An ancient temple from Ayutthaya era
A champion for the Chinese
It is said that when Yaowarat Chinatown became the economic center of Bangkok for a time, it owed some of its success to Wat Samphanthawong. The temple owned buildings around it. When the Chinese immigrants started arriving, the temple rented vacant spaces out to them to reside in and conduct businesses. This became a hotspot for the Chinese community and businesses expanded from this location. Up until today, many Chinese companies still make merit at this temple in gratitude for giving them a chance.
Paving the way for Christianity
The Chinese population around the temple drew the attention of many missionaries. Having found some success in missions in China, many missionaries decided to focus on converting the overseas Chinese in Bangkok. They also arrived at this temple to grow roots in Thailand and do their religious work. Amongst these missionaries was the renowned American, Dr. Dan Beach Bradley. He also set up a clinic to provide medical service to the residents.
Wat Samphanthawong is no where near water, yet its shorter moniker is Wat Ko, or Island temple. In the past, the temple was indeed on its own island formed by the Chao Phraya River and canals surrounding it completely. Much land reclamation has happened since and canals around it have all but disappeared from being filled in.