Places To Visit In Bangkok: Democracy Monument
About The Democracy Monument
The Democracy Monument was described by Bangkok’s first Prime Minister as “Bangkok’s Arc de Triomph.” Since its construction in 1939, it has symbolized the uprising that installed democracy in Thailand.
This beautiful and imposing monument depicts the Thai constitution and is protected on four sides by giant golden wings which are 24 meters high. The constitution is also guarded by fountains in the shape of the traditional guardian spirits which resemble serpents or dragons. The constitution itself sits in the centre magnified upon two golden offering bowls.
Around the base, large propagandist reliefs depict the armed forces triumphing over the monarchy for the cause of the Thai people. Perhaps, this reflects the fact that the first Thai president was an army Marshal.
In any case, it is a beautiful monument and one symbolic of a seminal moment in Thai history. The monument is well worth a visit if you are interested in Bangkok’s history or modern architecture or just want some interesting photo opportunities.
Brief History Of The Democracy Monument
The monument was commissioned in 1939 in order to commemorate the military coup that installed democracy in Thailand and made the monarchy a constitutional one. However, it has not been unopposed as a symbol of Thai freedom. The monument was initially unpopular amongst the inhabitants of Bangkok because many people were evicted from their homes and businesses in order to make way for its construction.
When the Democracy Monument was built, Thailand was was more like a military dictatorship than a democracy. It has remained the focus of many student protests throughout the last century. However, it now stands as a peaceful monument commemorating the truer form of democracy that Thailand has come to embrace.
Tips for visitors to The Democracy Monument
Unfortunately, the Democracy Monument lies on an island in the middle of several busy Bangkok roads which are nearly impossible to cross. If you want to get close to the monument, you should visit in the night or early morning and cross with a large group of people. A subterranean walkway is planned which will make the attraction safer to visit. Any taxi or tuk-tuk driver can drive you there for a small fee. Just make sure you establish the fee before stepping foot in the carriage if you decide to use a tuk-tuk.