Bang Rak is another historic district that is full of culture interesting attractions. In this blog, I will show you what the district has to offer for tourists. You will learn about Silom Road, Assumption Cathedral, Bang Rak Market, Wat Sri Mahamariamman, Sulakastan, Bangkok Folk Museum, Grand Postal Building, Wat Suan Phlu, Harun Mosque, Jael Aeng Beal Shrine, the Reading Room, and Neilson Hays Library.
Silom Road is a fascinating mix between the old-fashioned and the modern look of the area in the heart of Bangkok. In day time, the road is vivacious and full of working life. But for the tourists, this place is the source of countless restaurants, shopping centers, as well as religious places, old community area and learning centre which offer a more relaxed and vibrant mood rather than nearby areas like Sathorn and Siam.
In these passing years, Silom Road becomes another fine line to celebrate a great splash every year attracting people from everywhere to gather together for fun activities all day and night.
In the nightime, colourful nightlife fills both sides of Silom Road especially at Soi Taniya, Silom and Phatphong which are famous world wide. These small Sois are packed with a great selection of hangout hotspots from pumping pubs to rooftop bar and restaurants where many wild funky shows and live gigs are available for all visitors.
The two centuries old Italian-renaissance cathedral, Assumption Cathedral was built by Thai-Portuguese Friar Pascal to be the centre of the Catholic community in Thailand and to serve as the residence for the Bishop of the Mission to Siam.
Assumption Cathedral was designed by a French architect and its ornaments such as marble and stained glass were imported from Italy and France. Assumption Cathedral is a red brick building with white mouldings. Assumption Cathedral’s interior is decorated with frescoes and bas-relieves depicting scenes from the Testaments and it also has 46 stained glass windows.
Assumption Cathedral is often the site for famous couple’s wedding ceremony. Pop John Paul II is amongst the notable guests to visit the episcopal cathedral.
Bang Rak Market
Ban Rak, built in the colonial era, its unique architectural designs helps this area really stand out. Bang Rak District was once a thriving foreign community after the Charoenkrung Road was paved. The fresh market located here once sold beef, venison, mutton, as well as rabbit meat to all the best kitchens in the city.
Food stall along sidewalk at Bang Rak Market. Photo credit: sarakadee.com/
Some shops in Bang Rak Market dating back to this previous era including the Boontip Thai dessert shop, S. Boon prakop, Prajak grilled duck restaurant and many bakery shops such as Punlee and Numserm. There is also a grocery store in the traditional chinese style opposite from the Yan Wo Yun building. For this reason, the local people living nearby or food lovers like to visit Bangkok Rak Market for diversity of food experience. If you stay at hotels around Sathorn area or close to Sathorn Pier, visiting Bang Rak Market is recommended.
Photo credit: sarakadee.com/
Wat Sri Mahamariamman (Wat Khaek Silom)
Thailand’s first Hindu temple, Wat Sri Mahamariamman was built in Rama V’s reign by Tamil immigrants who asked the permission from Rama V to build a proper place to worshop Mariamman, the Supreme Hindu goddess.
Photo credit: plynoi.com27
Wat Sri Mahamariamman was built in Southern India architectural style with Chola and Pala influences. Wat Sri Mahamariamman’s main hall is in the centre of sanctuary, surrounded by walls with arcs adorned with bright-coloured tiles. In the past, Wat Sri Mahamariamman was closed in the afternoon to perform Hindu rituals but now it opens all day long due to increasing number of believers.
The most important festival of Wat Sri Mahamariamman is ‘Navratri’, which is held in October and lasts for nine nights. The festival is dedicated to worship the goddess Mariamman. On the final night, the parade, accompanying Mariamman Icon, marches along Silom Road. This makes the festival both sacred and colourful.
This Neo-Palladian architecture, aged around 120 years old, was designed by the Italaian name Grazzi to be ‘Sulakastan’ or ‘Custom House’ in King Rama V’s period. It was casually called ‘rong Pasi’. Currently, it became the residence of firemen of Bang Rak Station.
Photo credit: sarakadee.com/
With its remarkable architectural appearance near the Chao Phraya River, Sulakastan becomes one of the most frequented sites for film and video shootings in Bangkok. In the future, there is a plan to renovate the building to be a hotel.
