Ong Ang Past & Present
The first time I walked around Khlong Ong Ang - in Bangkok's Chinatown - must have been probably in 1985 or 86, wandering through Sampeng Lane and its surrounding alleys.
In those days the (seriously filthy and smelly) khlong itself was barely visible as all kinds of shops/shacks were built over it!
So when I saw this 2 weeks ago I couldn't believe my eyes!
I took these shots on an ordinary weekday and later that same evening had Indian food in one of those restaurants.
In Thai it says 'Pahurat' which is the name of the district.
Over the years I had visited this area several times and after 2015 seen the renovation work in progress, but to see it 'suddenly' all ready to rock, amazing!
The entrance to Sampeng Lane was nicely decorated.
The artwork used for these drain covers are also available on t-shirts.
Last week Friday I came back and when I saw this.., I was flabbergasted!
The walking street event (*) was about to start.
Like any 'proper' Thai street event there had to be food, lots of good food available!
Kayaking in that canal, who would have ever thought that anyone was brave enough to try?!
Not 'shop till you drop', but 'snack till you're ready to hit the sack', all in all a very pleasant atmosphere.
Of course most people were wearing face masks, although I overheard one guy saying that he didn't worry because he drank beer every day...
Live music was available at a few places, note the huge Alex Face mural in the back, lots of street art here. (**)
Vendors were getting ready to sell their stuff.
Another bunch of performers.
This lady admitted that she was the singer and waiting for her keyboard player.
I was told several times that kayaking was free of charge.
I love those Chinese style lanterns.
Official signboard of Ong Ang Walking Street.
The street art serves as a great photo backdrop.
I returned last Saturday to see more of the place after dark.
These kind of figurines are popular here.
But some folks were selling remnants from a distant past...
Escaping a Karaoke performance is very difficult...
Here it starts really, the small alley on the right gives a better idea of how it looked in the past.
A country and western band performing 'Take Me Home Country Roads'...
As the sun was setting more people started arriving.
It became crowded, but in a pleasant way.
This small side alley became a popular photostop.
A hamburger brand I'd never heard of!
Sketch artists in action.
The beer bar on the second floor was a great stop to observe the walking street area.
At Saphan Lek with all the busy Charoen Krung Road traffic passing by...
The main entrance from Saphan Lek.
A great place to pose for your friend's camera!
Quite a sight, isn't it?!
BLAST FROM THE PAST (***)
On the right side is the khlong, hidden underneath those shacks.
I checked some old backups and found these old photos from a trip 13 years ago when it all looked very different...
Mainly clothes and garments were sold here until 2015 when the big clean up started.
Near Sampeng Lane it was always more crowded.
View from Saphan Panopan (Yaowarat Rd) towards Sampeng area then...
View from Saphan Panopan (Yaowarat Rd) towards Sampeng area now!
View from Saphan Panopan (Yaowarat Rd) towards Saphan Lek area then...
View from Saphan Panopan (Yaowarat Rd) towards Saphan Lek area now...
Inside the Saphan Lek market was a maze of tiny shops selling all kinds of electronics, games, tape cassettes and later CDs and DVDs, I remember buying a portable radio cassette player there!
Of course most of the goods were copies...
By 2008 remote controlled toys were sold as well.
Saphan Lek definitely was not a place to visit if you suffered from claustrophobia!
(*) This event is every Fri-Sat-Sun.
(**) As this is already a longer than my usual posts, I decided not to add the street-art and probably will use it for a future post.