Although Bangkok may be better known for its stunning temples like the Grand Palace, the city is quite diverse when it comes to faith, with Islam’s mosques, Hinduism’s temples and Christianity’s churches all found in abundance - you just have to look a little closer!
One of the most famous for Bangkok’s hundreds of thousands of Christians is the Holy Rosary Church, located on Soi Wanit 2 in the historic Talad Noi neighborhood. The impressive building, which is open to the public, is a quick two-minute walk from the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers and makes a fascinating stop-off on a walking tour of the area, whatever faith or religion you are.
The history of the church dates all the way back to the end of the 18th century, when Portuguese Roman Catholics - who had been displaced by the fall of the Ayutthaya - moved across from the western side of the Chao Phraya and were given a small piece of land in the Talad Noi district. Over the years several wooden church structures were built, but it wasn’t until 1891 that the current structure you see today was built.
The Holy Rosary Church was built in a distinct Gothic style, and over the years has been subject to various renovations and repairs - so it still looks as good as new today. Guests arriving at the Royal Orchid Sheraton will be able to see the church if they travel by boat from the Grand Palace or Wat Arun.
Inside, the church follows a traditional cruciform floor plan while the Gothic-style arched doors and Roman Catholic stained-glass windows are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the country.
As previously mentioned, the Holy Rosary Church is open to the public, no matter what faith you are, and services are held in Thai, English and Chinese every morning, with special evening services held on Sundays and Christian Holidays.
The surrounding area is full of other attractions, things to do and places to eat. For example, adjacent to the church is the large River City shopping mall (good for some air-conditioned souvenir or clothes hunting); while just behind the church is another fine example of some historic colonial architecture: the Siam Commercial Bank Building, home to possibly Bangkok’s most beautiful ATM!
Just steps from the church you will find the famous Charoen Krung Road, which intersects the Talad Noi neighborhood and heads into the heart of Chinatown. Turn either left or right onto the bustling road and you will find a huge array a street food, from noodle soup stalls to traditional Thai-Chinese sweets and snacks… just follow your nose and you won’t be disappointed.