The Mangkorn Road is named for the Dragon, and here at the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown the red lanterns hang across the street alongside the Thai and Royal flags. The lanterns have been hung for Chinese New Year, the flags for the King’s birthday two months ago. This is one of the longest established neighbourhoods in the city, a busy area of trade and commerce that manages to combine some of the worst air pollution with the highest real estate prices in Bangkok.
Not that any of this matters when the celebrations get under way. Almost ten million Thais are Chinese, and Thailand has the largest Chinese community in the world. Added to this, some forty percent of Thais - including the Royal family and many former prime ministers - have some Chinese ancestry, and over four centuries the Chinese community has been integrated into all levels of Thai society. So New Year is a big deal on the Mangkorn Road, where the dragons dance beneath the lanterns on the street that bears their name.