Yan Nawa was once a busy trade center along the riverside before arriving at the center of the old Siam. It was once called Ban Thawai, or Ban Khok Khwai, due to a large concentration of Tavoy people who often brought water buffalo to market to exchange. It became Ban Thawai District during the reign of King Chulalongkorn and was originally part of Phra Pradaeng Province. When the province was abolished in 1932, the northern parts were added to Phra Nakhon Province (Bangkok). Ban Tavoy was then renamed Yan Nawa District in accordance with the earlier renaming of Wat Ban Thawai to Wat Yan Nawa. It became a khet in 1972 and the current khwaeng in 1975. In 1989, parts of Yan Nawa were split off to form two new districts, Sathorn and Bang Kho Laem. Wat Yan Nawa, the temple that inherits the district’s name, is now located in Sathon district.
Yan Nawa is better known as the Rama 3 area. The once busy trade center on the Chao Phraya river, it has become a quiet, mainly residential area after most of the trade and businesses made use of the river for daily commerce in the old days. Rama 3 road still follows the riverside in memory of days long past. If you want to get away from the bustle of modern Bangkok, Yan Nawa is a great area to explore by foot or by bicycle.
Yan Nawa has been overlooked when it comes to public transportation. It is not reachable by the modern train or subway systems, but can easily be explored by bus for those who feel adventurous. The area is full of subtle memories of the old Bangkok and well worth exploring. Yan Nawa is also a great place if quiet living is of interest. Although you are outside of busy Bangkok, you will still find all you need, and then some.