West of the Chao Phraya River, Thonburi is one of Bangkok’s most authentic neighborhoods. It dates to Bangkok’s earliest days as capital, when Ayutthaya was sacked by the Burmese. General Phraya Taksin used Thonburi as temporary capital decades before the Chakri Dynasty made a capital out of Bangkok.
Between Thonburi and the Chao Phraya is the Riverside area, a thin slice of land rich with luxury hotels, rooftop restaurants and beautiful temples like Wat Arun. The atmosphere in Thonburi may be more low-key and residential, but it’s very affordable and properties near the expressways link to central Bangkok easily. New BTS stations Wongwian Yai and Thonburi make the journey to Siam's shopping district in less than 30 minutes. There are also plenty of ancient temples, including Wat Tha Phra, Wat Bang Sao Thong and Wat Bang Waek nearby.
Hotels in Thonburi have excellent access to the small canals that branch off of the Chao Phraya and wind their way through water villages that have changed very little in the last half-century. This network of waterways once earned Bangkok the nickname, ‘Venice of the East’, and tours by long-tail boat are a highlight.
A few floating markets are hidden away in Thonburi. Also worthwhile are the museums exploring Thonburi’s 15-year stint as the Siamese capital. Most of the attractions, from the temples to King Taksin the Great’s monument and the Princess Mother Memorial Park are on or near Bangkok Yai canal.