Street-by-Street: Old Farang Quarter

26

Nov
2021

Street-by-Street: Old Farang Quarter

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This area was Bangkok’s original port and foreign commercial district in the 19th century. In 1820 Portugal was granted land in Bangkok, which resulted in the construction of the Portuguese Embassy. Embassies of other countries, such as France, soon followed. These outside influences created an amalgam of Western and Eastern architectural styles. Charoen Krung (New) Road, the first road in Thailand to be paved, cuts through the Old Farang Quarter and is home to gem traders, tailors, and antique dealers. The elegant Assumption Cathedral faces Bangkok’s only European-style square. The Quarter’s back streets are surprisingly quiet and contain some attractive wooden houses.

House of Gems is a tiny shop/museum selling rocks and fossils. Geological oddities – such as dinosaur droppings and tektites (glassy meteorites) – can be seen here.

Harmonique restaurant is one of a row of Chinese shophouses built around 1900.

The Haroon Mosque is a quaint stucco building with a Muslim graveyard. The mosque, which faces Mecca, is off a street lined with wooden houses.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel

The world-renowned Mandarin Oriental Hotel was established in 1876 by two Danish sea captains. In 1958 a new structure (the Tower Wing) was added, and in 1976 the 10-story River Wing opened.

The China House, one of Bangkok’s most expensive restaurants, is in a building dating from the reign of King Vajiravudh. The structure next door, the Commercial Co. of Siam, was erected in the same era.

Assumption Cathedral

This elegantly decorated cathedral was built in 1910. The cathedral’s Rococo interior features a high, vaulted ceiling and a striking marble altar from France.

Wat Suan Phu is distinguished by its carved wooden buildings and the Phra Bodhisattva Kuan-Im, a Chinese shrine over a carp pond.

 

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