Cannons by the river
Overlooking the confluence of the Chao Phraya River and Banglamphu Canal near Khao San Road, Phra Sumen Fort was one of 14 citadels built to protect the royal capital shortly after it was founded in the late 18th century.
Standing nearly 20 metres tall and 45 metres wide with roughly half-metre thick walls, the three-tiered white fort was built of brick and covered in mortar. Inside are 38 ammunition storage rooms, and windows rimming the hexagon-shaped upper tower allowed soldiers to keep watch in all directions. The upper part was added as part of a restoration and reconstruction in 1981. Along with Mahakan, Phra Sumen is one of only two of Bangkok’s old forts that still stand.
While the fort grabs the eyes of countless travellers strolling between Khao San and Phra Arthit roads, the entrances are blocked off and there’s not much to see apart from some old cannons and the structure itself. The fort sits on the north side of the small Santichaiprakan Park, a great place to picnic, read and relax beside the river.
Just east of the fort is the free Banglamphu Heritage Museum, which lacks much of anything apart from a restored wooden house but is a handy spot to catch some air-con and use a clean toilet.
Phra Sumen Fort is located at the corner of Phra Arthit Rd and Phra Sumen Rd, just north of Phra Arthit Pier on the Chao Phraya river ferry lines.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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