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A Photographic Essay of Bangkok Life: People at Work, Rest and Play

Updated on July 16, 2016
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Alun is a frequent visitor to Thailand and writes personal accounts of the country's great attractions in a series of easy-to-read articles

A young couple. He feeds the birds while she photographs herself - typical!
A young couple. He feeds the birds while she photographs herself - typical! | Source

Introduction

N.B: Please note, all my articles are best read on desktops and laptops

This is a portfolio of photos showing the people of Bangkok, capital of Thailand, engaged in their day to day activities at work, rest and play. The photos are all the work of the author of this article, and have been taken during six short visits to the city over the past six years.

With a few exceptions, the photos are not staged - they are simply snapshots of the people. And they are not the work of a professional photographer. Nor are they the result of a campaign to drive home some socio-political point. They are just my introduction to the people of Bangkok.

Nonetheless, selection of subjects was based on the desire to emphasise two things. Firstly there was a wish to catch the flavour of life in this southeast Asian metropolis and how the culture is reflected in the lives of the people. But secondly, hopefully, the photos will demonstrate how lives, aspirations and simple pleasures are the same the world over. Bangkok doesn't have the best of reputations in the world - noisy, overpopulated, polluted, and with a dubious night life. But there is really very little difference in the hearts and minds of the people who live there and the people of other countries who read this article.

43 photographs have been chosen, taken in the years 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2016. Comments on the photos are included as photo captions, or in the body of the text, and a few other aspects of Bangkok life are noted as the opportunity arises. From time to time I may elect to replace photos as more suitable or better images become available.

Men cooling off with a swim in one of the khlongs (canals) in West Bangkok
Men cooling off with a swim in one of the khlongs (canals) in West Bangkok | Source
Like everyone in the modern world, commuting Thais are addicted to texting, music playing and gaming on their teeny-weeny cellphone computers. And like everyone else, that often takes precedence over actual social contact
Like everyone in the modern world, commuting Thais are addicted to texting, music playing and gaming on their teeny-weeny cellphone computers. And like everyone else, that often takes precedence over actual social contact | Source

The Daily Grind

We'll start with the most boring set of photographs - boring because they are photos which could have been taken in any city, anywhere, anytime in the 21st century. People have to go to work and they have to go shopping whether they live in London or New York, or in an exotic subtropical city like Bangkok.

Bangkok is a crowded city, and there are times on the roads when the traffic comes to an abrupt and prolonged halt, and on the public transport systems when people are packed like sardines into trains or buses. But generally, citizens are used to this and treat the experience with a resigned placidity.

Daily commuting - the Skytrain is one of the most popular transport systems in the city. These commuters and shoppers are descending from a station above the streets
Daily commuting - the Skytrain is one of the most popular transport systems in the city. These commuters and shoppers are descending from a station above the streets | Source
A member of the garden staff at Chatuchak Park. Bangkok public parks are tended to with meticulous care to keep them pristine. This man devoted a lot of time to ensuring this hedge was neat and tidy
A member of the garden staff at Chatuchak Park. Bangkok public parks are tended to with meticulous care to keep them pristine. This man devoted a lot of time to ensuring this hedge was neat and tidy | Source

Bangkok at Work

These are just a few photos of Thais at work in the public arena. Of course most Thais have jobs pretty much the same as those in any other country like the UK or the USA - office work, the retail and other service industries, or in manufacturing. But it's interesting to see those whose work exposes them to the public gaze in a characteristically Thai vocation. Several of these, such as the street traders and entertainers will be shown later on this page.

In the two photos in this section we see gardening in a Bangkok park and we see a hairdressing salon on a platform at a network train station - presumably the station location offered an ideal opportunity for those about to travel across country, to smarten up before their long journey.

