Photo: The old Talaphat Suksa school house.

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Phraeng Phuthon Square

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Not far from the big-name attractions in the heart of the Rattanakosin historic district, Phraeng Phuthon Square embodies the more modest side of Bangkok's heritage.

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Born out of a major turn of the 20th century construction campaign initiated by King Rama V, attractive Sino-European shophouses line Phraeng Phuthon’s quiet streets. The Crown Property Bureau still rents them cheaply to locals, including many who trace their heritage to the Chinese immigrants who founded the Chao Paa Sua Shrine just up Tanao Road.

Secrets are meant to be shared. Photo taken in or around Phraeng Phuthon Square, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Secrets are meant to be shared. Photo: David Luekens

In recent years, authorities restored the aging shophouses with cream and teal paint, and officially declared them protected heritage buildings. In front of some of the more notable businesses, museum-like info boards were added to explain the heritage and products for sale in both Thai and comprehensible English, which makes the neighbourhood a lot easer for foreign travellers to crack than it used to be.

At the centre of the square sits a health clinic in a building that served as a prince's palace until the early 20th century. On neighbouring Phraeng Nara, another century-old architectural gem formerly served as Talaphat Suksa Schoolhouse. Now housing a law office, the building's long veranda and tall wood doors still display the original gingerbread carvings in faded olive green paint.

Before the restorations … Photo taken in or around Phraeng Phuthon Square, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Before the restorations … Photo: David Luekens

In a corner of Phraeng Phuthon, a local man has run a classic car workshop for decades, leaving an early ’60s Peugeot and ’30s gangster-style Ford, for example, parked alongside the footpath. Other shops specialise in camping equipment, sewing machines, cutlery, uniforms and musical ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Taxi drivers hardly ever know it by name, but Phraeng Phuthon and neighbouring Phraeng Nara sit in a central old city location. The neighbourhood is flanked by Bamrung Muang, Tanao and Atsadang roads, just north of Wat Ratchabophit and a km west of the Grand Palace. It takes around 15 minutes to walk here from either Khao San Road or Maharaj river ferry pier.

Phraeng Phuthon Square
Between Bamrung Muang Rd, Tanao Rd and Atsadang Rd
Admission: Free

Location map for Phraeng Phuthon Square

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