[THAILAND] LOCAL DAILY LIFE & CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN CHAROEN KRUNG BANGRAK – Travel Diary

If we’re talking about Bangkok, surely what comes to mind is delicious food and shopping. Yes, those two are the Bangkok’s main attraction for tourist. But do you know if Bangkok also has a historical and culturally diverse area to explore?

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For those who love to explore local culture and experience local daily life in Bangkok, you should visit Bangrak, the district which famous among Thais for its diverse local culture. Bangrak is one of the 50 districts in Bangkok and has a long history where east meets west.

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The main highlight of Bangrak area is the Charoen Krung road that influenced by Chinese, Muslims, and European traders in the past. With these influences, Bangrak is famous for its cultural diversity where you can find the temple, mosque, and church adjacent to each other.

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Jael Aeng Beal (ศาลเจ้าเจียวเองเบี้ยว)

We started our walking tour from Thai-Chinese shrine Jael Aeng Beal (ศาลเจ้าเจียวเองเบี้ยว), located beside the Taksin Saphon Sky-Train station, at the opposite of Shangrila Hotel. The existence of Jael Aeng Beal marks the entry of Chinese community in Thailand and nowadays they still come to worship in this shrine.

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Jael Aeng Beal (ศาลเจ้าเจียวเองเบี้ยว)
Charoen Krung 50 Alley, Khwaeng Bang Rak
Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand


Ban Oou Mosque (มัสยิดบ้านอู่)

Located around 150 m from Jael Aeng Beal there is Ban Oou Mosque (มัสยิดบ้านอู่), the first registered mosque in Bangkok. This mosque tracebacks its roots in the 18th century at the time of King Rama V, though recently it has been renovated, still some portion of the mosque remain as old as 100 years.

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Since the number of Muslim people from Yawa or Jawa came into Bangkok during the reign of King Rama IV, later Ban Oou Muslim Community had been set up since the reign of King Rama V and it has been the first registered mosque of Bangkok since November 29, 1948.

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From Ban Oou Mosque, we continue strolling at Charoen Krung road, which is famous for its commercial area with many stores, restaurants, and shops. There are also many delicious street vendors that offer delicious food, snack, and drinks.

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Ban Oou Mosque (มัสยิดบ้านอู่)
Soi Charoen Krung 46, Khwaeng Bang Rak
Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand


Wat Suan Phlu (วัดสวนพลู)

Still in the same area, just around 400 m from Ban Ooou Mosque, there is a Thai-Chinese temple Wat Suan Phlu (วัดสวนพลู). All of the buildings except the Ubosot (main prayer room and one of the most important structures of the wat) are made of wood. The Ubosot is decorated in a quite unique way with blue glass tiles. On the walls, you’ll discover a series of painted panels. This temple is quite unique since there is an elementary school located in the wat or temple complex.

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From the main gate of Wat Suan Phlu, you can also see the contrast between old and modern Bangkok with The State Tower behind. That is 247 meters, one of the tallest buildings in Southeast Asia with Sirocco restaurant at the rooftop.

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Wat Suan Phlu (วัดสวนพลู)
89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, Bang Rak
Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand


Assumption Cathedral (อาสนวิหารอัสสัมชัญ)

We move on from Wat Suan Phlu, following Charoen Krung road and turn to the gate of the Assumption Cathedral (อาสนวิหารอัสสัมชัญ). This outstanding cathedral with twin towers and a central rose window – the red brick is a contrast to the surrounding white walls – is the main Roman Catholic church of Bangkok. The Romanesque building with Rococo style interior and the using of material imported from France and Italy clearly mark the influence from Europe. And next to the church you’ll see the Assumption College, the most renowned Catholic university in Thailand.

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Assumption Cathedral (อาสนวิหารอัสสัมชัญ)
Oriental Ave, Khwaeng Bang Rak
Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand
Phone: +66 2 237 5277
assumption-cathedral.com


Haroon Mosque (มัสยิดฮารูณ)

The next stop is Haroon Mosque (มัสยิดฮารูณ). It was built by Toh Haroon Bafaden from Borneo, Indonesia. A Muslim community has developed around the mosque and returns to prayer here every Friday. Around the mosque, there is Muslim village where the Muslim community lives.

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Haroon Mosque (มัสยิดฮารูณ)
25 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Bang Rak
Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand


After walking for almost 2 hours, we stop to had a lunch with beef noodle at Wat Muang Kae. This humble vendor at Soi 34 (entrance of Wat Muang Kae), prior to the Central Post Office is considered as the best beef noodle in town! Their signature uber delicious soup noodle comes with the selection of vermicelli and rice noodle, the generous portion of juicy and tender beef, and meatballs with fresh and thick beef broth. It’s amazingly good!

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After finishing lunch, we stroll back to Charoen Krung Road, move a bit north. We visit our last destination, the Bangkok General Post Office. It was built in art-deco-style and once used as the British Embassy.

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Overall, cultural diversity is what makes Bangrak as interesting as it is. The Thais, Chinese, Muslim, Christian community can live in harmony together because of mutual respect and tolerance. It’s sucg a good example for us where we can learn how they living harmoniously in the midst of diversity.

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Thailand Travel Series:

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Charoen Krung Rd

Khwaeng Bang Rak
Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand

Lenght of Visit: 2-3 hours

MAP

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