Bang Rak District
Khet location in Bangkok
|• Total||5.54 km2 (2.14 sq mi)|
|• Density||8,631.22/km2 (22,354.8/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+7 (ICT)|
Bang Rak (Thai: บางรัก, pronounced [bāːŋ rák]) is one of the 50 districts (khet) of Bangkok, Thailand. 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. As of 2017[update], Bang Rak's population was 47,817.
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. 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.
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 (Thai: รักษา; RTGS: raksa) 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.
The district is divided into five sub-districts (khwaeng).
This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (November 2018)
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. 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.
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: 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).
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.
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.
Traffic jam at rush hour on Sathon Road (left side: Bang Rak, right side: Sathon)
Charoen Krung Road near Robinson Bang Rak
- Chalong Pakdeevijit (Philip Chalong) – film and TV series director, producer
- "Population and House Report for Year 2017". Department of Provincial Administration, Ministry of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 2018-04-01. (Search page)
- Karnjanatawe, Karnjana (2019-05-16). "Bring yourself to Bang Rak". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
- Svasti, Pichaya (22 March 2018). "Discovering how Bangkok blossomed". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
- "Bang Rak: What's in a Name?". The Story of Bang Rak. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- "Thailand's new tallest building: A sneak peek from atop Bangkok's mighty MahaNakhon". CNN. 2017-07-18. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
- "Dusit Thani hotel to close for mixed-use project". Bangkok Post. 2017-03-07. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
- Bunruecha, Sattrawut (8 November 2017). "People Left Behind in Bangkok's Flourishing Neighborhoods". Khaosod English. Retrieved 13 November 2017.