5 colonial buildings to appreciate in Bangkok
1) The East Asiatic Company
This fading Venetian building is a colonial gem, built by the Danish East Asiatic Company to handle its Far East sea freight trade routes at the beginning of 1900 and to connect Thailand to Europe. The building is still in use and its façade can be photographed from the Oriental Pier.
2) Old Customs House
The Customs House dates from 1880, and used to levy tariffs on ships sailing up and down the Chao Phraya. These days, it is falling into disrepair, but it is still quite atmospheric. In its prime, it rivalled the East Asiatic Building. You may have seen it at its best in Wong Kar Wai’s film In the Mood for Love.
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3) Assumption Cathedral
A red brick building built in Renaissance style, Assumption dates from 1909. It is the most important Catholic building in Thailand. The Romanesque twin towers are home to Sunday mass in English at 10 am. There is also a convent and college adjacent to the premises.
4) Ministry of Defence
The neoclassical golden building dates from the 1880s and faces the Grand Palace. It is kept in great shape and the exterior features gaily painted green shutters contrasting with a bright yellow facade. Guards sometimes bar access to the side streets around it, but you can take photos of the building without problem.
5) The House on Sathorn
This beautiful building was formerly the home of Lord Sathorn, who built the Sathorn Canal and then built this mansion in 1889. It later became the luxury Hotel Royal, the Embassy of the Soviet Union, and then of the Russian Federation. It now serves as an elegant restaurant and bar under the auspices of the W Hotel.
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