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Unveiling the Charm of Kudi Chin

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Explore the hidden charm of Kudi Chin in Bangkok, emerging as a hidden gem, weaving together centuries of history, diverse communities, and artistic charm along its narrow alleyways.

About Kudi Chin

Kudi Chin, also spelled Kudeejeen or Kudi Jeen, is a Portuguese area of Bangkok founded in 1767, after the fall of Ayutthaya, Thailand’s old capital city. Located on the West bank of the Chaophraya River, the area is renowned for its Catholic community, primarily consisting of Portuguese descendants. 

King Taksin granted a parcel of land to the Portuguese in 1767, and by 1769, the construction of Santa Cruz Church took place, which still stands to this day. This historic neighborhood is home to diverse communities of various faiths coexisting in close proximity and is divided into six communities, encompassing Thai Buddhists, Mon, Chinese, Portuguese, and Thai Muslims.

As of 2014, the community was comprised of approximately 1,850 people in 293 households.
The broader neighborhood encompasses areas around Wat Kanlayanamit, Kudi Khao Mosque, and the Chinese Kuan An Keng Shrine, all interconnected by a bicycle lane and promenade along the Chao Phraya River.

Kudi Chin is made up of narrow alleyways lined with old shophouses, adorned with intricate wooden carvings and colorful facades and walking through the small community takes you on a journey through time. Wandering through the area, you’ll also encounter quaint cafes, art galleries, and boutique shops, each offering a glimpse into Bangkok’s artistic and creative side.

There are several ancient temples and shrines, where you can witness locals practicing age-old rituals and traditions. The atmosphere here is tranquil, providing a welcome respite from the bustling metropolis beyond its borders. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking an escape from the modern world, Kudi Chin is a place that promises to captivate your senses and leave you with cherished memories of its cultural tapestry.

Things to Do and See

 Visit Santa Cruz Church

Most visitors enter Kudi Chin through the Kudi Chin Cross River Pier in front of the Santa Cruz Church. Cardinal Pallegoix initiated the replacement of the initial church with a second wooden structure. The first renovation took place in 1835, where the Cardinal, incorporating a distinctly Chinese design, constructed a new wooden church. Locals affectionately dubbed the church “Kudi Chin,” signifying the Chinese influence in its architecture. Consequently, the community surrounding the church became known as Kudi Chin. The second refurbishment occurred in 1916, under the rule of King Rama VI (1910 – 1925).

Helo Nomsod restaurant is situated next to the pier, facing the church and offers a diverse selection of coffee and beverages, along with delicious food options.
The church is worth a brief visit, unless, of course, you plan to attend a mass. All visitors are welcome and mass is available Monday to Saturday at 6:00 and 19:00. Sunday mass is at 6:00, 8:30, and 19:00. Mass also takes place on the first Friday of the month at 08.00 and 19.00. Special occasions mass is at 19.00. 

Address:
12 Soi Kudi Chin, Wat Kanlaya,
Thon Buri, Bangkok 10600

Map: View Map.

Visit the Kudi Chin Museum (Free Admission)

The Baan Kudichin Museum is a three-story renovated wooden house that shares the rich history of the community. The ground floor features a café and souvenir shop for visitors. The second and third floors house exhibits showcase objects from the centuries ago illustrating the way of life and faith of the community. The museum also explores Portugal–Thailand relations, Thai loanwords derived from the Portuguese language, and the origin of the Siamese–Portuguese connection. The collection includes old photographs depicting the vibrant history of the community.

Address:
271 Thetsaban Sai 1 Rd, Khwaeng Watkanlaya,
Khet Thon Buri, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600

Google Map: View Map.

Hours:
Tuesday – Sunday : 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Monday : Closed
Phone:
081.772.5184

Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan

Nestled along the tranquil banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan stands as a testament to Thailand’s rich cultural and religious heritage. This ancient temple, also known as Wat Prayoon, boasts a unique blend of architectural styles, incorporating traditional Thai elements with a touch of Chinese influence. The highlight of the temple is the large white stupa, which is surrounded by lush greenery and serene ponds inhabited by turtles. As visitors wander through the temple grounds, they encounter intricate statues, century-old structures, and a serene atmosphere conducive to contemplation.

Address:
24 Prajadhipok Rd, Wat Kanlaya, Thon Buri, Bangkok 10600

Maps: View Map.

Hours:
Daily from 7AM – 6PM

Khanom Farang Kudi Chin

“Khanom farang kudi chin” is a unique dessert that blends Portuguese and Chinese cake influences. This delectable treat is crafted using traditional ingredients such as wheat flour, duck eggs, and sugar. The preparation involves baking on a charcoal brazier, and the final touch includes a topping of raisins, persimmon, winter melon, and white sugar. For a taste of this unique dessert, visit Lan Mae Pah, Thanusingha, and Pah Aum Phan bakeries, where it is skillfully crafted. These are the three remaining families that produce the khanom farang kudi chin.  

Kian Un Keng Shrine

Kian Un Keng Shrine is a revered cultural temple that holds deep historical significance. Dedicated to Chinese deities, this shrine serves as a spiritual hub for the local community and visitors alike. The ornate architecture, adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant colors, reflects the rich cultural heritage Kudi Chin. Pilgrims come to seek blessings, and the atmosphere resonates with the sounds of traditional rituals. Exploring the Kian Un Keng Shrine, you’ll witness a harmonious blend of spirituality and artistic beauty, offering a captivating glimpse into the cultural tapestry of Kudi Chin.

Address:
30 Thetsaban Sai 1 Rd, Wat Kanlaya,
Thon Buri, Bangkok 10600

Map: View Map.

Getting to Kudi Chin

Board the Chao Phraya Express Boat and head to Saphan Phut. From there, take the short ferry crossing from Atsadang Pier to Wat Kanlayanamit Cross River Pier. It’s only 5 minutes walk to Kudi Chin.

About the Author

Scott Mallon is an American-born photojournalist who has called Bangkok, Thailand his home since 1995. His words and images have been featured by HBO Sports, the Bangkok Post, the Guardian, the Phuket Gazette, Marie Claire, Irrawaddy Magazine, Ring Magazine, Boxing Digest, Boxing News, Black Belt Magazine and various other publications. In 2008, Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University exhibited his photographs from the 2008 Beijing Olympics in "One World, One Dream.

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