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Go Vespa Go!

It’s funny how we look at things, trying to take in everything, but usually (in my case at least) with mixed results.

I’ve walked up and down through Chinatown countless times, snapping street scenes or just enjoying the atmospheric chaos.

Recently I was there with a friend and we suddenly noticed an ancient, decrepit-looking Vespa scooter, it was literally begging to be photographed…

That triggered something and before we knew it we bumped into lots of other old Vespas!

I must have seen them lots of times in the past during my walks of course but for whatever reason they just didn’t ‘click’ until now.

In Chinatown the Vespa is the classic workhorse, buzzing around through lanes and alleys, while carrying ridiculous loads on the back.

The reason for its popularity here through all the years is its engine construction: low to the ground and connected directly to the back wheel. 

Having the engine atop the rear wheel makes for unequal weight distribution but this enables it also for loading piles of stuff on the back!

Rolls of textile, heavy sacks of rice, anything goes, only elephants on the back we didn’t see that day, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if one day in the future…

As you can see from my photos the Vespas are well used, to put it mildly, but the few owners we met were (rightfully!) very proud of them and more than happy to pose for photos!

Taking a break!!

Battered and bruised.

The owner didn't mind!

No lack of rust...

A cool yellow Vespa.

Ready to be loaded.

Green and yellow, a great combination!

Black, dirty, but still tough!

Let's do a few more rolls!

Nowadays in other parts of town, new versions of the Vespa can be seen cruising around with hipster owners doing their best to have a vintage cool look, fun perhaps, but the real deal can be found in Chinatown!

UPDATE (18/04/2024):

During Songkran I was on the Chaophraya Express Boat a few times and noticed the above sign somewhere along the riverside in Chinatown...

A few days later I went for a walk trying to find it which turned out to be relatively easy!

There even was a shop at the riverside.

In the evening there are tables and chairs, food & drinks available, a good reason to come back another time!

Funnily enough, the VESPA VINTAGE THAI sign is NOT visible from the entrance at Songwat Road, at least I never saw anything...

Related stories:


The artwork is truly stunning! It seamlessly integrates Koen's unique style with a nostalgic blend of motorcycle memories in Chinatown. Nice!

Apr 12
Replying to

Thank you 😀


Really intervesping! You are right how many things like that we daily miss and then, puff, one suddenly notices. I will now pay more least in Chinatown.

Apr 07
Replying to

Next time you are here again Steve, we will check them out!


This is wonderful, icon of Bangkok, with an industry create to keep these ancient vehicles on the road. Some years ago I wrote a story featuring a Vespa, and will see if I can find it for you.

Apr 07
Replying to

Glad you liked it Ray!

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