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Samrong (Thailand) Street Repairs

Michael Babcock, October 1st, 2012

Often on the streets of larger Thai cities you’ll find seamstresses and cobblers set up right on the street. This blog looks one of each on the streets Samrong, part of Nakhon Thong in Samut Prakan, which is adjacent to Bangkok to the SE.

Shoe Repairman

Samrong street cobbler

These street stalls offer an inexpensive alternative for getting repairs made. For years I’ve been buying a rather expensive pair of very comfortable shoes that seemed to need replacing every 15 months or so; it is always the outside heel on each side that wears down. It was only two years ago that it occurred to me to try Thai street repair.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Kasma owns a townhouse in the district of Nakhon Thong, which is right across a klong (canal) from Samrong Market located just off Sukhumvit Road a little ways past Soi Sukhumvit 113. The street cobbler is found in between that Soi and Sukhumvit Soi 111; he sets up just under an overpass leading from his side of the street to the Imperial World shopping center.

I took the shoes and showed them to him. I don’t speak enough Thai to explain what I wanted and didn’t really need to: it was obvious. He did not replace the whole sole; he added a new piece to even out the bottom of the shoe and then put a rubber sole replacement over the whole existing (and now evened out) sole. The cost? I remember 200 baht (less than $7.00).

Shoe Repairman

Samrong shoe repairman

Fixing a Shoe

Finishing up

You can see on the left picture how the cobbler’s stand is nestled in on the street.

The repair lasted half a year. The shoes cost roughly $180 and last about 15 months – so about $12 a month or $84 for 6 months. Extending the shoes for a half a year for $7.00 sure beats $84! Now every year I bring a pair or two of shoes to be repaired.

Street Seamstress

Street seamstress

Seamstresses are another type of street repair that we take advantage of in Thailand. Each year we bring a few things that need repair such as a pair of jeans with a rip, a computer bag with a torn strap.

This particular seamstress is found on Sukhumvit Soi 113 just on the edge of Samrong market. I usually drop my items off on the way to somewhere and then pick them up on the way back, usually a couple or more hours later. This last year I had her repair some moth holes in a sweater and replace a zipper on a bag. I’m usually embarrassed by how little she charges: 10 to 30 baht, usually. It hardly seems fair!

Street Stall

Seamstress on the street

Seamstress at Work

Repairing a bag

Street seamstresses are easy to find – they just set up on the street.

Some related reading

  • Another type of repair stall that you’ll find is watch repair. I’ve previously blogged on a watch repair stall on Sukhumvit Road near Soi 55 (Thong Lo) in Watch Repair – A Thai Option. The street watch repairman we use in Samrong is found on the street on the south-west side of Imperial World shopping center.
  • Kasma has written a great blog about the community around her townhouse: Nakhon Thong – Portrait of a Thai Community.

Written by Michael Babcock, June 2012

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