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Pratunam

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Pratunam

Pratunam (Thai: ประตูน้ำ) is a shopping district in Bangkok. It is a major market area with thousands of fashion stores that sell wholesale with cheap prices guaranteed, especially if you buy in bulk. Pratunam is used in a broad sense here, and it also includes the areas of Victory Monument, Ratchathewi and Makkasan.

The southern boundary of Pratunam is marked by the Saen Saep Canal. This canal was dug during the reign of King Rama III in the mid-nineteenth century to connect the Chao Phraya River with the Bang Pakong River to the east. When Saen Saep was connected with Maha Nak Canal and Krung Kasem Canal, a gate was required to control the water level between them. Pratunam means “water gate”. It was not developed until the 1960s when rice fields dominated the landscape. Around that time, a fresh produce market was set up near the Indra Hotel at Ratchaprarop Road. Since then more markets have set up here, and the whole area has become known as a local marketplace.
Located in Pratunam is Baiyoke Tower II. More than 300 metres high and with 88 stories, it is Thailand’s tallest building and is a distinctive feature of Bangkok’s skyline and represents the rising economy of both Pratunam and Thailand as a whole. Just taking the lift up the tower is an experience not to be missed. Surrounding it are plenty of other residential towers and hotels trying to make money out of the central location.
But the street markets have never disappeared. Fresh produce has made way for fashion wear, textiles and accessories, but they are still sold at strictly local prices. Endless small alleyways are packed with literally thousands of fashion stores, and they are so cheap because most of them actually sell at wholesale rates. In the north of the district lies Victory Monument, a large military monument that now functions as a major traffic hub. The area became a popular residential neighbourhood for locals and expats working in the ciy centre. It is particularly lively after dusk, when there is a busy night market and an active jazz scene.

 

 

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