Aung Myo Thun, a migrant worker from a village near Naypyitaw, Myanmar, praying in his apartment in Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown. Under the Buddha’s portrait is a photo of his old mother, who still lives in his hometown. He is one of 1.5 million workers from Myanmar who came to work in Thailand, hoping for a better future.
A Myanmar worker is on the terrace of a commercial building where he works and lives in Yaowarat, with the skyline of Bangkok in the background. Hundreds of Myanmar workers live in Bangkok’s Chinatown. They are an integral part of the workforce that drives the business of Yaowarat, living up to its original spirit as a melting pot of foreign immigrants since its establishment in the late 17th century.
On the top floor of an apartment building in Yaowarat. All tenants in this building are Myanmar workers. The rooftop is converted and partitioned into small rooms as high as 1.20 meters.
A Myanmar migrant worker setting up a stall at Ratchawong Intersection, which marks one of many entrances to Sampheng Market, a wholesale night market for fashion accessories that spreads over backstreets and alleys of Yaowarat. Most of the Myanmar workers living in Yaowarat work in this market.
Myanmar workers at Sampheng Market. Due to limited educational background and language barriers, they are hired for low-skilled labor jobs and receive minimum daily wages (10.50 USD/day), higher than they earn in their home country (3.50 USD/day).
A Myanmar worker plays with his pet rabbit after work in the Old Market of Yaowarat. As they live in cramped apartments, small pets, such as rabbits, hamsters, and goldfish, are popular among Myanmar workers.
A Myanmar worker carrying toiletries in a plastic basket walks back to his apartment after showering in shared bathrooms.
Most Myanmar workers in Yaowarat prepare meals and eat at home, primarily Burmese food. Special ingredients from Myanmar can be found easily in Myanmar grocery shops in the neighborhood. They usually eat by using their hands, which is common in Myanmar.
A betel shop run by a family of Myanmar workers in the Old Market. It also serves as the meeting point for Myanmar workers in Yaowarat. Many Myanmar men still maintain the habit of betel chewing, even when it is no longer common in the urban society of Bangkok.
At a party to celebrate and welcome a newborn of a Myanmar worker family in Yaowarat.
A poster of a Myanmar actress inside a shared apartment of Myanmar workers as a reminder of their home.
Zaw Min and his wife check the Thai lottery results. They allocate a budget from their wages to play the lottery every month. They have won prizes a few times after living in Thailand for two years.
Aung Myat exercises with a barbell he made himself by filling plastic water bottles with sand. Keeping fit is essential for Myanmar workers, as most jobs require physical labor.
Aung Myo Thun crosses Yaowarat Road, the artery of Bangkok’s Chinatown. He has been working in Thailand for seven years. However, he is considering moving back to Myanmar after saving enough money to start a business in his hometown.