Open air hairdressing at Hua Lamphong Train Station, photographed on the platform of Bangkok's main nationwide terminus
Open air hairdressing at Hua Lamphong Train Station, photographed on the platform of Bangkok's main nationwide terminus | Source
Young shoppers in one of the ultra modern fashionable malls of Bangkok
Young shoppers in one of the ultra modern fashionable malls of Bangkok | Source
Three real estate promotional girls take a little time out from their work
Three real estate promotional girls take a little time out from their work | Source

The Up-Market Shopping Experience in Bangkok

Visiting tourists of course will most likely come into contact with those Bangkokians who work in the tourist trade such as hotel employees, and also taxi drivers and those who seek to sell to us - retail outlets, and specfically the shopping malls and market traders.

There couldn't be a greater contrast between those who work and shop in the big malls of Bangkok and those who frequent the street markets. The shopping malls are truly impressive and some are particularly notable for high end fashion and luxury goods - the haute couture end of the business. None more so than Siam Paragon, a super classy shopping mall in the heart of the city where showrooms displaying million dollar supercars can be visited together with shops representing every famous luxury brand one can think of.

It's a great place just to relax in a cafe or a restaurant and 'people-watch' in a comfortable air-conditioned setting. Many of the shops are clearly aimed at well-to-do or aspirational younger Thais with modern lifestyles, and this section shows a few of these shoppers and a couple of promotional displays which were taking place while I was in Siam Paragon.

For the first time ever I took advantage of my HubPages membership to get a photo. These models were doing a pro-photo shoot for Louis Vuitton, so I showed my credentials as an Internet writer with a 'business card' and got myself a photo opportunity
For the first time ever I took advantage of my HubPages membership to get a photo. These models were doing a pro-photo shoot for Louis Vuitton, so I showed my credentials as an Internet writer with a 'business card' and got myself a photo opportunity | Source
A market trader wheels away about as many shoes as some shoe shops stock!
A market trader wheels away about as many shoes as some shoe shops stock! | Source
Market delivery men take a breather from ferrying goods in their giant baskets
Market delivery men take a breather from ferrying goods in their giant baskets | Source

The Down-Market Shopping Experience in Bangkok

The down market shopping experience of Bangkok is literally that - the market places. Bangkok and indeed other cities in Thailand are famous for street markets. Notably the night markets add colour and vibrancy to the after dark hours, but there are many established day markets too, and these are the subject of this section.

They are of course, far removed from the shopping malls in almost every respect - much less relaxed and less comfortable for the average visitor but more authentically Thai and much more culturally interesting. And the quality and variety of the merchandise on offer should not be dismissed. Aside from the tourist souvenirs, there are genuine bargains and good quality produce to be bought in the markets. Such things as belts and bags, watches, shoes and clothing, can be found in greater diversity than you'd see in any conventional shop, laid out in stalls or on sheets on the ground.

And even if you don't plan on buying, a general market such as Chatuchak weekend market, or specialist markets such as Pak Khlong Talat flower market or the Or Tor Kor food market, offer a fascinating glimpse of this important part of Thai trade and Thai life.

Flower sellers at Pak Klong Talad Market
Flower sellers at Pak Klong Talad Market | Source
A flower seller pauses to enjoy lunch. The flowers are that most traditional of Thailand blooms - pink-purple orchids
A flower seller pauses to enjoy lunch. The flowers are that most traditional of Thailand blooms - pink-purple orchids | Source

Feeding the Masses - The Markets and Street Food

Restaurants are for tourists, but for street traders and their customers, eating food on the go is the norm, and tourists would be well advised to try this street food too. For a very small fee the widest imaginable variety of meats, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, sweets, treats and drinks can be had - a great way to sample Thai cuisine.

I must admit it took me a long time to pluck up the courage to sample food from the street, but actually everything I've tried has been well prepared, and much better than you'd find on similar food stalls in the West. Do be careful about uncooked foods and ice (as the source may be tap water) but other than that, I think you should give it a go. You won't regret it.

Food stalls are very common in the markets and along the streets and what's on offer is extremely varied. Here meats - beautifully cooked and tender - are on offer. One skewer of meat generally costs about 10 baht (20p / 30c)
Food stalls are very common in the markets and along the streets and what's on offer is extremely varied. Here meats - beautifully cooked and tender - are on offer. One skewer of meat generally costs about 10 baht (20p / 30c) | Source
A young mother and child reduced to begging in the streets of Bangkok
A young mother and child reduced to begging in the streets of Bangkok | Source

Surviving on the Streets

Before we leave the streets we cannot ignore the underside of Bangkok life. There are beggars and some are quite sad to see - the elderly, the disabled, or young mothers like this one with a child. The plastic cup is for donations.

