Updated: Sep 4, 2019
On our recent trip to Thailand, hubster (AKA the Ninja in making travel plans) and I decided to explore places beyond the typical tourist points. We are always keen to know more about the culture and history of a place and interact with the locals. Honestly, I learned this from him because he would just blend in with the locals wherever we’ve traveled to date. So this year we went to Bangkok, Thailand’s capital. This is a large city known for ornate shrines and a vibrant street life. Bangkok is beyond its nightclubs, cabarets or exotic red-light districts. This city offers the best street food in the world and is a pure gastronomical overload. Well, I know I talk a lot about food but isn’t it one of the best ways to get in touch with the local culture?
However, I am not going to talk about food in this post, I am going to share an experience that was among one of the best we had during this trip. The experience that let us explore and engage. Ershad found one such gem of a place called Lhong 1919 during his travel research. He showed me pictures and videos of this place weeks in advance, and we were enamoured by what we saw. And therefore, Lhong 1919 was added to the itinerary. The kicker is that this place is not very popular among tourists, yet. Lhong 1919 is a heritage property at heart. It is structured in a way that keeps all the cultural richness intact.
The riverside community has existed since King Rama IV’s era. A huge Chinese shrine holds centerstage worshipping the goddess of the sea, according to a Chinese legend. These 150-year-old buildings once belonged to wealthy merchants. The wall murals you will find there are preserved from that era. They also have a Chinese opera performance in the courtyard on the weekends. Lhong 1919 was truly beautiful and soothing to eyes.
Lhong 1919 has a few designer brands and keeps conducting art exhibitions, which are pretty unique. I picked up a tobacco-flavored perfume from one of the exclusive stores inside. The store had a very high ceiling with pillars as tall supporting it. Essentially, all the stores and restaurants don’t mess with the integral construction of the 150-year-old buildings. The restoration is done without harming the soul of the place. The perfume is more than just a smell, it is going to be my portal to Lhong 1919.
In fact, we were supposed to be there for just a couple of hours but we ended up spending almost an entire day and couldn’t get enough. Below are few pictures and information for you:
San He Yuan
Lhong 1919 was constructed in the Chinese architectural style called San He Yuan, meaning three buildings surrounding a courtyard. The buildings built primarily from teak with brick and plaster wall bearings form one integral U-shaped complex. The open courtyard is designed according to the Feng Shui belief about the interconnection between heaven and earth. The main building facing the river houses the Mazu Shrine. The two conjoining buildings were used as offices and warehouses and were eventually turned into homes for office workers. The window and door murals depict both a traditional Chinese way of life and many auspicious paintings, which have restored to preserve much of the original beauty of this historical site.
So, Lhong 1919 was a big highlight of our trip to Bangkok. It helped us connect with the Chinese culture that exists in Bangkok and the beauty of the place was the icing on the cake. It is not often that you get to absorb such experiences and come back home to tell a story. Have you discovered such unique places that made you want to tell a story? Would you like to talk about it? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.