Kudi Jeen : the Older Bangkok Neighborhood

Visiting less visited attractions is getting popular for most of travelers these day. These off-the-beaten-path attractions are not yet known to new visitors but they’re well known by locals. Bangkok has so many offbeat sites that are worth to explore. In this blog, I will talk about Kudi Jeen, Santa Cruz Church, Wat Kanlayanamitra, Wat Prayurawongsawas Woravihara and Kian Un Keng Shrine. These attractions arelocally known and located on Thoburi side, the opposite to the Grand Palace. Thonburi was once the thrid Kingdom of Thailand. That means this part of Bangkok is older than Bangkok. Thus, it is worth to explore for those who want to get away from mainstream attractions. Let’s first visit Kudi Jeen.

Kudi Jeen

Kudi Jeen

The neighborhood dates back over two hundred years since the Thonburi Period. It’s located on the west bank of Chao Phraya River that King Taksin bestowed on the Portuguese settlement. As the area of ethnic diversity where Thai, Chinese, Yuan, Mon and Portuguese live together harmoniously, Kudi Jeen became an attraction suited for those who want to stay away from crowded attractions such as Wat Pho or the Grand Palace.

Kudi Jeen's graffiti

The magnificent cultural heritage of Kudi Jeen includes the Santa Cruz Church, Kian Un Keng Shrine, Wat Kanlayanamitra Wora Maha Vihara, Wat Prayurawongsawas Woravihara and famous dessert called ‘kanom farang kudi jeen’; the method of cooking and the receipe were introduced by the Portuguese.

Kanom Farang

Santa Cruz Church : the Second Oldest Church in Bangkok

After the Thon Buri Kingdom was founded, Corre, a French priest asked King Taksin for land to build a church which was named, ‘Santa Cruz’, which means ‘the cross’. In King rama III’s period, Bishop Pallegoiz saw another church construction and established as a resembled a Chinese temple, the church became known as Kudi Jeen.

Santa Cruz Church, Kudi JeenPhoto by posttoday.com

The current church is the third renovation which was built in 1913 by Guilielomo Kinh Da Cruz. It is a Renaissance-Neoclassical building, with a semiciorcle dome tower and graceful arch as distinctive features.

santa cruz church near Kian Un Keng ShrinePhoto by Painaidee.com

The interior is decorated with mosaic glasses. In the courtyard the rectangular bell tower with dome, decorated with stucco nis housed. There are sculptures depicting legends of Jesus in fourteen parts and the priest’s house. The building is a western design with its gate decorated with a symbol of the church. During Chirstmas, the church celebrates eminently and shares the joy with the community nearby.

Wat Kanlayanamitra

Wat Kanlayanamitra, Kudi JeenPhoto by dhammathai.org

Wat Kanlayanamitra is situated on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, near the southern side of the mouth of the Khlong Bangkok Yai. Chao Phraya Nikonbodin (Toh), ancestor of the Kanlaynamit family donated his own land and purchased additional land nearby which was the Kudi Jeen village, to construct the temple in 1825. King Rama III ordered the royal vihara to be built in Thai architectural style and the principal Buddha statue which was subsequesntly named by King Rama IV as ‘Phra Buddha Trai Rattana Nayok’ or ‘Luang Pho Toh’ or ‘Sam Po Kong’ (called by Chinese in the country).Wat Kanlayanamitra, Kudi Jeen, ThonburiPhoto by dhammathai.org

The Chinese style ubosot, a popular style at that which contains a pediment that has no decoration of chofa, bai raka and hang hong, enshrines the principal Buddha image in  the Palilai posture. The temple is also famous for the murals, the belfry enclosing the biggest bell in Thailand as well as the Tripitaka hall. The temple’s visitors believe that paying respects here will bring them friendship and a safe trip.

Wat Kanlayanamitra, near Kian Un Keng Shrine, Kudi JeenPhoto by Nostra

Wat Prayurawongsawas Woravihara

Wat PrayurawongsawasPhra Boromathat Maha Chedi Photo by เรื่องเที่ยว เรื่องกินของข้า

The temple is located near the foot of the Saphan Phra Phuttha Yodfa on the Thon Buri Bank. The name ‘Wat Prayurawongsawas’ was granted by King rama III, nevertheless, also known as ‘Wat Rua Lek’ (which literally means iron fenced monastery). Luang Pho Phra Buddha Nak, the Buddha image of the Sukhothai period in the Pang Mara Wichai is enshrined in the large viharas. It’s believed that Luang Pho Phra Buddha Nak and Phra Si sakaya Muni of Wat Suthat Thep Wararam would be paired Buddha images.

Wat PrayurawongsawasPhoto by เรื่องเที่ยว เรื่องกินของข้า

The major attractions of the temple are the Phra Boromathat Maha Chedi, the 60-metre-high white chedi in a bell shape containing the Buddha relic which as been well restored and received the award from the UNESCO. There is also Khao Mor Garden, highlighted with the replica of a stone cliff in the pond.

Khao Moor, Wat Prayurawongsawas, Kudi JeenKhao Mor Garden Photo by เรื่องเที่ยว เรื่องกินของข้า

Kian Un Keng Shrine

Last but not least, Kian Un Keng Shrine, a very old Chinese shrine that is worth a visit. Chinese people from southern Fujian, China, the ancestors of the Tantivejakul and Simasatien families, had come to worship at the shrine and saw their deteriorated condition. They then reconstructed and united the shrine.

Kian Un Keng Shrine, next to Santa Cruz Church

Kian Un Keng Shrine, next to Santa Cruz Church

The new shrine housed the Guanyin image which is considered a cultural as well as artistic heritage. Inside the area there is a serene and revernet atmosphere. The temple still retains the original layout unique to ancient Chinese shrine. It’s decorated with wood carvings, murals and plaster ornaments all of which are still in good condition.

Kian Un Keng Shrine, next to Santa Cruz Church

In conclusion

If you are not a typlical tourist and look for unexploited sites in Bangkok, I hope this blog provides you with useful info about hidden gem attractions in Bangkok. You can visit the sites on your own with some research for direction. But if you do not have time for research, hiring a tour guide to show you the attractions and even more a long the tour will be alternative. Check out Explorenique’s private custom tour, The tour experience that allows you to customize your own travel experience in and around Bangkok. Your Bangkok experience will be so smooth.