Nana Plaza located down Soi 4 in Bangkok bills itself as, “The Worlds Largest Adult Playground.”
It is hardly a place to find, or Embrace Nirvana.
Soi 4 the road that Nana plaza is located on, as I am sure you can imagine, is home to many bars, restaurants, massage parlour’s, and even hotels. It is always a bustling place with many people from all over taking part in the activity.
Turning down the soi I immediately saw many motorcycle taxis waiting for customers, and many street vendors selling fresh cooked food.
Just a short walk down on the left hand side of the road is the entrance to Nana Plaza, but there is nothing going on there during the day.
Just a little ways past Nana Plaza an obvious ladyboy grabbed my arm, and asked if I wanted to come back to her... his room with him. I politely refused, but the lady boy offered me a phone number in case I change my mind later. After another polite refusal I continued walking.
I encountered aggressive street vendors further along who were in the business of selling Rolex watches on the street. Not interested in a new watch I continued on my way
Soi 4 Nana really comes alive at night as twilight envelops the area, and all of the bars are lit up in multi-colored neon lights. There are far more people that come to experience the Nana area at night then during the day.
During the day Soi 4 Nana appears to be like many busy areas of Bangkok filled with street vendors, and the smell of fresh cooked food, accented by endless traffic on the street. There are many open air bars, and restaurants with outside seating to sit at, and take it all in.
I decided to take a stroll down to the end of Soi 4 and back during the middle of the afternoon one day to see what activity was taking place there.
There was a lady sitting on the sidewalk ahead of me who pinched the leg of the baby she was holding to get the poor baby crying. This street beggar had a cup for people to drop money into sitting in front of her. The crying baby seemed to get more sympathy from people passing by.
Stopping to take pictures of the area as I walked the length of Soi 4, I was approached by a lady of the night, at least I think this person was a real lady this time. She asked if I wanted her to join me, and keep me company. I simply smiled, and told her, “No thanks.” She just smiled, and walked away, looking for a lonely heart to attach herself to.
After passing a couple hotels, and condos I crossed the street, and turned back on the other side of the Soi.
Incidentally there are many taxis and tuk tuks every 25 meters, or so offering their services. They all seem to have broken meters in this area, and want to charge three times the meter price to take you to your destination. If you need a taxi in the area, walk back to the main road first.
There were many food vendors cooking fresh food on Soi 4 Nana, and the smell was getting the best of me. It was a hot September day, and I needed a cold drink too.
I stopped at one of the restaurants that had outside seating for some shrimp fried rice, and an ice cold soda. It was a great place to relax, and watch the events unfold before me.
With the exception of the crying baby who I am sure didn't enjoy being roughly pinched by the woman holding her / him, everybody else seemed to be where they wanted to be.
The motorcycle taxis were in a busy location waiting for customers. Taxi, and Tuk Tuk drivers further down Soi 4 Nana knew there were many naive foreigners who would pay their inflated prices, and found the best income in this area
Numerous food vendors selling cheap food in small portions knew there were many hungry local people here, as well as foreigners looking to sample various different Thai foods.
The woman beggar with the crying baby thought this was her best source income for whatever situation she was in. I have seen women beggars with crying babies before, but this was the first time I saw one make the baby cry.
The older men who were enjoying the company of younger Thai women while having a drink at the bar were content to spend their time, and money in that bar at that moment. The Thai ladies sitting next to them were all dressed the same, and obviously worked there. They too seemed content with their choice of where they wanted to be.
The children although they had no choice in where their parents, or care takers chose to live, seemed the most content with where they were in that moment. Their laughter, and smiles while walking together showed a great happiness with their present moment, or maybe they were just glad to be out of school.
I was just finishing my food as I thought these thoughts while writing the words you are reading now.
Where do I fit into all of this? I am here on Soi 4 Nana as an observer, but who am I to judge. This is just part of everyday life in this area. Bangkok is a very large city, and Soi 4 Nana is just a small part of it all.
Drinking a second cold soda on this hot day while reflecting, a broad smile came across my face. I too was happy with where I was in the present moment. It was not because I was on soi 4, but because I was in Bangkok, Thailand. Bangkok was the place I wanted to be.
I accept Bangkok for all that it is. The majestic Temples, the peaceful parks, friendly people, delicious street food, night markets, mega malls, the extensive public transportation to access it all, and yes even the more seedy areas. It is all here, and I have found my inner peace, and happiness while accepting the choices of all those around me without judgement.
Even here on Soi 4 Nana I have embraced Nirvana.