After the razing of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767, General Taksin eventually emerged as a unifying leader for the Siamese and established a base in Thonburi, on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River. He was later deposed by General Chao Phraya Chakri, who moved the capital across the river in 1782 to what is now known as Bangkok. What the court had in mind for the new capital was a resurrected Ayutthaya with grandiose temples and an island district (Ko Rattanakosin) at its heart. As a result, many of Bangkok's temples are large and contained in a relatively small area not far from the Khao San Road backpacker area.
Must-see temples are Wat Arun, Temple of the Dawn, on the river bank in Thonburi, Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Saket, with its Golden Mount stupa, Wat Suthat and the nearby Giant Swing, Wat Ratchanadda, with its Metal Palace, Wat Benchamabophit, the Marble Temple, and Wat Bowonniwet.