Finding quietness in Bangkok, Thailand

Men playing chess in a park in downtown Bangkok

Men playing chess in a park in downtown Bangkok

As pretty much any other major capital in the world, Bangkok (Thailand) is a big, busy, noisy and vibrant place.

However, when I was there for two days before taking my flight to Cartagena (Colombia), I wandered through its backstreets, alleys and parks looking for a different perspective of the city, one that could offer a look into its quieter face; people looking for some peace and serenity amongst the chaotic urban environment.

A short detour from a main avenue took me to this quiet neighborhood 

A short detour from a main avenue took me to this quiet neighborhood 

I spent two days walking around the central part of the city, with no actual plan in mind but to freely wander through small streets, trying to find scenes that could offer a glimpse into a slower Bangkok

A man reading a book under a tree in a small park by the river

A man reading a book under a tree in a small park by the river

It was a fun exercise which took me out of the busy, touristic, party zones, and gave me a different perspective of that city that seemed so overwhelmingly busy for me at first. I must say that finding quietness was easier than I thought it would be, and that is part of the reason why I think Bangkok is such a special capital: a modern city that had successfully managed to embrace (western) idea of development while keeping its traditions and ancient culture. A city with a soul, with a special Thai feel about it. 

For me, the best way to photograph a place is to simply wander around, getting lost, interacting with locals, eating in small local places, and photographing everything that catches my attention, from old, abandoned cars to small food markets by a tinny canal.  

Big cities in the so called "modern" societies have such a fast rhythm that I find it extremely important to try to slow down a bit, in order to properly see the environment around us, and to accurately process all the information we are constantly receiving, through many different channels and platforms.

We just cannot afford to lose our humanity and live our lives like post-industrial programed robots.

Bernardo Salce