Phuket’s History is the Thai Connection to Europe
This is part two of finding historical buildings and towns around Thailand that display foreign architectural influences and unite Thai people with their western and European visitors.
Besides Bangkok, other foreign architectural influences can be found in Kanchanaburi, famous (or infamous) for its WWII Death Railway such as the town’s Heritage Walking Street. This old street showcases a variety of buildings constructed in Sino-Portuguese, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese styles, the history and architectural style of which are labeled on each.
In southern Thailand, similar European influences are represented in Old Town Phuket, which has a fine collection of Chinese row houses representing the town’s early Sino-Portuguese heritage with intricate European neo-classical and Renaissance-style stucco designs gracing their front facades. Some good Sino-Portuguese examples worth visiting include the China Inn Cafe & Restaurant and the Dibuk Grill and Bar.
Rich locals in Phuket built mansions that illustrate a hybrid of European, Chinese and Thai styles featuring arched windows and doors with grand Doric, Iconic and Corinthian columns gracing the front porticos. Some classic examples are the Thai Hua Museum, the Baan Chinpracha Museum and the Phra Pitak Chinpracha mansion.
On the East of Thailand, there is a hidden gem in the town of Chanthaburi where recent efforts are being made to protect this almost forgotten town’s heritage houses. In the distant past, Chanthaburi was occupied by French troops and later by many Vietnamese who came over from French Indochina. Not surprisingly, visitors can easily find some Sino-French influences, especially around the Chanthaboon riverfront in the old part of town. Due to the large influx of Vietnamese, Chanthaburi also houses Thailand’s largest Catholic cathedral, built in the Gothic architectural style made famous by Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
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