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Rattanakosin (Thai: รัตนโกสินทร์), also known as Rattanakosin Island, is the historic centre of Bangkok, where most of Bangkok's "must see" sights can be found, including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

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When the powerful Ayutthaya Kingdom was destroyed and burnt down by Burmese armies in 1767, a small period of chaos and Burmese occupation ensued in the lands of Siam.

The resistance was led by General Taksin, a capable military leader who defeated the Burmese within one year and established the new Siamese capital in Thonburi, right across the Chao Phraya River from Rattanakosin.

Instead of just re-conquering Siam, he also seized Western Cambodia, Terengganu state in Malaysia , Lanna (modern Northern Thailand) and Laos.

Despite these successes, in 1779 King Taksin proclaimed himself a sotapanna (or divine figure), in opposition to the powerful position of Buddhist monks.

King Rama I restored the social and political system of the Ayutthaya Period, even imitating that city's layout and architecture in Rattanakosin.

For example, the Grand Palace's building plan closely resembled that of the Grand Palace in Ayutthaya.

Even the bricks from the ruins in Ayutthaya were moved downstream to be incorporated into the new capital's grand scheme.

As the district has been the result of careful 18th-century urban planning, orientation in Rattanakosin is fairly straightforward.

The state was in economic turmoil, with rampant corruption and famine.


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