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September 3, 2015

Bangkok Street Life – Khun Faad the flower garland vendor

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On our daily tours through Bangkok we come across some amazing things. Each day we discover something new, it’s almost as if the city is slowly and deliberately exposing itself to us! The urban fabric would not be what it is without the street life, something that we sometimes take for granted, but it’s the very thing that brings Bangkok to life. As such, we decided to focus more on the people that populate this great city, the people that go about their everyday business and life through the streets of Bangkok, the people that we see and maybe interact with but know nothing else about them, otherwise just another ordinary person of the estimated 8.5 million population.

“Hello, I’m Matthew, a tour guide at Follow Me Bangkok Bicycle Tours. I filmed this short video during the Siam Boran historical and cultural bicycle tour at Pak Khlong Talat, the largest fresh flower market in Bangkok. We met Khun Faad who was busy making ornate flower garlands and we asked her a few questions”

“Khun Faad told us that she is originally from the north of Thailand and has been making and selling garlands in Bangkok for the past 14 years.

Many Thais from the rural areas move to Bangkok in search of better employment and a better lifestyle. Most leave their extended families, and more often than not their children, in their home towns while they work in the ‘Big Smoke’ trying to earn enough money to live a reasonable existence and sending any spare cash home. Khun Faad only manages to return home once a year during the Songkran festival in April, which is the Thai New Year. This is fairly normal in Thailand as most workers, especially semi or unskilled workers, cannot afford the time or the money to visit their families more often.

In Bangkok it is normal to work 6 days a week which can seem rather excessive compared to the Western World. However, Khun Faad actually works 7 days a week, and as she says if she takes a day off then obviously she cannot make money. She seems to be fortunate that she has many happy customers who pre order garlands from her, and if she has to she will often work around the clock until her orders are complete.

Traditionally Thai flower garlands, known as ‘Phuang Malai’ are given as offerings for good luck or used during religious ceremonies and weddings. This is a unique way of arranging flowers and the art form became very popular during the reign of King Rama V over two hundred years ago.

Thai garlands often have very intricate designs and the most common way of making them is by threading flowers over a large needle onto a cotton thread. The garlands have a beautiful scent from the use of the aromatic jasmine flowers, their vibrant colours are carefully created by a mix of flowers such as marigolds, orchids and roses. So it’s not surprising that Khun Faad has set her small stall up in the perfect location surrounded by an endless supply of exotic flowers.

On any Bangkok tour you are certain to see vendors, like Khun Faad, making and selling a variety of flower garlands.”

If you want to meet some of the fantastic people that populate the vibrant streets of Bangkok then why not join us on a Bangkok tour. Click here for more details.

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