Krung Thon Buri and Wongwian Yai BTS
The Krung Thon Buri and Wongwian Yai BTS stations are effectively the furthest extent of the western line of the Skytrain, and the first two stations constructed on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. Yes, there is another station (to Talat Phlu) further along, but it’s currently (August 2013) only reached by going downstairs and changing trains.
The Wongwian Yai BTS opened in May 2009 while the Talat Phlu extension opened in January this year.
After leaving the Saphan Taksin BTS stop, the Skytrain traverses the Taksin (Sathorn) bridge, giving those who choose to look a brief but interesting view up and down the busy Chao Phraya River.
Its first stop is the Krung Thon Buri BTS station. There’s not much to really look at in what is mainly a residential area. There is a park located underneath the Taksin bridge where you can relax and take in the sights and sounds of the Chao Phraya River.
If you’re so inclined, and feeling energetic, you can take a stroll along the streets parallel to the waterfront and check out some of the most prestigious hotels in Bangkok, opposite the Sathorn Pier. These hotels include the Peninsula and the Millennium Hilton Hotel.
The Peninsula has the Mei Jiang restaurant which is reputed to have one of the best dim sum lunches in Bangkok.
There are two temples nearby, Wat Thong Noppakun, on the river, and Wat Thong Pleong. The latter has what are claimed to be ‘interesting wall murals’, so if you are into religious art it’s probably worth a stop.
The Wongwian Yai BTS is also sited in a predominantly residential area and is hardly on the tourist trail. North of the station is the King Taksin the Great monument, a reminder that Thonburi was the interim capital of Siam between the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 and the anointing of Bangkok to that status in 1782. King Taksin was briefly monarch, preceding the current ruling Chakri dynasty. Along Charoenrad Road, near the monument, are vendors dispensing beef noodle soup to hungry locals.
Being a mainly residential area it’s no surprise to find a large market catering to the needs of the locals where fresh fruit, vegetables, poultry, snacks and take-away Thai dishes abound.
For those with a little more money to spend there is a Robinson Department store. Along Lad Ya Road, opposite Robinson’s, vendors specialise in braised duck noodle soup.
It’s worth taking a ride out to either Wongwian Yai or Krung Thon Buri and exploring the area, if only to get a different if somewhat subdued perspective on life in ‘quiet’ Thonburi.