Bangkok Back In Time: Kudijeen & Beyond
Bangkok's Portuguese history is very visible in the Kudijeen (*) area whether it comes to food, religion, or architecture, but there's plenty more to see and admire.
I've walked/cycled in this area several times over the years but all pre-Covid, so it seemed like a good idea for an update, this time accompanied by an old friend of mine; Corne.
We met near Itsaraphap MRT Station, started walking from there, and arrived at Ton Son Mosque, approximately 400 years old! However the present building though dates from 1952.
The cemetery has been in use for over 300 years!
The single-story teak wooden Islamic Association building dates from 1915.
We continued strolling and found a very different building, at first glance another Buddhist temple, but this was Bang Luang Mosque!
Bang Luang Mosque was founded at the same time as Rattanakosin and it was probably built in the reign of King Rama I by a Muslim merchant named Toh Yi.
It is one of the few remaining mosques built in the Thai architectural style.
Behind the mosque was another cemetery, which had this unusual tomb.
Walking through narrow alleys and along khlongs was all part of the fun, including crossing this 'bridge'...
This friendly local showed us the easiest way to our next destination: Kuan Un Keng Shrine
One of the oldest in Bangkok, this Hokkien temple was founded in the second half of the 18th century.
Its wood carvings are very impressive.
But the murals are also worth a closer look as all the characters' faces are 3-dimensional!
We were very pleased to see the Chaophraya riverside cycling/footpath open again as it had been closed for a few years due to renovation.
New were these mirror info signs (Thai only!), which look really fancy, but actually are hard to read...
Great views though of all the boat activities and the skyscraper skyline!
The old gingerbread-style wooden house is called Baan Khun Phra Pra Kob but sadly enough in a terrible state...
The current roman catholic Santa Cruz Church was built in 1913–1916 to replace a second structure from 1845.
It was first built on this site, which had been granted to a community of Portuguese Catholics, around 1770.
There are several shops nearby offering Thai-Portuguese cakes and snacks as well as cooking courses. For more understanding of this area visit Baan Kudichin, an excellent little museum!
Wat Prayurawongsawas Woravihara was built about 200 years ago and stands out with its massive bell-shaped chedi surrounded by 18 smaller ones.
There are (narrow!) staircases leading up the chedi providing visitors with excellent views of the area.
Another part of this temple is Khao Tao, a Chinese-style artificial hill, where many tortoises muck about...
By now we're in Klong San and wandering about in another old neighborhood, looking for another mosque...
In the 1800s a group of Indian traders arrived from Surat during the time of Rama IV and were given permission to convert a warehouse into a mosque. As a result, Goowatin Islam Mosque continued to serve as a community house for local Muslims.
Not far from this mosque, we visited Gong Wu Shrine which has a history dating back to over 268 years.
Once inside we went up to the 3rd floor, admired the riverview, and ended our trip with lunch in a nearby restaurant!
Overall a very satisfying walk with lots of interesting aspects, not the least that locals worshipping different faiths can actually live together relatively peacefully!
(*) Note that the English spelling of names can vary wildly; Kudijeen / Kudi Chin / Kudichin, Ton Son Mosque / Masjid Tonson, Goowatin Islam Mosque / Masjid Guwatil Islam, etc.