Scenes from Bangkok’s Chinatown (part 1 of 3): People

By Steve Fisher

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When I travel, rather than “sightseeing”, I try to experience local life in my destination. With a few unmissable exceptions (Sagrada Familia, Angkor Wat), I’m just not that interested in most “sites” but extremely interested in ordinary life in the places I travel.

Local life is not all equally interesting of course though, so naturally there are choices to make. While I try to keep flexible and not over plan, before I arrive, I generally come up with at least 5-6 neighborhoods, markets, parks or other promising places to visit. Absolutely nothing against guidebooks, and I do buy one for many major destinations, but recently I prefer Wikitravel and TripAdvisor as sources of information because these online resources tend to go a lot deeper than physical guides.

While traveling, I spend much of my time walking around interesting neighborhoods, eating a lot of local food and chatting with locals. According to an iPhone activity tracker I use (Moves) I typically walk 15-20 km per day while traveling. While I eat all day when I travel, I typically loose weight on long trips because of all the extra physical activity.

I lived in Thailand for about a year before Vietnam and I still consider Bangkok one of my homes in the world. Whenever I’m in the city I try to spend a day in Chinatown, and I visited the area again on my trip to Bangkok last month. This is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and is full of great food, interesting people and unforgettable ambience. In this post I try to share some of the interesting people I see when I visit Chinatown, and I hope to do future posts on the delicious food and amazing atmosphere of this iconic Bangkok neighborhood.

Photos in this post are from three different visits to Bangkok’s Chinatown between spring 2015 and summer 2016. All photos are the author’s own. 

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(Above three photos) A Buddhist amulet vendor

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(Above five photos) Young apprentice monks at a Chinatown temple
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Buddhist monks in a shoe store
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Buddhist monk on the street
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Two Buddhist nuns

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(Above two photos) Visitors at a temple

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(Above three photos) Scenes from a small residential alley in Chinatown
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Motorbike taxi driver taking a break
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Street vendor
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Lottery ticket vendors
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Backpacker taking a break

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(Above two photos) One of the many things I love about Bangkok is the many interesting characters you encounter
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Policeman at a temple

 

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