Chinatown Heritage Centre & Golden Buddha



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The famous solid gold Buddha image has been moved from a drab hall into the soaring spire of a marble mondop (artefact tower) that is so glaringly white you need shades to view its neo-traditional detailing.

A museum below explains how it had been cast and then hidden unrecognised within stucco for centuries, probably to keep it from marauding Burmese. Then in 1955, its shell cracked on being dropped from a crane during its move here. Weighing 5.5 tonnes and sitting 3m (10ft) high in 'Calming Mara' pose, the Sukothai-era statue gleams with near-liquid lustre.

Beneath it, the Chinatown Heritage Centre presents an expurgated history of Bangkok's Sino-Thai, the biggest ethnic group since before this trading post became the capital.

Entertaining, accessible displays and dioramas untangle Chinatown's cultural, civic, commercial and culinary maze.

Panels show how junk traders gained powerful leverage in Siam. Millions of poor Southern Chinese then immigrated in waves, from the Thonburi era of King Thaksin (himself half-Teochiu) up to the 1940s.

When King Rama I (part-Hokkien) relocated his palace to Rattanakosin, the Chinese were shifted south of the Phra Nakorn walls in 1782 to a dirt alley called Sampheng. From
that nucleus grew Chinatown's golden age.

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Chinatown Heritage Centre & Golden Buddha details

Wat Traimit,
661 Thanon Charoen Krung

Area Chinatown

Transport Hualumphong MRT

Telephone 02 225 9775

Open 9am-5pm daily.

Admission Temple free. Golden Buddha free Thais; B20 foreigners.

Chinatown Heritage Centre & Golden Buddha map

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