The oval field of Sanam Luang, in Phra Nakhon district, is probably one of the most historic sites in Bangkok. Sprawled in front of the Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, this large field associates its name with important celebrations in Thailand. It serves as the venue for national celebrations, including the King's Birthday, Royal Ploughing Ceremony, New Year Festival, Kite Flying Competitions, etc. Since the reign of Rama I, the park has also served as the site for conducting many royal cremation ceremonies.
Owing to its use as a cremation ground, the official name of Sanam
Luang was 'Thung Phra Mane' (the royal cremation ground), until the year
1855, when King Rama IV changed it to 'Thong Sanam Luang'. It has now
been abridged to 'Sanam Luang', but sometimes is popularly known as
'Phramen Ground'. During the reign of King Rama IV, a place was
established in the park, including the set up of walls, a small hall,
pavilions and towers, for performing the Royal Ploughing Ceremony and
the Ceremony of Calling the Rain.
The small hall inside the park served as a shrine for holding the image
of Lord Buddha during the Rain Calling Ceremony. The pavilions and
towers were used to watch the events of the Ploughing Ceremony. Later,
when King Rama V became the King, he enlarged Sanam Luang, demolished
all the buildings and cleared the field for the Centennial Celebration
of Bangkok. With Rama VI succeeding the throne of Thailand, Sanam Luang
also found usage as a racetrack and a golf course, besides being used a
Today, this 30-acre park serves as an idyllic getaway for many locals
and tourists. As the park is strategically located near some major
tourist attractions of the city, it experiences heavy tourist footfalls.
In afternoons, especially during the weekends, many people visit the
park for enjoying family picnics. Moreover, during the evenings, one can
witness people taking lazy strolls around the park. Beginning March
until May, Sanam Luang also emerges as a popular spot for watching the
traditional Thai kite flying events.