The best way to get under the skin of Bangkok is to explore the city’s lesser-known neighbourhoods, away from the tourist attractions. A trip through Bangkok’s backroads, narrow streets and the waterways called klongs, provides an opportunity to rub shoulders with the communities and see the city as only a local would.
“I boarded a local longtail boat that set off on the narrow klongs of the Chao Phraya River, passing through the klongs in Thonburi which was once the capital of Bangkok. Entering Klong Bangkok Noi, tiny houses can be seen all along the riverbanks. Despite their well-maintained gardens of hanging pots and flowers, some of the buildings are shabby and look as though they may just slip into the river. The postman travels past on a neighbouring boat. A city of complete contrasts, I then noticed the head of the Buddha from Wat Pak Phasi Choren which stuck out like a beacon of hope.
Offboard, we visited Baan Silapin, known as The Artist House at Klong Blang Luang – this is a hidden gem found by those who travel the canals. Offering the space to get away from the busy city, this is a place to relax, get creative or watch the puppet show that runs regularly.
Back on the boat, we travel to the Bang Rak, known as the creative district. It’s easy to see why when there are places such as Warehouse 30, a cool space connecting the past to the present and future. It’s packed with cafes and art galleries with P Tendercool being one of the oldest tenants known to be a master of handmade furniture.
Talad Noi is the ethnic Chinese community on the edge of Bangkok’s Chinatown. Here, walking through the alleyways, we arrive at the most unimaginable places. The entrance of Mother Rooster Café is nothing more than a big pile of spare parts and behind it is the cade and a street full of art offering the most Instagram worthy pictures. Another unique building is Patina which is a 200-year-old Chinese styled house that is now used as an art exhibition centre and café.