Let’s get to know Auntie Rung, the leader of We love Talat Noi group!
So, just to start here, Auntie Rung. Are you from Bangkok originally?
Yes, I was born and bred right here in Talat Noi way back in 1964. And I wanna say that Talat Noi is a special place because it’s a tight-knit community; back in the days, people in the neighborhood know each other. But no so much now, I suppose. In my and my parents’ generation, we know who lives where. But I doubt the grandchildren generation does the same.
Well, since you’re a Bangkokian yourself. What does the city of Bangkok means to you?
For me, Bangkok is a very busy place. Everyone and everything’s always in a rush. People rush to work in the morning and rush home in the evening. And they spend less time at home and, eventually, they became distant from their families and communities.
I think I can personally relate to that. But was it any difference back in the old days? Or that it’s always been like this.
Oh, it’s always been like this. For the past 20 years. People have been working and the same things just keep on going all the time; work, work, work, work, work.
Wow, that must be really tense. So how do you loosen yourself up then?
If it’s back in the days, I would go to a fitness center at and start working out after being done with work. But now, I’ll just spend time relaxing at home. Maybe walking around a bit; letting loose. I feel no rush.
Okay then. But if people want to spend their free time relaxing outside, where would you recommend?
I’d say come here to Talat Noi. Come here and open your eyes; see the old retro things, or feel the unique way of life we’re leading here even. And we got delicious food too, so there’s no way in the world you’ll be disappointed (Laughed).
Wow. How come?
Because the moment I joined the Kon Rak Talat Noi (We love Talat Noi) group and started working for the community, I’ve realized that there is more than meeting the eyes here. Well, not that we have anything fancy, but we have a unique blend of Thai-Chinese culture and heritage worth sustaining. For examples, there are grannies who have know-how of traditional arts of Chinese delicacies and handcraft. And by walking around, you’ll see that we have one-of-a-kind Thai-Chinese architecture here in the neighborhood too.
And we happen to have stories to tell too. Like on Charoen Krung 22, there were once rows of old buildings built almost a hundred years ago. Now it’s gone; struck down in 1983 and 1985. And now there are a few of them left and me and the group are doing our best to keep them intact. And if you really want to witness all of this, you just have to come here and see for yourself.
Now that’s really more than meeting the eyes. So as a local of Talat Noi, what’s your most impressive memory about this place?
Wow, there used to be rows of piers along the river. They were the kind of piers that were designed to slope down into the waters. So we, as kids, would just go there and swim in the river.
Swim? In the Chao Phraya? For real?
Yep, we just jumped right into the river and swim. I remember there was one time that I snuck out with my friends and went down to the river. We floated along the tide and got back up at one of the piers. But we were spotted by one of our neighbors, and just like I told you that Talat Noi is a tight-knit community and we all know each other, that neighbor told our moms, and we just walked home only to be caned. Dang it! (Laugh)
By the way, those piers were pretty useful, though. They let the people of Talat Noi make the most use of the river. For example, if you ran out of water, you could just go to the river bank and take a bath, or even washing your clothes.
But it’s kinda sad that they built those concrete walls along the river and we can’t do that anymore. And the last pier is at the Zhou Shi Kong Shrine, but it’s just a small stairs down into the water. And well, you know, you can’t make much use of the river anymore, and those sloped piers are just memories now.
Well, I’m sad hearing that too. Anyway, I really appreciate talking to you sharing your stories with me today. But before we go, have you got anything else to add?
Actually yes, there’s this rooftop place at the River View Hostel called River Vibe Restaurant and Bar. It’s right here in Talat Noi and I come here and chillax myself sometimes. And my advice is be there is around 5.40 in the evening, so that the last light is not too bright and you can fully enjoy the river breeze, the sunset and the food and cold drinks. And hey, this place is an absolute must, you can’t miss it!
Auntie Rung is leading our local neighborhood discovery trip – “The Hidden Talat Noi Neighborhood. She love showing her home to visitors from around the world. Find out more details here.
Our Writer- Sher, Nattanut Wongpariyakul
Sher loves writing as much as he loves wandering around. He enjoys good movies, music, as much as daydreaming on BTS Skytrain. In the meantime, he’s trying to document what he sees on the streets of Bangkok and turns them into one epic writing project of a lifetime.