Like most mega metropolis, Bangkok packs a huge punch. Many first-time visitors become so daunted and overwhelmed by the cacophony of jarring sounds, blazing heat, intense traffic and the millions of people that live, work and play here, they vow to never return.
Over the years, I’ve come to learn how to parse the good from the bad areas and where to avoid going altogether. I’ve also grasped how to appreciate the plethora of interesting, non-tourist focused neighborhoods in Bangkok, like Rattanakosin, Aria, Bangrak and Chinatown.
The narrow side streets and alleyways of Chinatown, where I spent some time yesterday capturing street life, textures, patterns and compositions of old automotive parts, is definitely one of my favorite hoods.
Chinatown, and particularly Soi Nana (not to be confused with the infamously seedy Soi Nana in the Sukhumvit district) has of recent years been one of the capital’s most popular spots to hang out at. Several of the street’s old shophouses (previously mostly used as warehouses) are being cleaned up and recast as cocktail bars, gallery-cafés and boutique hostels. According to a few owners we spoke with last night, Soi Nana’s guests are primarily younger expats, the trendsetting HiSo crowd (Bangkok’s affluent high society troupe) and a few middle-aged travel junkies, like Charlotte and myself.
Easiest way to get here is via subway (MRT) to Bangkok’s Central Train Station – Hua Lamphong Station. From there it’s only a few minutes walk to Soi Nana.