Others will perform for money, playing musical instruments. And still others like the woman below will try to earn a meagre living selling souvenirs to the tourists. Sites close to the train stations and to popular visitor attractions are favourite haunts.

Some will do what they can to earn a few coins on the street. This lady was selling key rings for 30 baht (about 60p - 85c) - rings she'd probably bought in a local market
Some will do what they can to earn a few coins on the street. This lady was selling key rings for 30 baht (about 60p - 85c) - rings she'd probably bought in a local market | Source
Feeding pigeons in Chatuchak Park
Feeding pigeons in Chatuchak Park | Source

Parks and Recreation

We all know the stereotypical image of Bangkok as a heavily overpopulated, traffic-jammed and rather polluted city, renouned for its high octane nightlife - not perhaps the most appealing of images, but it is important to show the other side. Bangkok has some very attractive parks, a vital resource for the residents who cherish them as a green and tranquil respite from the city

They are also a great place for visitors to see how Thais unwind from city work, resting, recuperating, exercising, or just spending some quality time with friends and family. I've spent a lot of time people-watching in these parks, so the next few sections contain some of my photos from the Bangkok parks.

A couple of girls share a picnic in the park
A couple of girls share a picnic in the park | Source
Exercising in Lumpini Park. The number of Bangkokians who choose to exercise or jog in 30C temperatures is impressive!
Exercising in Lumpini Park. The number of Bangkokians who choose to exercise or jog in 30C temperatures is impressive! | Source
For a long time I watched as this disabled, elderly gentleman was helped to exercise by members of his family in Chatuchak Park. Their devotion to helping him stand and walk was considerable and touching
For a long time I watched as this disabled, elderly gentleman was helped to exercise by members of his family in Chatuchak Park. Their devotion to helping him stand and walk was considerable and touching | Source

Sharing Time Together

Bangkok is a crowded city, and time spent away from the crowds with just friends or family is precious. Whether it be in shops and in recreational facilities such as cinemas and restaurants, or relaxing in the puiblic parks, sharing time with friends and family is just as important here as anywhere else.

And in the parks it is perhaps easier to see the warmth and friendliness of the locals than it is in the hustle and bustle of commuter life and work. The photos surrounding this section show Thais at play and caring for each other.

The scenario depicted in the photo of the elderly man was particularly poignant. My impression was that he may have been the victim of a stroke, but whatever the case, three family members spent a long time helping and supporting him to stand and to walk a few steps. As one might expect, the standard of welfare for the disabled is generally not quite what one would expect in the West, and the plight of beggars who are disabled, has already been mentioned, but most modern developments have disabled facilities and care and affection for those less fortunate is often touching on a one to one basis. On the same day as this photo was taken I saw train station security guards helping a blind man on to his train. And at his destination a guard was waiting to escort him off.

Too hot to do anything but laze around in Chatuchak Park
Too hot to do anything but laze around in Chatuchak Park | Source
A cyclist finds sunbathing less exhausting than cycling in Lumpini Park
A cyclist finds sunbathing less exhausting than cycling in Lumpini Park | Source

Rest and Recuperation in the Public Parks of Bangkok

Many of course will visit the public parks like Lumpini and Chatuchak on their own, not to share quality time with friends or family, but just for a bit of peace and quiet and solitude, perhaps to sunbathe or rest - a brief respite from the pressurised world of the city.

Another cyclist takes a rest and attends to his bicycle in Lumpini Park
Another cyclist takes a rest and attends to his bicycle in Lumpini Park | Source
A Muslim couple relax in Chatuchak Park as the woman takes a phone selfie
A Muslim couple relax in Chatuchak Park as the woman takes a phone selfie | Source

A Little Loving

The parks are also a great place for couples to share some affectionate time together. Thai culture is generally rather more conservative than Western culture when it comes to open displays of affection, though that is changing, and particularly so in cities such as Bangkok. The guide books will often say that Thais do not kiss or hug in public - not true of many Bangkokians.

