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Siam (Thai: สยาม, RTGS: Sayam, pronounced [sā.jǎːm]) is an area in the Pathum Wan District of Bangkok. It is a de facto district/neighborhood that consists of roughly 43 acres (170,000 m2) of the Thai Royal Family's estate, of which 17 acres (69,000 m2) is the Sra Pathum Palace; the remaining 26 acres (110,000 m2), formerly home to the Siam Intercontinental Hotel and its royal gardens, are leased by the Crown Property Bureau to several shopping complexes on either side of Rama I Road. Though no district of Bangkok by the name "Siam" legally exists, local Thais refer to this area as such, and consider it to be the very heart of Bangkok. Siam is connected to the adjacent Ratchaprasong area via a number of footbridges.
During the fourth reign of the present Thai dynasty (1851–1868), King Mongkut ordered the construction of a small palace for royal recreation in this area. The palace was built, and he named it "Pathumwan Palace," meaning "Lotus Palace". The Siam area was also the site of the nation's first airport.
When Don Mueang Airport opened in 1914, the land was freed, and inherited by Prince Mahidol Adulyadej of Songkhla, the father of the king Bhumibol Adulyadej. The prince ordered the construction of the Sa Pathum Palace ("Lotus Pond Palace").
Sra Pathum Palace is on 17 acres (69,000 m2) of the royal estate's 43 acres (170,000 m2). The palace hosted the weddings of the Prince Mahidol Adulyadej and the Princess Mother Srinagarindra (née Sangwan Talapat) in September 1920, and the current king and queen on 28 April 1950. The late Princess Mother formerly lived at the palace. It was renovated to serve as the residence of the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
At one time, the remaining 26 acres (110,000 m2) were leased to the former Siam Intercontinental Hotel with its gardens. The walls of the hotel were shared on one side with the palace, and the other with Wat Pathum Wanaram, a temple that was built over a hundred years ago.
On 11 December 1964 at exactly 10:00, the hour designated by the royal astrologer as being auspicious, the late princess mother unveiled the foundation stone of the hotel. The Siam Intercontinental was one of the first international hotels in Bangkok.
Places and companies bearing a name with reference to the "Siam" neighborhood began with the Siam Intercontinental Hotel in 1964, followed by Siam Square in 1965, Siam Theater in 1967, Siam Bowl and Siam Center in 1973, Siam Discovery in 1997, and Siam Station, the focal point of the BTS Skytrain, in 1999. Following the demolition of the Siam Intercontinental Hotel, the Siam Paragon was constructed in 2005 and Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok opened on the same grounds in 2010. Among companies bearing a similar name, Siam Piwat was the developer of the Siam Center. Siam Cement, however, refers to the Siam Cement Public Company Limited or SCG, the largest cement company in Thailand.
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There are several large malls in the Siam Area and the adjacent Ratchaprasong.
- Siam Paragon mall houses designer and name brand stores as well as entertainment, including an IMAX, and Siam Ocean World.
- Siam Center has various local and international brand stores.
- Siam Discovery
- MBK Center "Mah Boon Krong" specialises in electronics.
- Bonanza, is a smaller scale shopping center.
- Siam Square
Aside from shopping, Siam is a tourist destination for several reasons. BTS Siam Station is the main interchange station for the BTS system, making it the most crowded station. Erawan Shrine is nearby, and National Stadium is within walking distance to silk magnate Jim Thompson's House. Wat Pathum Wanaram is next to Siam Paragon.