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New tourism emphasizes Bangkok’s dying community

New tourism emphasizes Bangkok’s dying community

It was as though six old neighborhoods around Bangkok were teleported to a hotel garden on a recent afternoon.

At one corner, a man was hawking sets of glimmering bowls made from copper and bronze, a trade passed down in the Baan Bu community for centuries.

“There’s only one engraver left alive,” community leader Pichit Boonjin told a group of tourists. “No one else is taking up his job.” “What happens when he dies?” a tourist asked.“I don’t know! He’s leaving the craft to his son, but he’s not even a craftsman yet,” Pichit said.

At another corner, Thais and foreigners line up to buy juice made from gac, a red colored fruit grown in the Koh Sarn Chao neighborhood. Not far off, descendants of ethnic Mon from the Bang Kadi community showed off handmade textiles to curious onlookers.

The marketing event was organized by a company that seeks to bring visitors to these old communities – some of which are even older than Bangkok itself. It’s part of a community-based tourism trend that’s fast replacing the old tradition of bus-hopping and snapping photos at familiar landmarks.

The six communities on display were Banglamphu, Hua Takhe, Baan Bu, Nang Loeng, Bang Kadi and Koh Sarn Chao. The company co-founder, Achiraya Thamparipattra, said she started the business after seeing old neighborhoods like Saphan Lek and Mahakan Fort torn down.

“I don’t want Bangkok to be without a soul,” Achiraya said.  Source: Khaosod

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