As the capital of a country that is proud to have been spared from colonization, Bangkok may seem to lack a diversity of influence. However, our Diversity and Harmony Walking Tour with Expique that explored the city’s hidden cultural quarters proved otherwise. Read more…
The demographic diversity and underlying segregation in countries like Malaysia and Singapore have resulted to the creation of cultural quarters where there proliferates strongly a singular influence. Places like Chinatown and Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, and Kampung Glam and Katong in Singapore have let visitors explore cultures to a certain extent through people, cuisine, art, shopping, and entertainment.
In Bangkok, things may seem ‘same, same’ on the surface. First-timers would usually only see its two prominent Buddhist temples, the Wat Pho and Wat Arun, and eat the usual pad Thai, green curry, tom yum, and mango sticky rice. This seeming cultural monotony can mostly be attributed to two circumstances: Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, and its annals of history reveal no European invasion, leaving little room for migration of influences.
Our friends at Expique, a new Thai-based travel startup, invited us to try their Diversity and Harmony Walking Tour. It entails a 3.5km walk and three and a half hours to finish.
The tour started aboard a ride on a long-tail boat, taking everyone on a cruise of the Chao Phraya. The walkathon began at Tha Din Daeng, and along the way, side streets, Thai temples, Chinese shrines, churches, and mosques were explored. Plus, they treated us to an array of local snacks as the tour went on.
Much as I want to discuss each stop in this article, I’d like to extend Expique the courtesy of keeping the full details of the tour that they themselves developed. However, here are snapshots of most of the places we went to:
At the end of the tour, I saw a concealed facets of Bangkok that don’t come written in typical destination guides. Its cultural quarters demonstrate that diverse influences have trickled to the city, no matter how slightly. More importantly, it showed how Bangkok can host these ways of life harmoniously—a tolerance that some cities cannot even achieve.
As an aside, I like how our Expique guides were well-versed, engaging, and candid at the same time. While a 3.5km walk under the blazing Bangkok sun sounds draining, it didn’t feel too much because the places we passed by were interesting and surely off-the-beaten-path, and it helped that the tour was commendably well-organized from the beginning. I’d certainly recommend the Diversity and Harmony Walking Tour to those who are keen in discovering Bangkok on a different light. For more details, check out their Bangkok walking tours.