The Story of Dusit, Bangkok

by Wayne Burns
(Vancouver, Canada)

The Story of Dusit, Bangkok, the influence of Europe

Bangkok Moves into the Modern Era

At the turn of the century, Bangkok remained a sleepy backwater, especially if compared to the burgeoning ports of Singapore to the south and Gangoon to the west. But the monarch of the time, the much-revered King Chulalongkorn
(Rama V), was a man of vision and education. He made a number of trips abroad, and what he saw in Europe impressed him. Thus began a series of projects to modernize Bangkok, the results of which can still be seen to this day.

The cramped area around the Grand Palace and the congested warrens of Chinatown close by were no longer to the king`s taste. His majesty had seen grand boulevards, gaslit streets, electric trams and even motorcars plying the streets of Europe. Not content with the Bangkok he returned to, King Chulalongkorn began to construct streets and canals. He built a throne hall in marble and a large teak palace which he called the Palace in the Clouds or Vimanmek. Narby, he had a Royal Garden laid out which is now Dusit Zoo.

The king`s initiative prompted princes, the nobility and the upper classes to follow suit, resulting in the spacious area today called the district of Dusit.

Incidentally, at the offices of the

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT),
where the friendly staff may be consulted on anything pertraining to travel in Thailand. They have numerous brochures free of charge, photos of various sites around the kingdom, and schedules of trains and buses. They can also make reservations for facilities operated by TAT.

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