Midnight Asia: Eat · Dance · Dream takes viewers of this Netflix docuseries on an eye-opening journey into the hidden and mysterious worlds that awaken after sunset in Asia’s big cities. With their curiosity sparked by the secrets uncovered in the series, viewers are encouraged to get out and explore these nighttime wonders for themselves.
Bangkok has many interesting attractions, some of which exude a different charm if you visit them at night. One such example is Khlong Ong Ang. One of Bangkok’s oldest canals, Khlong Ong Ang has been reinvented as one of Bangkok’s newest and most inviting landmarks with a character that changes from day to night.
Located in the heart of Bangkok’s old district, Khlong Ong Ang is a canal that Bangkokians know well. It’s just part of the landscape for anyone who goes shopping at Sampeng or Phahurat. While it is a familiar sight to many, few people know that Khlong Ong Ang is one of the canals that was originally excavated during the construction of Bangkok in the early Rattanakosin period during the reign of King Rama I. The significance of this canal is that it links together inland markets such as Sampeng and Phahurat, which are located on the canal’s banks. With the importance of the canal as a means of trade and transportation, the old neighborhood was bustling and vibrant as people bought and sold products, either along the canal sides or from the floating markets.
The vibrancy of canals such as Khlong Ong Ang in that era made Bangkok famous as the “Venice of the East”. It was a reputation that was further enhanced with the opening of the “Swing Bridge” (Saphan Hun), which was built under the order of King Rama V and is believed to have been influenced by the Rialto Bridge in Venice.
As time passed, however, fewer people traveled by water. The Importance of Khlong Ong Ang gradually faded, and it was left to fall into a state of neglect until it was brought back to life by a major landscaping project along the Ong Ang Canal, also known as the “Cheonggyecheon Canal Model” after the world-famous renovation of the polluted water canal in central Seoul, South Korea. Now, with the clean and clear water of the canal and the beautifully landscaped flora along its banks, the Cheonggyecheon Canal is a tourist attraction that is both romantic and relaxing.
After the renovation of Khlong Ong Ang was completed in early 2019, Khlong Ong Ang was transformed from a forgotten old waterway into a popular place to visit. The area along the canal has been renovated with brick paving along a sidewalk that runs for over 2 kilometers. Wastewater is treated into clear water, and there are small gardens along the way.
To complete its rebirth, the canal area was relaunched as the “Khlong Ong Ang Walking Street.” Adding color along both sides of the canal, street art and murals from various artists tell the history of the hidden multiculturalism in the area. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening, the area attracts food vendors and buskers, creating a lively buzz around the area. For the adventurous, kayaking is also available between 4.00-10.00 pm. After years of neglect, Khlong Ong Ang has been brought back to life, especially after sunset, where the ambiance and vibes are perfect.
The most convenient way to get to Khlong Ong Ang Walking Street is to take the MRT Blue Line, get off at Sam Yot station, and exit Gate 1, Mahachai Road. Then cross the crosswalk and walk for about 100 meters until you find the entrance to Khlong Ong Ang Walking Street on the right.