Life in the Bangkok slums: Children play on rail tracks in poverty-stricken settlements


Incredible photos show what life is like in the slums of Bangkok, with children seen playing on railway tracks in poverty-stricken settlements which are home to some of Thailand‘s poorest people. 

The pictures were taken by photographer Sam Gregg, 30, in the Klong Toey slums in the country’s capital which are home to around 100,000 people. 

In one photo, a toddler sits in a chair on a makeshift platform which has been fitted to railway tracks, a sign that children have to make do with the play spaces available. 

In others, prostitutes are seen posing for the photographer as he takes close-up pictures.

Criminals are also seen, with one tattoo-covered man pictured lying down. He spent 20 years in prison for dealing drugs to support his family and his inkings are a memento of his time spent inside. 

Mr Gregg, from London, said: ‘Living near the local slum population, I began to immerse myself in their community, often spending my Sundays watching cockfights through a thick haze of cigarette smoke and moonshine. 

‘I would begin my day by meandering through the local red light district to an opening that hid the beginning of the Klong Toey railway tracks. 

‘One thing that immediately struck me was the incredible paradox of the slums. There was an uncomfortable balance between the humour and charm of the residents and the matter of fated crime and violence that surrounded their daily lives.’ 

Incredible photos show what life is like in the Klong Toey slums of Bangkok, with people living in poverty-stricken settlements which are home to some of the world’s poorest people

The pictures, taken by photographer Sam Gregg, 30, from London, were taken in slums in the country's capital which are home to around 100,000 people. Pictured: A young child sits in a play chair which has been fitted to railway tracks which run through the slums

The pictures, taken by photographer Sam Gregg, 30, from London, were taken in slums in the country’s capital which are home to around 100,000 people. Pictured: A young child sits in a play chair which has been fitted to railway tracks which run through the slums

Pictured above: A sex worker waits for business in the red light district near Klong Toey

Another tattoo-covered man smokes a cigarette as he casually crouches on the railway tracks to watch a cargo train approaching

Pictured left: A sex worker waits for business in the red light district near Klong Toey. Pictured right: Another tattoo-covered man smokes a cigarette as he casually crouches on the railway tracks to watch a cargo train approaching

Yap is a former inmate of Bang Kwang prison, one of the most brutal in the world. He spent 20 years inside for dealing 'Ya ba' - tablets containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine - to support his family

Yap is a former inmate of Bang Kwang prison, one of the most brutal in the world. He spent 20 years inside for dealing ‘Ya ba’ – tablets containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine – to support his family

Children in the slums have to make use of the play spaces available to them. Those pictured above are seen climbing on the skeleton of an abandoned oil tanker. Many of their parents will have come to Bangkok in the hope of a better life, lured by the bright lights and job prospects

Children in the slums have to make use of the play spaces available to them. Those pictured above are seen climbing on the skeleton of an abandoned oil tanker. Many of their parents will have come to Bangkok in the hope of a better life, lured by the bright lights and job prospects

Former prisoner Yap shows off a new tattoo

A 'sex worker poses for a photo

Mr Gregg was struck by the ‘paradox’ of the slums. He said that despite the crime and violence which surrounded the daily lives of residents, they still displayed ‘humour and charm’. Pictured left: Former prisoner Yap shows off a new tattoo. Pictured right: A sex worker poses for a photo

The slum's residents are forced to raise their children in poverty-stricken conditions. Mr Gregg said he did his best to photograph the local people without being critical or taking advantage. Pictured: A father holds his newborn baby in his arms

One resident looks a little worse for wear after after a few whiskeys

The slum’s residents are forced to raise their children in poverty-stricken conditions. Mr Gregg said he did his best to photograph the local people without being critical or taking advantage. Pictured left: A father holds his newborn baby in his arms. Pictured right: One resident looks a little worse for wear after after a few whiskeys

