Walking Tour from Siam Square to Chinatown
This tour starts at Siam Square, the shopping area for young Thais looking for the latest fashion trends and accessories. However, hip and trendy Siam Square does have some serious roots! We visit Bangkok’s oldest single-screen movie hall from the 1960s. Its interior is unique, the modern “world of tomorrow” architecture is great; it’s well preserved. From the outside, the cinema looks old-world. There are no digital displays here and the name of the film showing is displayed in red letters, each put up by hand.
Continue walking through the campus of one of Bangkok’s oldest universities towards Jim Thompson’s House but instead of going inside (like countless other tourists), we head for Klong Saen Saeb, one of Bangkok’s oldest canals. Small walkways run alongside some parts of the klong and provide the visitor with a whole new perspective of the area. Visit a small silk shop hidden in a tiny alley, its owner used to know Jim Thompson!
Klong Saen Saeb might be not very nice looking and smelly at times, but it is an important transport route. Large, noisy riverboats cruise up and down, making short stops at small piers. One has to be quick to board and continue to pay attention; the boat’s roof will be lowered before going under bridges!
End destination is The Golden Mount temple, but do have a look at the bridge with its Italian style reliefs of a woman clasping a child to her breast. We have a coffee break at a local shop with a great view of The Golden Mount before moving on.
Walk through the temple grounds, have a look at a firework shop before heading to an area where monk bowls are made by hand. Nowadays factory-made bowls are so much cheaper that this traditional craft is dying out, but this area still survives.
In the meantime more and more China Town influences become visible, a Chinese signboard here, a Chinese shrine there…
Next is a traditional ‘fresh market’ with many things to see and smell. Onwards to the ‘Flashlight Market’ area, where especially during weekends everything and anything is being sold.
We might stop at a former Thai Bank, which hosts interesting Thai art exhibitions on its (air-conditioned) second floor.
Back outside it’s time for a short stretch of a long, narrow pedestrian lane crammed with masses of goods from hair slides (sold by the dozen) to kitchen utensils.
A few narrow alleys and some interesting old buildings are all that’s left before we enjoy lunch at a wonderful riverside restaurant.
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