When wandering the small streets and alleys of Talat Noi, one can get lost in the pleasantries of the locals and community street scenes. Your world shrinks as you are sometimes forced to go shoulder-to-shoulder with structures in the area. So much so that you might be covering the perimeter of the historical Sol Heng Tai mansion without knowing it.
In the late Ayutthaya period, the Sols arrived in Siam. This Thai-Hokkien family gained fortune as traders and soon built their two-storey compound in Talat Noi on Soi Duangtawan. One of the nation’s last example of Hokkien architectural style called si tiam kim or ‘golden four points’, the ancient Sol Heng Tai mansion is comprised of four houses surrounding a large courtyard that still stands from the 1800s. The mansion houses are two-storey and mainly made of teak timbers held together by wedge connections. Throughout the house, decors such as carved wooden pieces and porcelain embellish rooms. Hokkien beliefs shine through images of animals and flowers that are believed to be providential.
Today, the mansion is elegantly decaying and remains a home for members of the Sol clan. As such, the house is not open for public visit. However, should you be so lucky, you might run into the current clan matriarch, Duangtawan Posayajinda, near the mansion’s red front gate bearing lanterns. A simple inquiry will most likely produce a friendly invitation to take a look in one of Bangkok’s architectural heritage.