Former prisoner Yap caught the photographer's eye because of his 'chiselled cheek bones' and 'tapestry-esque' tattoos. He soon became a close friend of Mr Gregg's because, despite his 'past actions and present addictions' he spoke with 'frank honesty and remorse'

Former prisoner Yap caught the photographer’s eye because of his ‘chiselled cheek bones’ and ‘tapestry-esque’ tattoos. He soon became a close friend of Mr Gregg’s because, despite his ‘past actions and present addictions’ he spoke with ‘frank honesty and remorse’

One man with striking facial tattoos poses for a picture

A Buddhist monk smokes a cigarette while waiting for a bus

The slums are built up on just a single square mile of land but are home to around 100,000 people. Many of the inhabitants lack the skills needed to break away from the vicious cycle of poverty which they are trapped in. Pictured left: One man with striking facial tattoos poses for a picture. Pictured right: A Buddhist monk smokes a cigarette while waiting for a bus

A young girl sits in her home with Thanaka paste on her face. The cream is believed to help promote smooth skin. Children in the slums are presented with little hope of a better future

An elderly woman shops in the market in Klong Toey

Young and old: The slums are home to both the very old and very young. All residents are trapped in poverty and find it very hard to escape. Pictured left: A young girl sits in her home with Thanaka paste on her face. The cream is believed to help promote smooth skin. Pictured right: An elderly woman shops in the market in Klong Toey

More than 14million people live in Bangkok and its surrounding areas and the city attracts millions of tourists every year. It is marred by drastic inequalities between rich and poor. Pictured: The lights on the city's Park Hotel light up as dusk falls

More than 14million people live in Bangkok and its surrounding areas and the city attracts millions of tourists every year. It is marred by drastic inequalities between rich and poor. Pictured: The lights on the city’s Park Hotel light up as dusk falls 

Mr Gregg said that former prisoner Yap, pictured, had 'accepted his fate as a casualty of Thailand's broken social and economic policies'

A manual labourer poses for a picture after finishing work

Mr Gregg said that former prisoner Yap, pictured left, had ‘accepted his fate as a casualty of Thailand’s broken social and economic policies’. Pictured right: A manual labourer poses for a picture after finishing work

Mr Gregg said: 'Living near the local slum population, I began to immerse myself in their community, often spending my Sundays watching cockfights through a thick haze of cigarette smoke and moonshine.' Pictured: Abandoned trains dot the railway tracks which run through Klong Toey

Mr Gregg said: ‘Living near the local slum population, I began to immerse myself in their community, often spending my Sundays watching cockfights through a thick haze of cigarette smoke and moonshine.’ Pictured: Abandoned trains dot the railway tracks which run through Klong Toey

A man with a chick perched on his shoulder. He will either raise the animal to later eat it or to use in cockfighting

A sex-worker hustles for business

Mr Gregg said through the process of photography he was invited by the slum residents to share in moments of their lives. Pictured left: A man with a chick perched on his shoulder. He will either raise the animal to later eat it or to use in cockfighting. Pictured right: A sex-worker hustles for business

A Klong Toey local shows off his classic car. Many of the slum's residents live in hope of a better life

A Klong Toey local shows off his classic car. Many of the slum’s residents live in hope of a better life 

Corruption is a major problem in Thailand, which sees great wealth set against sometimes extreme poverty

Corruption is a major problem in Thailand, which sees great wealth set against sometimes extreme poverty

Cock fights are very popular in Thailand, although the animals often end up fighting to the death. Pictured: A cockfight in Klong Toey

Cock fights are very popular in Thailand, although the animals often end up fighting to the death. Pictured: A cockfight in Klong Toey

One slum resident sits surrounded by piece of wood and bottles on top of a scrapped truck which has been left to decay

One slum resident sits surrounded by piece of wood and bottles on top of a scrapped truck which has been left to decay

One resident holds a pair of scissors as he sits while bathed in the headlights of car

One resident holds a pair of scissors as he sits while bathed in the headlights of car



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