Hotels In Pratunam - Bangkok's Watergate Hotels By The Saen Saab

By Eric Lim
Hotels in Pratunam are the Bangkok hotels located near the bustling Pratunam market, an old sluice gate and a canal, dug more than 150 years ago, giving the area a long and interesting history.

The area is called Pratunam (or watergate in Thai) after the sluice gate in the canal nearby, Klong Saen Saap or Saen Saap canal, which passes south of the Pratunam junction.

The Saen Saap canal has an important place in the history of the canals in Bangkok. During the reign of King Rama III (1824 – 1851), Chinese laborers dug the canal to transport troops to the east in anticipation of an impending war with Vietnam. Back then, it was faster to move troops by water than overland. The canal was completed but war didn't break out.

The Saen Saap canal starts from the Maharak Canal near the defensive rings of canals around the old Ratanakosin and extents all the way to the eastern province of Chachoengsao, 80 km away.

Today, Pratunam is a bustling market selling a wide a variety of electronic goods, fabrics and clothing and the pedestrian ways are cramped with street vendors and shoppers. The wholesale dealers are favorites with bargain hunters, both Thai and foreign.

The roads in the Pratunam area are virtually choked with traffic all day round. With the completion of the Platinum Shopping Complex and Condominium, the traffic situation in Pratunam could only get worse.

From the Bo Bae market pier, the Saen Saap canal runs eastwards just of south of Petchaburi Road. Just before Ramkhamhaeng Road, the canal branches off, one branch turns north-east along Ramkhamkaeng Road, pass Bang Kapi; the other turns south and south-east to Lat Krabang. The canal covers 50 km within Bangkok, almost the entire width of the city.

The Saen Saap canal boat service still serves as a convenient way for residents living along the canal to beat the traffic jams and get to school and work on time.

There are 17 Bangkok hotels at or near the Pratunam junction. Some of the hotels in Pratunam have adopted this well-known name, like Amari Watergate Hotel, Grand Diamond Pratunam Hotel and Pratunam Park Hotel. The 88-story Baiyoke Sky Hotel still holds the record as the tallest hotel in Thailand.

Hotels in Pratunam are generally inexpensive except for the Amari Watergate Hotel which is slightly over US$100. The rest like the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Centerpoint Petchaburi, Century Park Hotel, Grand Diamond Pratunam and the Siam City Hotel are mid range, priced between US$50 – 90.

There are ample budget hotels in the area for the budget traveler, priced at US$30 or less. Some like the Pj Watergate have also cashed in on the "watergate" label. Others prefer names like Bangkok City Inn and White Palace Hotel to hide their humble origins. The Ibis Siam Hotel is part of the economy chain of the Accor international hotel group.

(Prices are correct as at the time of writing.)

The Saen Saab Canal is one of the few canals in Bangkok that has survived the tide of road expansion, unlike other canals in the city which have been filled up.

Today, this old canal continues to flow past the busy hotels in Pratunam and the busy market, carrying boatloads of commuters to work and school, a legacy of the efforts of the thousands of Chinese laborers, in the mid 1800s, who toiled to make it possible.

Hotels in Pratunam are some of the Bangkok Hotels you'll encounter in Tour Bangkok Legacies a historical travel site on people, places and events that left their mark in the landscape of Bangkok.
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