Charoen Krung Road

Bangkok, Thailand

Charoen Krung Road

Charoen Krung Road (Thai: ถนนเจริญกรุง, pronounced [tʰā.nǒn t͡ɕā.rɤ̄ːn krūŋ]) is a major road in Bangkok and the first in Thailand to be built using modern construction methods. Built during 1862–1864 in the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV), it runs from the old city centre in Rattanakosin Island, passes through Bangkok's Chinatown, continues into Bang Rak District, where it formerly served the community of European expatriates, and ends in Bang Kho Laem. Construction of the road marked a major change in Bangkok's urban development, with the major mode of transport shifting from water to land. Charoen Krung Road was Bangkok's main street up to the early 20th century, but later declined in prominence. It is still home to many historic buildings and neighbourhoods, which are beset by changes as extension of the underground MRT is poised to drive new development.

Until the mid-19th century, the primary means of transport in Bangkok (and Siam in general) was by boat. This began to change as the country opened up to Western ideas and influences, and underwent modernization during the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV, r. 1851–1868). The signing of the Bowring Treaty in 1855 marked the beginning of increasing Western political and economic influence, and many foreigners set up diplomatic missions, trading companies and residences on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, just beyond the newly expanded city limits marked by Phadung Krung Kasem Canal, which had been dug in 1851.

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