It gets its name from the lamphu trees that used to grow here. This tree has vertical roots and is a favourite gathering spot for fireflies. The canal that makes Bang Lamphu part of Rattanakosin Island was dug during the reign of King Rama I and has had many names including Klong Ong Ang because there used to be a community here making the big earthenware pots called ong.
The first palace was built here by Princess Chakjesda, a relative of King Rama I. Although the palace has now gone, a small part of a wall remains on Phra Sumen Road, opposite the hexagonal-shaped Phra Sumen Fort. This fort is one of the original 13 constructed to defend Bangkok.
Bang Lamphu has been the location of many of the major events in Thailand's recent history. The Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Klang Road has been the rallying point for many political movements. There is a house on Phra Arthit Road, where Pridi Banomyong lived when he established the Seri Thai organization to fight the Japanese occupation during World War II.
Today, Bang Lamphu is an interesting mix of buildings built over a century ago in the colonial style side by side with modern buildings and shop houses. It is well worth a visit to what is possibly Bangkok's first suburb.
Old Bangkok Walking Tour
Mp3 tracks are available for 15 sites within Bangkok's historical Rattanakosin Island, including the Giant Swing, Wat Suthat, and the Brahmin Chapels. All these sites are found within walking distance from Khao San Road.
Mp3 tours and maps can be downloaded for free at www.bangkokwalks.com, or Mp3 players can be rented at the Rim Khob Faa Bookstore next to the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Road.