Nestled in the midst of rapid development, Khlong Toei emerges as a dynamic district, its focal point being the bustling Sukhumvit Road. Here, upscale hotels and office skyscrapers harmoniously coexist with high-end dining establishments, bespoke tailors, and glamorous shopping malls. Amidst this modern landscape, the traditional Khlong Toei Market stands as a vibrant hub, with its stalls overflowing with an array of produce, flowers, and clothing. See also the Districts in Bangkok.
Klong Toey District
Amidst the urban buzz, pockets of greenery offer respite. Benjakitti Park, featuring a serene lake and inviting jogging paths, provides a peaceful escape. Additionally, the Khlong Toei Pier serves as a gateway for longtail boats ferrying passengers across the Chao Phraya River.
Positioned right at the heart of the capital, Khlong Toey goes by several names, reflecting its significance. The local community, numbering over 100,000, adds to the district’s distinct character. Surprisingly, many of these residents have called this place home for decades without owning the properties they inhabit. Spanning approximately 1.5 square kilometers, the slum area rests on relatively low, swampy land. The homes, topped with tin roofs, are perched on stilts above stagnant, polluted waters. Unsurprisingly, the monsoon season exacerbates the challenge, leading to recurrent flooding.
This area has a historical lineage tracing back to the ninth century when it served as a port linking cities upstream along the Chao Phraya River, including Pak Nam Phra Pradaeng. This was during the reign of King Phutthayotfa Chulalok. Notably, Khlong Thanon Trong, originally a canal and road constructed by King Mongkut in 1857, eventually transformed into the known Khlong Toei and Khlong Hua Lamphong. Lastly also see the BTS Map in Bangkok.
The moniker “Khlong Toei” is derived from the presence of pandan plants along the canal’s southern bank. Subsequently, King Vajiravudh renamed the road Rama IV Road in 1919. The transformation continued as a substantial portion of the Khlong Toei canal was filled in 1947 to expand the Rama IV Road.
Having evolved over time, Khlong Toei evolved from being part of the Phra Khanong district to becoming an independent district on 9 November 1989. While originally comprising six sub-districts, three of these later contributed to the establishment of the Watthana district.
Within this evolving urban landscape, an informal settlement emerged, marked by squatting. This settlement, surveyed in 1971, ranks among Bangkok’s largest slums. By 2006, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people called this place home, embodying the intricate tapestry of Khlong Toei’s diverse population.