Kudeejeen in Bangkok is one of those places that everyone should visit. It’s a small community with easy walkable alleyways on the banks of the Chao Phraya River has a Chinese temple, a Catholic church, a Buddhist temple and a curious history. I have been there and it was a lovely walk! Maybe because not many people knows about this place.
Kudeejeen in Bangkok was a Portuguese community
The story behind Kudeejeen in Bangkok is very interesting and involves Portugueses. After the fall of Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam, in 1767, King Taksin moved the capital to Thonburi. Both Chinese-descended Thais and Portuguese settlers were relocated here, the latter in recognition of their support in defeating from Burmese army in Ayutthaya. And Portuguese were the first Europeans to stay in Ayutthaya, soon after taking the power in Malacca in Malaysia in 1551.
The new neighborhood was a perfect mix of Catholics, Muslims and Buddhists who lived in peace for more than 200 years. I saw a multicultural community that survives until nowadays, of course, Thai, but like “same same but different”.
The Kudeejeen in Bangkok is much more than narrow streets, just enough for a motorcycle, and zinc roof house. As the result is a neighborhood with a cultural heritage that is still preserved and does not even have a non-local convenience store. I haven’t seen any 7Eleven and did my research: there’s none. Impressive!
Kuan An Keng Temple was built by Chinese when King Taksin moved the capital to Thonburi. Originally was two temples, but later Chinese demolished the twin temples and rebuilt a new one, the Kuan An Keng. Due to years without care, the Sae Sim family, one of the oldest to live in the neighborhood, took the temple to take care. I went there inside too and it worth the visit.
The Santa Cruz Church was built by the Portuguese in 1770 and is one of the oldest Catholic churches in Bangkok. The original wooden structure was severely damaged by fire and was rebuilt in bricks in 1916. I was impressed by so many details. Nowadays the church is also known as Wat Kudi Jeen, or Chinese church. I suggest you go by the walkway by the river. But if it`s flooded, jut put on Google Maps and you can get there from the main street.
The Wat Kanlayanamitr temple was built in King Rama III’s reign on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and it’s on undergoing general renovation. It’s in this temple that the locals prays for a good journey. In addition the temple is huge and trully beautiful. I went there when kids was praying and it was lovely.
Thailand itself is already a country with an immense variety of flavors, but in Kudeejeen the Portuguese influence still alive. It’s not difficult to find the kanon farang kudeejeen, a small cake (like a cupcake) made of flour, egg and sugar. You can find it at Thanusingha Bakery House. I recommend use Google Maps.
There are several ways to get to Kudeejeen in Bangkok, but first you have to get the bus number 8 and get down at the Flower Market:
You will need about 1:30 see everything calmly and taking pictures
I suggest you on 1 day Bangkok itinerary: Grand Palace, Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) \, Wat Arun, Kudeejeen and Flower Market. On the way will have other interesting attractions to see, such as Wat Prayoon and Memorial Bridge during the sunset (it`s gorgeous!).