The photograph of the couple seated by the side of an ornamental lake was taken in Chatuchak Park. And the headscarf is indicative of the fact that they are a Muslim couple. Muslims make up just about 4% of the Thai population, and in most parts of the country including the capital, they seem to be very well integrated into society.

A couple embrace by the lake in Chatuchak Park
A couple embrace by the lake in Chatuchak Park | Source
A musician with a 'phin' - a three-stringed guitar-like instrument
A musician with a 'phin' - a three-stringed guitar-like instrument | Source
School children rehearse traditional Thai instruments during a music lesson in the grounds of the Wat Arun temple
School children rehearse traditional Thai instruments during a music lesson in the grounds of the Wat Arun temple | Source

Art and Culture

Culture is a big part of Thai life - Thai music, Thai dance and Thai food are world famous. And next to the beaches of Southern Thailand, nothing attracts the tourists to Bangkok more than the artistry of Thai culture made manifest in the historic temples, but also in many traditional shows, and in Bangkokian museums and exhibitions.

Cuisine is covered elsewhere, but any visitor to Thailand may well encounter music and dance. The first photo in this section features an entertainer in the grounds of a spectacular theatre show of Thai culture called Siam Niramit. He wasn't part of the show itself, but was part of an exhibition of cultural traditions including music, art and silk weaving.

The young girls in the next photo were rehearshing at one of the great temples of Bangkok. The bowed instruments they are using are called 'saw u'.

Thai dance will be shown in the next section, but as in any country there is also modern culture, and the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre is the place to see that in the heart of the shopping district. It features the work of modern Thai artists and others. Entry is free.

Can't see too much of the person here, but as this was the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre - and full of abstract, impressionist and modern art - I thought I'd try my hand at an arty photo! The BACC seems encouragingly popular with young Thais
Can't see too much of the person here, but as this was the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre - and full of abstract, impressionist and modern art - I thought I'd try my hand at an arty photo! The BACC seems encouragingly popular with young Thais | Source
Thai dancing - the epitome of grace
Thai dancing - the epitome of grace | Source

Culture for the Tourists

Thai dance is an art form which must be seen. Usually it will be encountered in tourist shows such as Siam Niramit, but also it may be performed by street entertainers and even at religious sites such as the Erawan Shrine which is featured in another section.

The floating market was never just a part of culture - it was once a way of life. Bangkok is a city of rivers and canals, and before the development of roads and modern communications, the waterways were an important way of getting around. The floating market could thus be seen as the forerunner to modern street markets. Today, floating markets still exist as a cultural icon to show Bangkok life as it once was.

The floating market - once a traditional market form in Thailand, but now very much operated for the benefit of the tourist trade. Nonetheless, they are worth seeing as an illustration of how Thais once lived in the vicinity of Bangkok
The floating market - once a traditional market form in Thailand, but now very much operated for the benefit of the tourist trade. Nonetheless, they are worth seeing as an illustration of how Thais once lived in the vicinity of Bangkok | Source
A street entertainer at Asiatique
A street entertainer at Asiatique | Source
The Dolphinarium at Ocean World
The Dolphinarium at Ocean World | Source

Culture - and Fun - for All

There are shows strictly for the tourists and there are shows for everyone. I get the impression that Thais are more proud of their traditions and history than many in Western nations seem to be about theirs. And entertainments and shows, authentically or loosely based on Thai culture, are attended by locals as well as tourists.

But just as in any modern city, there are also entertainments which have very little to do with tradition, and everything to do with fun. The clown was a street entertainer and balloon animal maker photographed at Asiatique - a very popular night market, restaurant and entertainment complex on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

Theme parks are also to be found around Bangkok. Ocean World is one such park, popular with locals, and especially with children - on my visit, coachloads of Thai school children were enjoying the animals and the shows.

