Community at Work
HOW CHAROENKRUNG ROAD IS RAPIDLY TRANSFORMING ITSELF INTO ONE OF THE CITY’S COOLEST NEIGHBOURHOODS
Worlds collide on Bangkok’s Charoenkrung Road. The first paved road in the city is today a melting pot of museums, restaurants, bars and cafes that stand side by side with decades-old family shophouses and businesses, from rice factories to jewellery dealers.
The 8.5 km road runs from Saphan Taksin to the old city centre, weaving past Bangkok’s Chinatown en route. Before all the ma-and-pa shops arrived, Charoenkrung was the first port of call for western travellers, who were met with dirt roads and potholes that blocked their horse-drawn carriages, until the entire stretch was paved at a cost of 28,038 baht in the early 1860s and soon flourished as a commercial hub.
As the new trams and ferries helped to open up other parts of the city, Charoenkrung’s popularity waned. Remnants of the old strips remained, like the Bangkokian Museum, which houses old artefacts and furnishings in a lush compound of wooden bungalows dating back to 1937.