1. Lao Ha Long, rice shop on Silom Road

Owners: Tua Hia, 83, and Tua Sor, 78

“Our Chinese grandpa started selling rice carrying bamboo baskets on his shoulders. Then our family opened this shop over 60 years ago. We don’t sell much nowadays since people just go to the supermarket. Our children don’t want it either as they’re doctors and pharmacists.”

2. Suan Plu Electronics, TV repair shop on Soi Suan Plu

Owner: Pornchai Lakkhanawat, 65
“I’ve been repairing televisions for 40 years, since they were only black and white. But nowadays, this profession is dying; no one is doing it anymore. Some days I earn thousands, some days it’s zero. My children are all doing other things for a living.” 

3. Hiab Tiang, Chinese pastry shop in Talad Noi

Owners: Buk-iam Sae-tung, 84, and Nee Sae-ung, 77
“We have made Chinese desserts for more than 60 years. Now we only make them for special occasions, like moon cakes for the moon festival. Doing business in your own place is easy as you can sleep whenever sales are slow. We just keep doing this so that we don’t have to wait for our kids to feed us.”

4. Heng Seng, pillow maker near Talad Noi

Owners: Jindarat Ukarakul, 80, and Wimol Lueangarun, 52
“I’m the third generation to run this business. We used to produce mattresses and pillows filled with cotton, but they’ve become less and less popular as people opt for polyester-filled pillows. We’re now making Chinese-style hassocks, which are used in Chinese shrines. My child is studying engineering and I don’t think he will continue the business.”

5. China Town Rama, cinema near Yaowaraj

Owner: Sakda Siriratanapanya, 56
“This building was a Chinese opera theater before my dad turned it into a cinema over 40 years ago. We get about 40-50 customers a day now. Most of them come here every day. Some of them are vendors from around the area, some work in the evening. They come for a rest, a nap or just to kill the time. My kid got an office job; he won’t run this business.”

6. Udom Silp, watch Shop in Soi St. Louis

Owner: Preecha Pradit, 57
“I’ve lost around 60 percent of my clientele as watches are so much cheaper than in the old days. Most come from China. Thailand is a wasteland of China’s cheap products which break easily. If I rented this place, I would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. Luckily, I’ve lived here for 38 years. I don’t have kids, though, so there’s no one to continue this.”

7. Lim Ha Lee, knife shop at Si Phraya

Owner: Nattharat Koonpholkana, 58
“Since my dad died we’re no longer forging knives. There’s no one to continue it. We’ve already knocked down our furnace, but there are still some knives left and we intend to sell them. It’s rare that we do, though. People generally prefer to buy knives that are cheaper but of poorer quality.”

8. Bamrung Barber, barber shop at Daokanong 

Barbers: Mustafa Loyma, 77, Chaisan Sakdapichai, 70, 
Prasert Pookcharoen, 65. Owner: Chorthip Noimanee, 47
“We used to be the no.1 barber shop in the district. People had to queue up for hours to get a cut at our shop even though we had eight hairdressers. Now we have only three barbers. The owner, who’s also a hairdresser, died years ago, but his children don’t want to follow in his footsteps. They are just happy to let us work here to make a living for as long as we can.” 

9. Thaworn Printing, printing shop on Saphan Taksin Road 

Owner: Somchai Ungthaworn, 51
“I’ve been doing this for 25 years. My parents had this old printing press before I was born. But there aren’t many people ordering printing with this type of machine anymore. We mostly just print the carbon-copy bills used in old-school shops. Our kids don’t want to do this work, though.”