Buddhist monks in their orange robes are a common sight in Bangkok
Buddhist monks in their orange robes are a common sight in Bangkok | Source
One of Bangkok's impressive temples, with monks at worship before Buddha
One of Bangkok's impressive temples, with monks at worship before Buddha | Source

The Monks of Buddhism

95% of the Thai nation are Buddhists, and the temples of Buddhism are of course sacred religious institutions, but they are also an important attraction for visitors to the City of Bangkok. Thais practise the School of Buddhism which is known as Theravada, and the monks of Theravada, characteristically clad in orange or brown robes, will become a familiar sight for any visitors who spend time in Bangkok. In the streets and shops, they can be spoken to, but there are etiquettes to be followed, and they should be accorded respect. And in the temples they may be seen at prayer or at study, and providing one does not behave in an obtrusive and insensitive manner, tourists are free to wander around and photography is permitted of most subject matter, in most areas.

A consultation by the faithful with a monk in one of the city temples
A consultation by the faithful with a monk in one of the city temples | Source
An elderly woman makes offerings at the Erawan Shrine - site of a terrorist bombing just one month before this photo was taken, but soon restored to its status as a hugely popular site of devotion and prayer for shoppers and workers in the city.
An elderly woman makes offerings at the Erawan Shrine - site of a terrorist bombing just one month before this photo was taken, but soon restored to its status as a hugely popular site of devotion and prayer for shoppers and workers in the city. | Source

Thai Practice of Buddhism

I've already hinted at the tolerance of Buddhism, and from my point of view tolerance is really the most appealing and refreshing aspect of this religion and philosophy. Many Thais are devout, but respect other beliefs, and within reason they tolerate the indescretions and intrusions of tourists. This makes it possible for us to see ordinary people practising Buddhism in a personal way.

In addition to temples there are also smaller shrines, and a particular note should be made of the Erawan Shrine, a little place of reverence in the heart of the city, where locals go to pray or wish for good luck - a lovely place for visitors to observe truly authentic and touching Buddhist culture in practice. Earnest prayers and accompanying music and Thai dancing makes this an endearing experience one could watch for hours

Pomegranetes and pomegranete juice on sale at a night market
Pomegranetes and pomegranete juice on sale at a night market | Source
If there is one after-nightfall event to be experienced it must be Chinatown during the Chinese New Year. Here a street trader on the most packed street I have ever walked along, wears 'lucky' red. Many many people on the street wore red that night.
If there is one after-nightfall event to be experienced it must be Chinatown during the Chinese New Year. Here a street trader on the most packed street I have ever walked along, wears 'lucky' red. Many many people on the street wore red that night. | Source

Bangkok by Night

We've looked at Bangkok citizens as they commute in the morning and then the day to day activities of working and shopping, leisure time and play, and religious practice. But for many it is after darkness falls that Bangkok really comes to life and reveals its uniquely vibrant character.

Night markets are a major draw, and are to be enjoyed. The produce on display may often be cheap and tacky stuff aimed at the the tourist market, but there are genuine bargains to be had, particularly if one is prepared to haggle. Whilst keeping a careful watch for pickpockets, the experience is not too pressurised - just walk away from any street trader who is too persistent. And in addition to merchandise, there may be street entertainers and food stalls of course - very inviting to snack at whilst soaking up the atmosphere.

The famous Patpong Night Market - stalls do sell good quality items as well as tourist tat, and the abundance and variety of popular items such as clothing is immense
The famous Patpong Night Market - stalls do sell good quality items as well as tourist tat, and the abundance and variety of popular items such as clothing is immense | Source
Bar girls at Soi Cowboy. Here a string of neon-lit clubs - many of which present revealing shows - will have scantily dressed girls on the street to draw the customers in for shows or drinks - or to ply whatever other business they may have in mind
Bar girls at Soi Cowboy. Here a string of neon-lit clubs - many of which present revealing shows - will have scantily dressed girls on the street to draw the customers in for shows or drinks - or to ply whatever other business they may have in mind | Source

Bangkok Go-Go and Bar Girls

Unfortunately one cannot leave the subject of Bangkok life without a brief mention of the notorious night life of the bar girls, exotic dancers, escorts and of course the infamous transgender 'lady boys' - such nighttime activity is, after all, the reason many young single men spend time in the city! In truth, it isn't quite as bad as people may imagine.

