Many of the most important historical and cultural attractions are located here in the heart of the Old City. The Chao Phraya River and the markets, restaurants and food vendors that line its banks, would be reason enough to spend the day exploring here, but such attractions as the Grand Palace, Democracy Monument and Wat Pho make this arguably the most important neighborhood to visit.
The heart of this district is Koh Rattanakosin. The man-made "island" was the capital's first step across the river from its former site at Thonburi in 1782. Central to it is the Grand Palace, an ornate complex of temples and buildings originally built as a home not just for royalty of the new capital but for the Emerald Buddha, a the most sacred religious image which now rests inside Wat Phra Kaew.
To the south of the palace is Wat Pho, home to the Reclining Buddha and once the site of the Kingdom's first university meant to preserve the art of Thai massage. Outside of these obvious sites are other important attractions such as the National Gallery, National Museum and Wat Sa Ket (the Golden Mount), with a climb to a gleaming temple with city views in all directions.