Bangkok: Then & Now

I am fascinated by historical photos. I can stare at an old black & white photo from turn-of-the-century anywhere for minutes on end. I look at the people or places depicted and try to put myself there. I look at the faces, the clothing..what was the weather like? Are those people miserably hot in their stiff century-old garb? What did they do after the photo was taken? What did they say?

Especially fascinating to me are the series of photos called “then & now”. These pictures will show some area, landmark, or building from long ago. Next to it will be a photo showing how that area or building looks today. Usually the “now” photo is in color. My local newspaper does this every Sunday and it is the first page I turn to every weekend.

This brings me to the topic of my blog. As I was leaving Thailand back in 2001, I ran across a book in the airport duty-free shop. It was called “Bangkok: Then and Now” by Steve Van Beek (ISBN #:974-87616-0-6).
This book has loads of photos taken from 1900-1901 in and around Bangkok. Next to those photos are their modern siblings depicted in a modern myriad of colors. Some of the photos are depicting well-known areas or structures. Many are often more obscure (such as a sidestreet or narrow little klong).

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite photos from the book. Enjoy! P.S. My apologies; I couldn’t fit these photos side by side. I don’t think too much was lost by stacking them like this. The quality might have suffered a bit as well, as I took the photos with my camera from the open book.


Looking north from the top of the Golden Mount ca.1880 and today


Ti Thong Road ca.1900 and today


The intersection of New Road and Worachak Road then and now. I don’t know where this is, but I thought it was cool.

7 responses to “Bangkok: Then & Now

  1. I like the first photo shown. I here Bangkok was so so different years ago. The last two photos seem as if little has changed. A few more pics of well known Bangkok areas would be good. I would love to see sukumwit rd.
    Thanks all the same EJ

  2. Nice pictures that u’ve post~ I’ve nv seen those olden days pic of Siam! Does the book only consist of streets in bangkok? What about other provinces? 🙂 The pic i like most among all this the 1st pic 🙂

  3. I am glad to get some good responses. I will plan to expand more on this topic and show some more pictures. There are some really great shots! Also, there are some neat old articles reprinted from the newspapers of that era (in English). They include classified ads, notice of upcoming social events, and police blotters. Fascinating stuff!

    @seaside: sorry, no. These are only shots of Bangkok. I will do some research and try to find shots from other areas. Stay tuned.

  4. Those old pics are from my last life. LOL! So, I like to believe!

  5. Well…it’s alright man 🙂 If have pictures of Bkk is very gd already…Does it have pictures of streets along MBK shopping center/Siam Discovery center and World Trade Center? Would like to see the old pics of the place I stayed b4 when I go bkk…

  6. Fantastic – where do I buy the book?.

    And how do I get copies of the old photos?. I too an facinated with old photos and wish to display them in my Condo?.

  7. fabulous i am really intrested in all this stuff

    p.s good work