Restricted to a few small show areas like Soi Cowboy and the night market area of Patpong, and regulated by the tourist police to protect visitors from whatever is considered to be criminal exploitation, there is an acceptance and almost an innocence about it which somehow makes it less sleazy than it would be in the West. Couples on holiday even go together to experience the atmosphere and the shows, just to see what it's like. Of course, an open, not-easily offended mind is required :)

Thais and foreigners - known as 'farangs' - return from the night market and restaurant complex of Asiatique, on one of the Chao Phraya Express River Boats
Thais and foreigners - known as 'farangs' - return from the night market and restaurant complex of Asiatique, on one of the Chao Phraya Express River Boats | Source
Two monks walk in the background, whilst a flower seller walks down the middle of the street with an impressive display - just 3 of the 8 million people of this great city
Two monks walk in the background, whilst a flower seller walks down the middle of the street with an impressive display - just 3 of the 8 million people of this great city | Source

In Summary

So that's it. Just a tiny sample of the millions of people who live in the City of Bangkok, and how some of them live from sunrise to sunset and into the night beyond, commuting and working, shopping, eating, playing, resting and loving, living lives of pleasure and lives of prayer. It cannot be a representative selection of all the people of Bangkok, much less all Thais - for many rural Thais the life of the city is as alien as life in outer space! But I do hope the photos are representative of the people that visitors and tourists are most likely to come into contact with.

I like Thailand and I like Bangkok, and I like the people of Bangkok. I hope in presenting these photos I can show some of the aspects of Bangkok life that I like. There's good and bad in all nations and all cities, and Bangkok has more notoriety than most - I hope I have shown in these photos that Bangkok is far more good than bad, and its people are well worth getting to know.

A moment of peaceful contemplation for a family at the Erawan Shrine
A moment of peaceful contemplation for a family at the Erawan Shrine | Source

Copyright

Please feel free to quote limited text from this article on condition that an active link back to this page is included

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I have written articles on many subjects including science and history, politics and philosophy, film reviews and travel guides, as well as poems and stories. All can be accessed by clicking on my name at the top of this page

© 2016 Greensleeves Hubs

I'd Love to Hear Your Comments. Thanks, Alun

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      Greensleeves Hubs 13 months ago from Essex, UK

      jonnycomelately; That's such a nice comment Alan, thanks. As far as the photography is concerned, I think I'm OK compositionally, but I'm not so good creatively and technically, and with so many superb images on the Internet these days, I'd sooner be self-deprecating about my own photoessays, so as to head off any criticisms before they're made :)

      Thanks also for the mention about the presentation. I do take a lot of time organising the text and photos to try to match them up side-by-side in a visually attractive way. Of course that presentation goes to waste when readers view in a different format such as on a cell phone, but that's one of the drawbacks of writing on the Internet I guess.

      Cheers again Alan for your appreciation, which I value. Alun

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 13 months ago from Tasmania

      Alun, an excellent Hub, well laid out and presented. If you regard yourself as "not a professional photographer," what would a professional's look like? Each photo was so naturally taken and topical. I also was impressed by your layout for this hub. Something I have not quite mastered yet in my own.

      Voted up, without hesitation.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 13 months ago from Essex, UK

      Kristen Howe; Thanks very much Kristen for your kind words and your congratulations. I've just returned from my latest visit to Thailand, so I guess there may be more pages about the country to follow soon! :)

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      Greensleeves Hubs 13 months ago from Essex, UK

      emge; Thanks emje. Appreciate your comment. Alun

      bdegiulio; Thanks Bill very much. It's really nice when one receives an accolade like this isn't it?

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 13 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Alun, congrats on HOTD for this travelogue. Your descriptions and the matching photos were beautiful to give us a virtual tour guide on what to do and see in Thailand. It sounds like an interesting place to visit.

