Pictures of Old Bangkok
by Eric Lim
Rickshaw pullers at Si Kak Phraya Si intersection
One evening, I was strolling along Sukhumvit Road near the Phrom Phong skytrain station when I noticed a street vendor selling old pictures of Bangkok. These were the two prints I selected as the scenes are nostalgic. The captions in Thai are still visible.
These old pictures were probably photographed in the late 19th century (mid 1880s – mid 1890s) long before automobiles or electric tram cars were introduced to Bangkok.
Picture 1 - The Si Kak Phraya Si intersection is along Charoen Krung Road about 400 m from the south-eastern corner of the Grand Palace.
"Si Kak" means intersection in the Teochew dialect, the dominant Chinese dialect among the Thais of Chinese descent.
Overtime the two words "Si Kak" were included in the name of the intersection.
Picture 2 - The caption in the photo doesn’t say which part of Charoen Krung Road the photo was taken. The tram car is drawn by two horses along a fixed rail. The horse tram service was provided by a company managed by a Dane, Svend Aage Westenholz who came to Bangkok in 1885.
Electric tramcars were only introduced in 1894 and this service was along Charoen Krung Road. The Siam Electric Company supplied the power for these tram cars. Westenholz was the manager of this electric company.
For more on the Danes in Bangkok, please see The Danish legacy in Bangkok
Picture 3 - These tram car tracks can be seen on certain stretches of Charoen Krung Road just south of Yaowarat Road.