Tuesday, May 15, 2018

#MyKrungthep Good Morning Old Bangkok 7:
Thonburi ธนบุรี Walking Tour

See the locations on Thonburi Walking Tour Google Map by #MyKrungthep

Wat Arun after sunset

On the west side of Chao Phraya River you stumble into the history of Old Bangkok. Thon Buri (ธนบุรี) used to be the capital of Siam for a short time during the reign of King Taksin. After the Burmese had sacked the former capital Ayutthaya King Taksin relocated the capital to Thonburi in 1782. But ten years later his successor King Rama I. removed his royal seat across the Chao Phraya river to the village of Bang-Koh, the capital was named Rattanakosin. Therefore Thonburi for centuries remained an agricultural land with canals (Klongs) and fruit orchards. Much of this peaceful peaceful atmosphere can still be discovered in the backstreets and on boats on the Klongs.

For our walking tour we take the ferry from Tha Tian Pier to Wat Arun.

Wat Arun วัด อรุณ: Wat Arun is the temple of Dawn. A Buddhist temple named Wat Makok had existed at this site since the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The temple was renamed Wat Chaeng by King Taksin when he established his new capital. The temple was located in grounds of the royal palace. After the capital was moved, the temple was abandoned for a long period until Rama II restored it and extended the pagoda to 70 meters.
The main feature of Wat Arun is its central prang a Khmer-style tower, decorated with colourful porcelain and 250 feet high. The corners are surrounded by four smaller satellite prang. The prang are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.The presiding Buddha image in the Ordintion Hall next to the prang, cast in the reign of Rama II, is said to have been designed by the king himself. The ashes of King Rama II are interred in the base of the image. The Construction of the tall prang and four smaller ones was started by King Rama II during 1809-1824 and completed by King Rama III (1824–1851). The towers are supported by rows of demons and monkeys. The circumference of the base of the structure is 234 metres. Over the second terrace are four statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on Erawan. At the riverside are six pavilions (sala) in Chinese style. The pavilions are made of green granite and contain landing bridges.

Picture by JasonDGreat

Picture by h0lydevil

Picture by Pimthida

Picture by jscoke

Picture by gatgetdan

Picture by gatgetdan

From Wat Arun we can walk along Chao Phraya River until we reach Klong Bangkok Yai. As there is no bridge we have to turn to Arun Ammarin Road to cross the Klong. We follow the road until we can turn left into Soi Kanlaya 3.

Wat Kalayanimit วัดกัลยาณมิตรวรมหาวิหาร: Wat Kalayanamitr is a Buddhist temple that was founded in 1825 by the Chinese nobleman Chao Phraya Nikorn Bodin (Toh Kalayanamitr). He built the temple in honour of King Rama III. The name of the wat means “good friend” and illustrates the close relationship between the Chinese community and the royal court at that time, as thailandtatler.com notes. The architectural style of Wat Kalayanamitr is primarily that of a Buddhist Thai temple. But the viharn, ubosot and many other smaller buildings sit in an inner courtyard surrounded by statues, a Chinese stone pagoda, ceremonial gates and other decorations imported from China. It is said that the Chinese decorative elements found their way to the temple during the days of Sino-Siamese trading in the form of ships’ ballast. Read more background about Wat Kalayanimit and Kuan Im Shrine on lordofgoldenland.blogspot.com.
See the Buddha.

Picture by Sphimm

Picture by Fringer

Picture by -AX-

Not far from this temple is Bang Luang Mosque มัสยิดบางหลวง, "a Thai-style building that made it look more like a Buddhist temple than a place of worship for people of the Islamic faith", as Bangkok Post described it. Around the mosque lives a well integrated Muslim community, as padthai describes.

Bang Luang Mosque

And only some steps from Wat Kalayanimit you discover and old Chinese shrine:
Kuan Im Shrine: Between Soi Kanlaya 6 and Chao Phraya River. An old shrine to Kuan Im, the goddess of mercy and for good fortune, peace and fertility, faces the river not far from Wat Kalayanamit. Inside, where no photography is allowed, you will discover some large murals of mythical Chinese figures. A large number of bells and chimes hang from the eaves around the courtyard.

Picture by Fringer

Picture by runran

From here we walk along Chao Phraya River. We will pass this old house with a lot of wood decorations:

Picture by Fringer

Picture by Fringer

A litte bit later we reach the first Catholic Church in Thonburi.

