Riverside Retreat: Lhong 1919 is an artsy enclave that offers a slice of old China in Bangkok

Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts

If life in the city ever starts to feel like a drag, then remember — there are plenty of quick and easy escape routes to the quiet life. In case you want to get away from the crush of Siam and Sukhumvit for the far side of the river, then try this arts enclave on the Chao Phraya’s banks.

Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts
Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts

It feels like a little slice of old China: wood and cement pops with dashes of red in the form of lanterns and umbrellas. The outdoor U-shaped plaza offers opportunities to relax, shop, eat, drink, and get a glimpse of what Bangkok might have been like 170 years ago, when the structure first went up.

Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts
Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts

Lhong 1919 has been open for just under a year, but we couldn’t give it a solid recommendation before now because much of the space was empty, meaning it was cool to go there and snap a few photos, but there wasn’t a heck of a lot else to do there (and yes, we’ll admit — it’s kinda out of the way).

Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts
So far, the spot is mostly used as a backdrop for social media feeds, but it offers so much more. Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts

A recent visit confirmed what we hoped to be true: The place is fully up and running now. Along the riverfront side are a few bars and cafes that don’t get hopping (or even open) until 5pm or so. Along the inner edges, there is a great coffee shop, Plearnwan Panich, serving up old school Thai snacks and drinks, like iced plum juice, soy milk with black sesame, and watermelon with savory ground fish.

The new Karmakamet Conveyance restaurant opened there last week as well, serving up Chef Som’s conceptual tasting menu based on memories.

Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts
Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts

Around the back edges are several shops selling handmade pottery, jewelry, clothing, and kitschy Thai and Chinese items for mid-range prices. In many of the shops, the artists are on hand to answer your questions about their wares. This is a great place to shop for presents for arts-loving friends.

Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts
Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts

The place has notable cultural and historical aspects as well. The pier was built in 1850 as a port for ships bringing goods —  and immigrants — from China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. There is a Chinese shrine, a vintage apothecary that will make you feel you’re in old China, and exhibits on rice farming to peruse.

Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts
Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts

Along the middle and behind the far side of the main promenade are the murals that are making the place a favorite for the Insta-happy. Paintings of birds, maidens, warriors and more line the walls, hard to look away from and even harder not to photograph.

Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts
Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts

The restored Mazu Shrine is upstairs at the back. It has been in the structure since it was built and is now restored to its former glory. Mazu is supposed to be the goddess of the sea, protecting fishermen and seafarers. There are three figures of Mazu inside the shrine, each representing a different stage of her power. The figures arrived at Lhong 1919 on a boat from China and have sat in the shrine ever since.

Photo: Laurel Tuohy/Coconuts

Now that Lhong 1919 seems to have hit its stride, we can heartily say that’s worth the trip and easy to pass a few hours (or more) wandering the place. 

 

FIND IT:

Lhong 1919
248 Chiang Mai Rd.
Open daily, 10am-10pm
BTS Krung Thon Buri

Leave a Reply


By signing up for our newsletters you agree with our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
MOST POPULAR