Bangkok Folk Museum
Bangkok Folk Museum is another attraction that is less visited by tourists both local and international. It’s an off-the-beaten-track attraction museum. You can read more about the museum in our blog here.
Grand Postal Building
This modern architecture postal building was built in 1935 to serve the growing postal and telegraphic communication. It is the T-shaped four-storey building (including basement) decorated functionalistically with Garuda in the two frontal corners.
In the front located the statue of Field Marshall Prince Bhanurangsi Savangwongse, the Prince Banubandhu Vongsevoradej, ‘the father of Thailand postal service.’ The grand hall at the ground floor is decorated with eight bas-relieves by Silpa Bhirasri.
After the restoration, it has reopened again in 2013. Besides functioning as a postal service as it used to be, it is also used to host conferences and other events such as exhibitions.
Photo credit: ที่ทำการไปรษณีย์กลาง
Wat Suan Phlu
Wat Suan Phlu derived its name from its old site which was a piper betle (Phlu) farm owned by Chinese farmers in the early Rattanakosin. Although it is located on Chinese peopel’s land, Wat Suan Plu is a temple in Thai traditon.
Inside the library hall amidst the pond housed the Bhodhisattiva Guanyin Shrine. As a small temple, Wat Suan Phlu is located among high rise buildings. The temple is known for the golden reclining Buddha, the spiritual shelter of the neighborhood, housed inside the hall.
Another well known spot is the row of Gingerbread style monk’s houses, which was once the religious school in Rama VII’s period. the houses are two-storey buildings, boarded by wood, painted with mustard yellow and edged by deep brown. The patterns on the houses were very beautifully executed. Unfortunately, some of the houses were recently removed.
Photo credit: diarybyonnie.com/
Located in the Harun Mosque community whereas there are a lot of good tasty Islamic foods, especially roti. It is the second mosque that was constructed in Thailand. More than two centuries old, it formerly consisted of a two-storey wooden building, built by Toh Harun, the first imam of the mosque.
Presently, the mosque is the two-storey building, decorated with the small dome in the front, with main colour tones being green and red. Inside located graceful Mimbar and Miarah Altars. Apart from being the local religious ground, it also attracts faithful ones from outside ot continuously visit and participate in sacred rituals. Harun Mosque is located on Charoen Krung Road Soi 36.
Jael Aeng Beal Shrine
Photo credit: widsawa.com/
Jael Aeng Beal Shrine or ‘Bang Rak Shrine’ the old shrine that was built by early generation of Hainan Chinese people. The shrine housed manyChinese deity statues, such as ‘Chao Mae Tabtim’, ‘Bun Tam Kong’ and many others. It is believed that the shrine was built around the period of junk ship merchandising, as the memento for 108 Hainan Chinese merchants who had sailed to Bangkok, left for Vietnam and were murdered there due to a misunderstanding that they were pirates. The shrine is located next to the BTS Taksin Station.
The Reading Room
Photo credit: bangkokhaps.com
As well as being an alternative community library, the Reading Room is more than a library because this place is truly the community of art people and intellectuals. Besides a library which provides more than a thousand books of contemporary arts and fine literature, this place also holds regular activities by artists, activists, thinkers, and academics every week by Narawan Pathomwat, the founder who curates the programs such as talks, film screenings, and book clubs. The Reading Room location is on Silom Road Soi 19.
Neilson Hays Library
This historic library which houses one of the largest collections of English language titles in Bangkok is a gift of love by Dr. Thomas Heyward Hays to his wife, Mr. Jennie Neilson Hays who lived librarian work. It is located in a spacious garden in a cozy and friendly atmosphere.
Photo credit: en.wikipedia.org/
Apart from the twenty thousand books provided for its members, there is also a children’s corner, rotating art exhibition on the weekends and special occasions for family quality time. Neilson Hays Library is located close to the entrance to Soi Pradit on Surawong Road (or Silom Road. Soi 20)
To make your trip easier, hire a private tour guide and customize your itinerary. It will save your time and you will see a lot more a long the way.