Church of Santa Cruz: The Portuguese had given military support to King Taksin to help him drive out the Burmese from Siam. Grateful for that King Taksin granted the Portuguese land for the church. The first Santa Cruz Church was a wooden building constructed in 1770. Later a new Chinese-style church was built here, influenced by the Chinese community that stayed around Wat Kalayanamit. It was called "Kudichin church" (Chinese church). In 1916, the third and current Santa Cruz Church was built during the reign of King Rama IV, now in Italian-style architecture. This area is also known as birthplace of a famous cupcake, Khanom Farank Kudichin.

Picture by DarkB4Dawn

Picture by Fringer

Picture by Fringer

From the church we follow Thetsaban Sai 1 Road. And soon we can see the white chedi of Wat Prayoon.

Wat Prayoon วัดประยุรวงศาวาสวรวิหาร: Built by Rama III early in the 19th century. There is an artificial hill in the compound, dotted with small chedis, spirit houses and frangipani trees, and surrounded by a pool filled with turtles. It has been designed by King Rama III. You can feed the turtles with papaya and other fruits on sale at a stall. At the back of the temple compound is a large white chedi in Ayuthaya style. However, the chedi is not in very good condition and the entrance pavilion to the upper terrace surrounding the chedi appears to be permanently blocked off. If you walk around the chedi, you'll find an exit onto a side street which runs along the side of the temple. Turn left and walk down this small lane until you reach a large main road, where you turn right. The gate marking the entrance to Wat Kalayanamit is a short way down on your right.

Picture by Pimthida

Picture by Steve, Tanja, Leon & Lukas

Picture by Steve, Tanja, Leon & Lukas

Picture by Steve, Tanja, Leon & Lukas

Princess Mother Memorial Park อุทยานเฉลิมพระเกียรติสมเด็จพระศรีนครินทราบรมราชชนนี: The late Princess Mother, daughter of a goldsmith, became the mother of two kings. Her Royal Highness Princess Srinakarin passed away in 1995. A small museum park was built in the area. And there is a small museum dedicated to the memory of the Princess Mother. A small lane lined with shops leads to the Princess Mother Memorial Park.

Picture by adaptorplug

Picture by adaptorplug
Part of a relief in the centre of the Princess Mother Memorial Park.

Kuan Ou Shrine ศาลเจ้าพ่อกวนอู: Also: Guan Yu Shrine. Located on the Thonburi bank of the Chao Phraya. It dates almost certainly from before Bangkok's founding. This area was the main port of Siam back in the time when Ayutthaya was the capital. The district was home of traders from many countries, including China and India, and later Portugal and and other European countries. Here used to bee the main docks where ships from China and Europe would offload cargoes to be sent further up the river to Ayutthaya. The shrine is dedicated to the ancient Chinese god of war. Kuan Yu, an ancient Chinese general in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, played a central role in the civil wars among the warring kingdoms of China. The shrine is an octagonal pavilion under a pagoda roof with a praetorian guard of dragons, the symbol of the emperor, strength and wisdom. Dragons glide down the roof, coil round the pillars within the shrine and the ornamental lamppost outside.

Picture by marhas

Picture by Jay Seedy

Wat Pichai Yathikaram: There is no record of when Wat Phitchaya Yatikaram Worawiharn (วัดพิชยญาติการามวรวิหาร) was originally built. It was almost certainly during the time when Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam. Later the temple was deserted. Around 1830, during the reign of King Rama III Lord Bunnag, a high ranking official in the king’s court, discovered the temple and decided to restore it as a favour to the king. Most of the materials used in the construction of the temple were actually brought from China. See the chedi.

Memorial Bridge Pier: Also: Phra Buddha Yodfa. The locals call the pier Saphan Phut. Memorial Bridge is the first bridge over the Chao Phraya River built in 1932.

See also:
The Secret Coves of Thonburi - video on youtube
Darren Wolfs Photos of Thonburi

Discover more in Thonburi:
Floating Markets: Klong Lad Mayom Floating Market, Taling Chan Floating Market and Wat Sai Floating Market. Read more and see pictures: Famous and hidden markets in Bangkok.
Klong tours: Follow Khlong Bangkok Noi, visit the Royal Barge National Museum, Wat Suwannaram and Bangkok Noi Museum. Read more: Treasures along the Khlong: Bangkok Noi คลองบางกอกน้อย.
Follow Klong Bangkok Yai until you reach Taling Chan Floating Market: Treasures along the khlong: Bangkok Yai คลองบางกอกใหญ.
Visit one outstanding wooden house on Khlong Bang Luang: Baan Silapin, the artist's house ริมคลองบางหลวง. Now there is a Coffee shop on the first floor and a studio where visitors can learn to draw and make woodcuts and jewellery. Read more: Treasures along the Khlong: Baan Silapin - the artist's house in Khlong Bang Luang.

Discover more in Bangkok:
#MyKrungthep: Your Guide to Bangkok

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