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The Urbanist’s Bangkok

A Phoenix-like mall, newly coined street slang, and Thai cowboys.

Bangkok at Twilight: Talad Rot Fai night antique market, April 9.   

The past few years have not been easy for Bangkok. Military coups, political instability, and deadly street protests have given the Thai capital a dangerous—though mostly unearned—reputation. “It’s a topsy-turvy place for politics,” says Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. “At the same time, it’s a safe place.” Outside the protest zones (last year’s stretched from Lumphini Park to the shopping centers along Rama 1 Road), life goes on as normal, which means browsing the reconstructed mall that was burned to the ground only eleven months ago, queuing up curbside for “toxic orange” bowls of pork noodle soup, and grabbing drinks from the side of a Volkswagen Beetle that’s been converted into a roving 3 a.m. bar.

Fear Not Street Meat
What If Protests Erupt Again?
What Is It With Thais and Cowboys?
Listenable Thai Dance Music
How to Speak Thai Like a Dek Naew
The Toughest Tables in Thailand
A Neighborhood Battle
Where Locals Would Stay If They Weren't Locals
The Mall With Nine Lives
Big Apple vs. Big Mango

Reported by Matt Gross.


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