    • emge profile image

      Madan 13 months ago from Abu Dhabi

      I have spent a lot of time in Bangkok and this was an excellent refresher course.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 13 months ago from Massachusetts

      Congratulations Alun. Very well deserved.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 13 months ago from Essex, UK

      ChitrangadaSharan; Thanks Chitrangada for the congrats. By coincidence, I had just presented a similar view to yours regarding India in another comment, before reading your message. I think there are many aspects of life in Thailand which are probably reminiscent of India. I've seen it also in cultural festivals and art. And colour. India is possibly the most colourful country on Earth, but certainly Thailand's temples and street markets are also a riot of colour! Alun

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      Greensleeves Hubs 13 months ago from Essex, UK

      Paul Kuehn; Thanks Paul - an interesting comment. I do often wonder about beggars in any city I visit - and particularly I sometimes wonder about the little children or cute little dogs who accompany them, and whether they are just for show to appeal to tourists. Perhaps that's being overly cynical, and certainly some of the beggars here are really heartbreaking to see, and undoubtedly in need of help. The advice is usually not to give money and encouragement, but it would take a heart of stone to just walk past some of these people. Certainly in Bangkok they adopt a polite and humble attitude, and I suspect the money is used for food, rather than to supply drink or drug habits which may be the case in many parts of the world. Thanks so much for the congrats, and for sharing. Best wishes. Alun

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      Greensleeves Hubs 13 months ago from Essex, UK

      sukhneet; Thank you Sukhneet. I hope you can visit someday. My impression is that Thailand is quite a popular destination for Indian tourists, with some strong similarities between the two countries too. Alun

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      Chitrangada Sharan 13 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Congratulations for the HOTD!

      An excellent presentation of the everyday life of the people of Bangkok. Looks quite similar to India especially the tech. savvy people, the markets, the parks and other details.

      Enjoyed going through your hub and the lovely pictures. Nice topic for a hub.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 13 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Hello again Alun! Congratulations on getting hub of the day! I enjoyed reading this article about Bangkok and seeing all of your excellent interesting photos. Yes, Bangkok has good and bad, but mostly good. As to the beggars, About 10-15 years ago they were used by the Thai mafia to earn money from their begging. The mafia would position them during the day at locations in foreign tourist areas and then collect them and their earnings and give them a place to sleep at night before putting them out on the street again the next morning. I am sharing this hub with HP followers and on Facebook.

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      Sukhneet Kaur Bhatti 13 months ago from India

      Lot of information about Bangkok. Will certainly love to visit the place at some point in time of life :)

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      Greensleeves Hubs 13 months ago from Essex, UK

      B. Leekley; Thank you Brian. Certainly most who come to Bangkok are happy to escape the city after a few days, but that is why I wanted to write this page - because I have found through my experiences that there is plenty to enjoy in this city, even if one wishes for a slow-paced life and the simple pleasures like walking in the parks or sampling street food.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 14 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I enjoyed this virtual tour of Bangkok. Over the decades, I have enjoyed living in or visiting various cities, and I can see that I would enjoy experiencing Bangkok, too--especially the free and inexpensive options like relaxing in a park and buying a skewer of meat from a street vendor.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 14 months ago from Essex, UK

      Suhail and my dog; Thank you for your comment Suhail, and thanks for mentioning the peacefulness of Thailand. There has been political unrest in the country, and there is a faction of Muslims in the extreme southern provinces who have caused problems (albeit not usually directed against tourists) but both of these tend to go against Thai character - traditionally Thais are said to be slow to anger, and the nation is proud of its sobriquet 'Land of Smiles'. Certainly the people of Thailand seem generally to show a placidity, tolerance and friendliness which I like. I always feel safe there.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 14 months ago from Essex, UK

      aviannovice; One day I would like to Deb. I've done something similar once before with a hub about Florida (where the water birds are quite easy to get close to and photograph), and I've done a hub about the water monitor lizards of Lumpini Park, Bangkok. But like you, I do like to use my own photos, and because I'm not a dedicated or expert bird photographer I don't as yet have sufficient good quality photos to put together a page. However, maybe next time I spend several days in Bangkok, I'll devote a full day or two to the parks and see what I can do! :)

