As Bangkok developers continue building shiny, new establishments, there are a few heading in the direction of architectural preservation of old buildings and restoring them for modern usage. This might reflect a new way of thinking and the diversifying preference of the Thai populace. Tha Maharaj, a community mall tucked in a small street on Rattanakosin Island, is right there in the forefront catering to this new desire for something different from air conditioned mega structures.
Comprised of seven buildings, Tha Maharaj was born from the restoration of a group of old shophouses on the riverfront. The area has now been revitalized into an open-air gathering place. Within the buildings are curated restaurants, retail shops and to encourage its patrons to appreciate the river and its life, a riverside promenade and a community garden. One can spend an entire afternoon relaxing within the compound – perhaps a late morning coffee in one of its cafes, followed by a visit to the art bookstore, and then slurp up some ramen for lunch before relaxing by the water.
Tha Maharaj’s unique location makes it the perfect base from which one can explore the extremely historical neighborhood it is in. Next to it is Phra Chan Market, known nationwide as amulet central. A 15-minute walk away is the Grand Palace with Wat Pho and Museum Siam further down the road. After an active day of steeping oneself in culture and history, return to Tha Maharaj for a nice iced coffee before taking a boat from its pier to your next destination.