In Dusit District which is another area in Bangkok where there are many hidden historic attractons located. The district is not far from the main attractions (Grand Palace and Wat Pho etc.) and less known to foreign tourists. Therefore, the area is off-the-beaten-track. In this blog, let me walk you through these hidden historic attractions which are Wat Rachathiwas, Conception Church, St. Francis Xavier Church, Vietnamese Food at Samsen and Wat Samananaum Borihan. If you’re interested in visiting these offbeat attractions on your Bangkok trip, you can contact Explorenique to customize your Bangkok private and custom tour. Let first start off with Wat Rachathiwas.
Wat Rachathiwas Woravihara
Formerly ‘Wat Samorai’, after the major renovation under Rama IV, it was renamed to ‘Rachathiwas Woravihara’ (the temple where the king resides) because it was the King’s domain in his monkhood and established the Dharmayukti Order.
Photo credit : watraja.org
Photo credit : wikimedia.org
Another major renovation in Rama V’s reign was directed by Prince Narit. The ordination hall was built in Khmer architecture resembling Angkor Wat, inside are frescoes painted by Italian painter Carlo Riguli. There is also the temple’s teak wood sermon hall that is the biggest one in Thailand.
Photo credit : readthecloud.cowat-rajadhivas
Photo credit : Splendour
Photo credit : watraja.org
A short walk from Wat Rachathiwas , you can visit some of the oldest Catholic communities in Bangkok where the oldest church in Bangkok is located, Conception Church. The church was first built in the Ayutthaya era by Bishop Louis Laneau, who moved to Bangkok after he received consecration in Ayutthaya.
Photo credit : วัดคริสในสยาม เฟสบุคเพจ
The church and a hospital were built on the land donated by King Narai. In 1765, Portuguese and Cambodian Catholics who fled from Cambodia and came to seek refuge in Siam, settled down near the church, giving the name ‘Ban Khamen’ (Khmer Church) to the churchy.
Photo credit : วัดคอนเซ็ปชัญ เฟสบุคเพจ
The quarter is Bangkok’s oldest Catholic community and consists of people of various descents. Conception Church houses the highly revered icon of the Virgin Mary.
St. Francis Xavier Church
Close to the Conception Church, there is another old church that you can make a short visit as well and that is St. Francis Xavier Church. First, St. Francis Xavier Church was a bamboo church built alongside a large pavillion built to shelter the refugees under Rama III’s reign.
Money and land for construction were donated by Rama III. Later, the Catholic Community at Samsen had grown and a better constructed church was needed; therefore, the new church was built and consecrated at the St. Francis Xavier feast in 1867.
Vietnamese Food at Samsen
You will also find Vietnamese quarter market or locally called Talad Ban Yuan close to St. Francis Savier Church. The marekt is located on Samsen Road Soi 13. At the market, there are numerous food stalls along the lane. The market not only sells foods but also sells other goods like toys and clothing.
The recommended dish is Fish Pho (Pla Krim Pla). Ban Yuan Market or Talad Ban Yuan in local name, is a morning market. It opens everyday but it is more bustling than usual on Sunday due to churchgoers.
Wat Samananaum Borihan (Wat Yuan Saphan Khao)
From Ban Yan Market, the Vietnamese market, there is also a Vietnames temple that is interesting to view in term of architecture. The temple name is Wat Samananaum Boriha and was established by Vietnamese regugees from Hue who entered Siam in the reign of King Rama III.
The temple is situated on Phadung Krung Kasem Canal. It is Annam Nikai (Vietnamese Mahayana) temple. The temple’s Vietnamese architecture is heavily influenced by Chinese architecture. The temple is the centre of the Saphan Khao Community and its vicinity. Bao Un, a highly reversed monk, was the temple’s abbot.