Pathumwan encompasses the commercial heart of Bangkok. Just as all roads lead to Rome, all BTS Skytrains come to Siam Square, an area filled with chic, state-of-the-art shopping complexes and high-end hotels. Two of the largest complexes are Siam Paragon and Central World which often host outdoor events and free concerts. Bangkok's youth culture thrives here and people watching is inevitably part the attraction.
But Pathumwan has its less glitzy side as well. On the corner of a busy intersection, sacred Erawan Shrine gives Buddhists solemn pause as they step out of the rat race a moment to burn incense and say a prayer. Tourists explore the elegant Jim Thompson House, the home turned museum of the American who helped revitalize the Thai silk industry and promote it to the world.
At the southern reaches of Pathumwan is Lumphini Park, a place for picnickers, lovers, joggers, and even birdwatchers. In the evening, just across Thanon Witthayu (Wireless Road), the city's most famous night market, Suan Lum Night Bazaar, comes to life for bargain souvenir shoppers, street food seekers and even a bit of traditional Thai puppetry at the Joe Louis Theatre.
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