We’re starting you off at the medical museum because you’re going to want to wait until you finish with this place before consuming anything. KohSpot is not trying to scare you, but the museum tops any version of a “haunted house” we’ve seen in Thailand. Of course the museum is meant to be informative and any day of the week you visit it is likely to be inundated with school children on a field trip. Admission costs only 40 baht and gets you into five different sections: parasites, anatomy, pathology, the history of Thai medicine and prehistory.
You can visit the museum at Thailand’s oldest hospital by crossing the Chao Phraya at Tha Phra Chan pier for only three baht. Pathology and anatomy are the most popular, because there you get to see jars filled with actual stillborn babies, blue-head babies, Siamese twin babies, and babies with any type of defect sliced open and preserved. You know, for science.
Don’t worry, adults have been splayed and preserved there too. We all like to stop and stare at dead people—that’s why traffic slows to a halt near a car wreck. Thailand’s most notorious serial killer Si Quey, who killed and ate the organs of young boys, has been mummified, so of course it’s an opportunity for the kids to pose in front of him for cell-phone pictures.
All right, who’s hungry?
Crossing back over the river, Tha Phra Chan is known for having some pretty fantastic food right on the water, and stop in whatever shop looks busy if you’re feeling light-headed. Of particular note is the roti matabat shop at the beginning of the market.
If you have time, you can wander around the placid campus of Thammasat University near the pier or head back out Phra Chan Road toward Sanam Luang and the National Museum. KohSpot much prefers the Museum of Siam, but you could peruse the National Museum if you have plenty of time and they often have English-language volunteer docents on hand.
Now walk north toward Khaosan Road and the Pinklao Bridge, but rather than trying to kill yourself by crossing, turn left at Pinklao Road and walk to the river before turning right to cross underneath the bridge and connect to Phra Athit Road.
Phra Athit’s proximity to Khaosan Road was bound to affect it, and this road is now filled with cutesy places to shop and eat, so go indulge. It doesn’t have the pulsating neon glare of Khaosan, but there are no hidden gems on this road either. Phra Athit is just a nice place for a stroll, particularly at night as the Phra Sumen Fort is lit up in front of you. Just before the fort, which you are walking toward on Phra Athit Road, is the Santichai Prakan Park. Though it’s bustling during Loy Krathong with locals and backpackers trying to float their boat in the Chao Phraya, most of the time the park is sleepy and if you happen to make it there during the day and want a challenge, they offer a dirt-cheap program called Green Bangkok Bike that lets you rent a bike for the day to ride around to different sites on Rattanakosin that you can leave at one of the sites. For you yogi’s, the park is perfect for some mid-afternoon sun salutations.
If shopping is not your thing, Phra Athit also features one of the few riverside walkways that has not been hijacked by hotels and restaurants, spanning from the Pinklao Bridge to the park. Watch out for bicyclists though.
If you’ve made it this far without eating, plop down at Mister Pas (140 Phra Athit Road) if you can find a chair, as there are only four tables. The restaurant is right next to the fort so it offers great views of that structure as well as the foot traffic. Reviewers tend to have a hard time categorizing the food that Pas slings from the kitchen, but he spent his formative cooking years in New Zealand and we’ve never had a bad dish there. A favorite is the pistachio-crusted snapper filet on Nero spaghetti (325 baht). You will not be disappointed by this place.
The tour’s over, but now you’re well-positioned for a night out around Khaosan, Samsen or Pinklao.
KohSpot Walking Tour
Location: This trip starts at Tha Phra Chan pier near Sanam Luang and ends at the Phra Sumen Fort at the corner of Phra Athit and Phra Sumen Roads.
Mass transit: Chao Phraya river ferry to Tha Phra Chan or Phra Athit piers
Hours: Siriraj Medical Museum 9am-4 pm Monday to Saturday, Mister Pas 10:30am-11 pm Tuesday to Sunday
Phone: Medical Museum 02-419-7000 ext. 6363, Mister Pas 02-629-3207