Area - 8.37 km2 (3.23 sq mi)
Population - 97,533
The district was established in 1914. It is named after a Buddhist temple Wat Pathum Wanaram (literally meaning lotus forest temple) and the nearby Sa Pathum Palace (means lotus pond palace). Both were built on the order of King Mongkut (Rama IV) and so-named because of an abundance of lotus in Khlong Saen Saep during his reign
A large portion of Pathum Wan is occupied by organizations. Near MBK, Chulalongkorn University is the oldest university in Thailand. The main auditorium together with Faculty of Arts buildings, Maha Chulalongkorn and Maha Vajiravudh, are well-known for their design. The Museum of Imaging Technology in the Faculty of Science houses a large collection of cameras from old to new. Next to the university are Chulalongkorn Hospital and the Thai Red Cross. Inside the Red Cross there is a snake farm called Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute (or Sathan Saovabha in Thai) showing venom extraction and producing serum to treat snakebites.
One of the major tourist attractions is the Jim Thompson House. It is a complex of Thai wooden houses formerly home to James H.W. Thompson, an American who lived in Thailand, developed Thai silk industry, and brought it to fame to the Western world. It is now a museum filled with antique decor.
The Erawan Shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection is a sacred place where people come to pray and make wishes to Brahma. Flowers, wooden elephants, or traditional Thai dances are returned when a wish is granted. The Trimurti shrine and Ganesha shrine at CentralWorld are popular places to pray as well.
Also in Pathum Wan are the Royal Bangkok Sports Club (a horse racing track operating every other Saturday), the National Stadium, and Lumphini Park, the first park in Bangkok. The Lumphini Boxing Stadium where traditional Thai boxing matches are held has been moved to a new site on Ram Intra Road in Bang Khen District.
Pathum Wan is best known for its shopping centers. Siam Center is the oldest one in the area. Opened in 1973, it is now flanked by Siam Discovery Center and Siam Paragon (opened December 2005).
One of the most crowded and popular to local people and tourists is MBK Center (also known as mah boon krong). A covered, air-conditioned pedestrian bridge over Phaya Thai Road connects to a congested sister shopping center, the Bonanza Mall, which mostly sells inexpensive clothing and fashion accessories.
Siam Square, unlike others, is a shopping area that consists of a block of buildings and lots of small roads full of shops. There are two cinemas in Siam Square, built in the 1970s and run by the Apex chain: the Scala theater offers a single, big screen; the Lido is a small multi-plex with three screens. Another single big screen theater built in the same era, Siam, was destroyed during the 2010 Thai military crackdown. Besides shops, many exam preparation schools are found in Siam Square.
The Ratchaprasong intersection is flanked by CentralWorld (formerly World Trade Center and then Central World Plaza), BigC Ratchadamri, Narayana Phan, Gaysorn and Central Chit Lom shopping malls.
Every year around Christmas and New Year, shopping centers, hotels and sidewalks in the Ratchaprasong shopping district are decorated with lights. It was started by Peninsular Plaza and the Regent Hotel, and later expanded to Sogo (now out of business), Amarin Plaza, CentralWorld, Central Chit Lom, Gaysorn and more. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) provides lights along the BTS Skytrain pillars.