll from here to the Phaya Thai Palace, a former residence of King Rama V that’s open to the public for guided tours. Don’t miss a visit to its Art Nouveau-style Phiman Chakri Hall to see its silk wallpaper and ornate murals.
Getting around Pratunam
Pratunam is located in Bangkok’s east, around one hour's drive from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Ratchaprarop railway station and Ratchathewi Skytrain station both serve the neighbourhood, as do several bus routes. The Saen Saep Express Boat connects the Pratunam ferry terminal with Rattanakosin’s Panfa Leelard pier while the neighbourhood is compact enough to explore on foot.