Talad Noi and The Scrapyard District in Bangkok's Chinatown

THéo COurant

Travelling around South East Asia

fr-FRen-GB
News

Bangkok - Airport : Grab at Suvarnabhumi airport

Thailand - Jellyfish Alert: Stinging Risks at Chala That Beach

Thailand - Songrkan: Special Extended Holiday for 2024 Songkran Festival in Thailand

Thailand - Cannabis: March 2024: Debate and delays over legislation to ban cannabis again in Thailand

Talad Noi and The Scrapyard District in Bangkok's Chinatown

Explore a different side of Bangkok, not the glitz and glamour, but the authentic pulse of everyday life that often eludes tourists in a hurry. Nestled between the banks of the Chao Phraya River and Chinatown is a unique enclave: the Sieng Kong district, Talad Noi, home to scrap metal merchants and car parts dealers.

scrapyard-district-talad-noi-chinatown

An Unusual Place: Sieng Kong, the Scrapyard District

Far from the uniform hangars of car service chains, this corner of Bangkok is home to a considerable number of mechanics, scrap dealers, and small parts vendors. It’s a charming chaos that conceals a perfect spatial organization and the accompanying consequences of this bustling activity, such as noises, emissions from products, and constant movement
What’s even stranger is finding this bustling community in one of Bangkok’s oldest neighborhoods. For most Western visitors, it’s more common to see scrapyard activities on the outskirts of cities. Here, it’s the opposite; we’re in the city center, and despite its age, the neighborhood has adapted remarkably. Everything is concentrated, everything is mixed.

📍 Location: Sieng Kong, Talad Noi, Charoen Krung
ℹ️ For more info, check the map here

Sieng Kong, the Garage Houses District

scrapyard-district-talad-noi-chinatown

In the same building, you’ll discover professional activities on the ground floor, while upstairs or in adjoining rooms, family life predominates. These houses, aged and lacking space, have prompted many owners to repurpose their terraces and sidewalks into storage spaces. Some residences boast walls constructed from metal components like carburetors and engines, while others have opted to park old cars, transforming them into reserves for rivets, hoses, nuts, and more. These vehicles stand motionless, serving as extensions of the garage, for years on end.

Junkyard Streets, a ritualised street

scrapyard-district-talad-noi-chinatown

In the morning, starting at 8 o’clock, machines hum to life, while cars pause to load or unload parts – gearboxes here, camshafts there. Welding sparks fly on one corner, while electronics are tended to on the other, conveniently located next to the battery vendor. Whether first-hand or second-hand, everything is available.

Throughout the day, the bustling activity sets the pace for the neighborhood’s rhythm. An occasional itinerant vendor passes by, offering drinks, fruits, or, better yet, grilled skewers. Each person moves at their own pace, but as 4 p.m. approaches, the tempo slows. Cleaning, washing, and tidying commence. Some scrap dealers take a break, chatting and enjoying a drink before heading home. One thing is certain: everything will be in order, ready for the next day.

scrapyard-district-talad-noi-chinatown

This seemingly unchanging way of life stands in stark contrast to the relentless encroachment of condominiums. Living by the Chao Phraya River is highly sought after, and developers are making their intentions clear.

We can only hope that the path of these developers is fraught with obstacles, allowing the working class, mechanics, and scrap dealers to continue enjoying this place, its rhythm, and its unique atmosphere.

To reach Talat Noi in Bangkok:

  • Riverboat: Easily accessible via riverboat, with the closest pier being Marine Department, served by various Chao Praya Express boat lines (green, yellow, and orange).
  • Public Transportation: Bangkok’s MRT passes through Chinatown, with Hua Lamphong being the nearest station. Alternatively, you can alight at Wat Mangkon and take a 10-minute walk to Talat Noi.
  • Grab/Taxi: Taxis, especially moto-taxis, are convenient options, especially when MRT or river transport is unavailable. Moto-taxis can be booked through the Grab app. Regular taxis are suitable for groups but avoid rush hours.

scrapyard-district-talad-noi-chinatown