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      Deb Hirt 14 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      That's wonderful, on all accounts, Alun. Maybe you could do a little piece on birds, so we can see what they look like and a bit about them.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 14 months ago from Essex, UK

      aviannovice; Thanks Deb. That's nice, and I hope one day you can go. Although I don't go specifically to watch birds, I do take a bird field guide on my travels, and photograph any that come close enough! In the Bangkok parks there are some really attractive, albeit fairly common, species which are easily seen - Mynah Birds, Oriental Magpie Robins, Pied Starlings - my favourite is the Asian Open-Billed Stork. I will continue to go to Bangkok as my girlfriend is there, and as I exhaust the list of other attractions to see, I'll probably spend more time in the parks trying to add to my personal bird list!

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      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 14 months ago from Mississauga, ON

      Hi,

      I loved the information produced here on a peaceful country and people. Thank you for sharing.

      Regards,

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      Deb Hirt 15 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for sharing all this, Alun, things which I would normally not see. I wish one day that I could go here, just to learn from the atmosphere, as you did, and perhaps photograph a few birds in the process.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 15 months ago from Essex, UK

      AliciaC; Thanks Linda. Appreciated very much. It wasn't a hub I'd planned far in advance, but after my last two visits to the city, I decided I had enough photos to put together a worthwhile portrayal of Bangkok life, as the tourist may encounter it. Cheers, Alun

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      Greensleeves Hubs 15 months ago from Essex, UK

      delancooper; I can certainly understand that opinion about Bangkok Delan. It is an attack on all the senses and most who visit will not wish to spend more than a few days there. But I guess I've been there so many times I've gradually learned the best ways to relax, cool down and escape the crowds, as well as some of the lesser known attractions to visit. I've heard a lot of good reports about the more laid back style of Chang Mai - I will have to make it up to that part of Thailand one day!

      I note you've only recently joined HubPages. Welcome to the site - I hope you find membership to be a rewarding experience.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 15 months ago from Essex, UK

      MsDora; Thanks Dora! As with many of my articles it was never intended to be so long. I was planning on about 20 or 30 photos, but that would have left out too many elements of life in Bangkok. The text just grew correspondingly in length to tie in with the photos :) Thanks so much for the kind comment. Alun

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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for this interesting and informative tour, Alun. I enjoyed learning more about Bangkok by reading your hub and looking at all the photos.

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      Delan Cooper 15 months ago from Australia

      I remembered that time I've stayed in Bangkok, it's a busy city. A lot of traffic a lot of cars. People walk fast to keep up the work. I didn't like it at all at that time. (just from my opinion) But now I moved to Chiang Mai, I'm very happy and totally love it.

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 15 months ago from The Caribbean

      Alun, I do not remember seeing any article which touches so many aspects of everyday life in one virtual tour. Colorful, detailed, all-inclusive, you did a wonderful job with words and pictures. I enjoyed Bangkok.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 15 months ago from Essex, UK

      Thanks Bill. Exactly the point I was trying to make. Although there are cultural differences and standard of living generally may be lower than in America or the UK, there is every kind of person here - rich, poor, liberal, conservative, devout and religiously relaxed - but all with the same basic aspirations and pleasures. But of course it tends to be the extremes which get reported on in other nations, and in Bangkok's case those extremes are generally not favourable - hence my desire to show ordinary Thai life in the capital.

      Thanks for enquiring! Yes, I leave work on 31st March. In some ways it will be sad because I have good friends at work, but I'm looking forward to the chance to lose a few stresses, relax, write more - and travel!

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      Bill De Giulio 15 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Alun. It amazes me how some regions of the world come with preconceived reputations, yet they really are no different than many other places. It looks to me that Thai's live much as we do; they work, play, socialize, shop, travel, relax, worship, and are addicted to their cell phones just like the rest of the world :). I have yet to make it to Southeast Asia but would not hesitate if and when the opportunity arises. Great job.

      On a different topic you must be counting down the days!

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