With a host of community malls and properties in the pipeline, here’s a look at what the future might hold for the Chao Phraya River in the next few years.
1. Tha Maharaj
The long-under-construction area within walking distance of Thammasat University will soon be unveiled as a new themed community mall, Tha Maharaj. Sitting between Tha Chang and Tha Prajun, the development is said to recapture the charm of the old town’s architecture. The new riverside pavilion will consist of over 50 shops and restaurants, three boat piers, 200 car parking spaces and a talisman amulet and antique market, in keeping with the area’s former reputation. Construction is now over 80 percent complete, and Tha Maharaj is set to officially open by the end of 2014.
2. Icon Siam
The malls just keep on coming. This project set to open in 2017 will be the biggest of all. The mega B50-billion riverside development by three property giants —Siam Piwat, Magnolia Quality Development and Charoen Pokphand—will transform the 80,000-sq-meter plot of land on Charoen Nakhon Road into something approaching a brand new suburb. It will consist of two luxurious sky-scraper residential buildings, as well as two shopping complexes, a 3,500-seat auditorium, a large-scale multimedia light show and, the highlight, we’re told, the Seven Wonder Icons of Thailand.
3. Asiatique 2
It’s become clear that one Asiatique is not enough to cater to all the tourists and wannabe photographers. In response to the overwhelming demand comes Asiatique 2, settled on Charoen Nakorn Road, just across the river from the original Asiatique. In a change from the first themed mall, the new Asiatique is slated to be home to a snow town (yes, really) and linked to the original Asiatique by cable cars. The TCC Land Company is also planning the 15-rai Asiatique Seaside in Hua Hin and Asiatique Chiang Mai, which will occupy 60-70 rai of land near Anusorn Market. Bangkok’s Asiatique 2 is scheduled to open 2016.
4. Yodpiman River Walk
Though already packed, the country’s biggest flower and fruit markets, Pakkhlong Market and Yod Piman Market, are set to welcome more visitors. The Yod Piman Market will be renovated into Yodpiman River Walk, comprising six low-rise buildings selling flowers, fruit, food and OTOP products, and a riverside terrace walkway, which is claimed to be the longest on Rattanakosin Island. Under the concept of Thai Heritage Mall, the neo-classical development should blend in with the existing old-town architecture, and is set to be officially unveiled near the end of the year. The same developer also plans for 380 parking spots to cover the large visitor numbers.
5. Avani Bangkok Riverside
Not far from the upcoming Asiatique 2 will be this new 26-story hotel and plaza project by the Minor Group. Set to be complete in September 2015, the luxurious Avani Bangkok Riverside Charoen Nakorn Road will also boast a retail complex, in addition to its 210 guest rooms, including 20 suites. Designer Ashley Sutton (Iron Fairies, Maggi Choo’s) is now building a bar there, too.
6. Landmark Waterfront
Flanking the mega project Icon Siam will be the Country Group’s B10-billion Landmark Waterfront. Occupying over 36 rai of land on Charoenkrung Road, where the Fish Marketing Organization’s fish market used to be, the new mixed-use project will comprise a five-star hotel and a 37-floor condominium (promising 110-plus meters per room), starting from B200,000 per meter.
The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel
7. The Peninsula Residence
The world’s first Peninsula-branded residence has been under construction next to The Peninsula Hotel since late 2012, and it’s not expected to be completed for another few years. The B5-billion high-rise development will offer serviced residences and leasehold condos.
8. Menam Residences
In Charoenkrung Soi 72, the new 54-floor Menam Residences is on its way. Situated on five rai of land close to Asiatique, the high-rise condominium will boast 294 units, starting from 44 sq meters and B4.9 million. Built as a single-loaded corridor, every room will have a river view. It also promises an outdoor onsen and a three-rai park. As of Jul 30, 2014, construction was over 10 percent complete.
What changes do you want to see around the Chao Phraya River?
Chanod Tangsin, 29, business owner
“I hope we can retain the charm of life by the river. Development doesn’t always have to be revolutionary. We don’t want skyscrapers. We want it to be a place where things are simple and placid.”
Rujiga Techapaitoonsuk, 22, SEA Studies student
I want it clean. Every time you travel by boat, you always see garbage floating around. The safety and frequency of the express boat has to be improved, too. There are many of them, yes, but also many passengers. Sometimes you need to wait for ages.
Nateaporn Kumjarearn, 24, designer
There are dirty spots to be taken care of along the river. Households still dump their garbage down the Chao Phraya, and that’s not right. We need regulations to put things in place. There’s also not enough information about water transportation. It’s a good option, but not many know about it.
Pauline Bunyarat, 27, engineer
Good river bars. I mean, there are a lot out there, but they are all pretty much the same and most of the time the food isn’t that impressive. There are only a few walkways by the river, too; it would be great to have more.