The white-washed Mahakan Fort is one of two surviving citadels that defended the old walled city. The octagonal fort is a picturesque, if brief and hot, stop en route to Golden Mount, but the neighbouring village is more interesting. This small community of wooden houses has been here for more than 100 years. But since the mid-1990s it has fought the Bangkok municipal government’s plan to demolish it and create a ‘tourist’ park.
The community blocked progress and even proposed the development of another tourist attraction: a lí·gair (bawdy dance-drama) museum honouring the dance tradition that traces its creation to a school located here in 1897. Some of the homes were eventually demolished, resulting in the park you see today. But behind the fort many others remain (for now). Visitors are welcome. Climb the ramparts (not for children) running away from the fort and walk to the far end, where stairs lead down and into the village.