Portuguese seafarers were among the first Europeans to establish diplomatic ties with Siam, and their influence in the kingdom was rewarded with prime riverside real estate. When a Portuguese contingent moved across the river to the present-day Talat Noi area of Chinatown in 1787, they were given this piece of land and built the Holy Rosary Church, known in Thai as Wat Kalawan, from the Portuguese ‘Calvario’ (Calvary).
Over the years the Portuguese community dispersed and the church fell into disrepair. However, Vietnamese and Cambodian Catholics displaced by the Indochina wars adopted it, and together with Chinese speakers now constitute much of the parish. Of particular note are the splendid Romanesque stained-glass windows, gilded ceilings and a statue of Christ that is carried through the streets during Easter celebrations.