The district of Bangkok Yai was named after the canal in the area that was once part of the Chao Phraya River until canal digging in 1522 rerouted the river flow. The district has one of the highest concentration of temples in Bangkok.

One of these is the Wat Arun Ratchawararam, which housed the Emerald Buddha. The small temple is considered one of the most beautiful in the country for its stupas (mounds) decorated with floral chinaware.