Our pals at Nomad Is Beautiful run a monthly thematic photo essay featuring images of people performing an activity. When I saw the first one of these (people reading), I recalled having wanted to collect pictures of people sleeping on buses, trains, or planes. Thus inspired, I decided to follow through. The alert presence of other passengers squashed my ambition, however. I soon found a healthy alternative.

Many times in Southeast Asia I saw people sleeping in plain sight on the street. They were not homeless. On the contrary, they mostly appeared to be taking a snooze while working. Since then I found and documented more people sleeping in public in Australia and South America, but I’m going to stick with Southeast Asia in this post and leave other continents for the future.

Sleeping in Bangkok, Thailand

People sleeping in public

Left: Buddha statue vendor in Chinatown.
Right: Flea market vendor on Sukhumvit Road. Both in Bangkok, Thailand.

People sleeping in public

Si Lom Road, Bangkok, Thailand.

Sleeping in George Town, Malaysia

People sleeping in public

At Thaipusam festival, George Town, Malaysia.

People sleeping in public

Left: Grandpa on Armenian Street
Right: A reveler at Thaipusam Festival, not quite asleep but, eyes closed, really wanting to. Both in George Town, Malaysia.

Sleeping in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

People sleeping in public

Restauranteur on Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Sleeping in Pulau Besar, Malaysia

People sleeping in public

Pulau Besar island near Melaka, Malaysia.

Sleeping in Melaka, Malaysia

People sleeping in public

Trishaw driver on Jalan Kota, Melaka, Malaysia.

People sleeping in public

Operator at Asia Fun Park, Melaka, Malaysia.

Sleeping in Singapore

People sleeping in public

Worker, Marina Bay, Singapore.

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People sleeping in public in SE Asia   People sleeping in public in SE Asia

2 Responses

  1. Emily

    This post is hilarious! I saw a picture on 20 Years Hence of a guy dead asleep while precariously balanced on his scooter and thought that was ridiculous, but you have managed to capture how it appears to be a bit of the norm (random naps) in SE Asia!

    • Peter Korchnak

      Thanks, Emily. It’s just what it is, you get used to it over in SE Asia. I couldn’t tell whether it’s the heat that gets people or the hard life or the lack of activity on the job or too much partying the night before or a combination of these or something else altogether. Whatever it is, it’s photogenic, for me it was anyway. And I wouldn’t call it a trend, it’s just something I was noticing because I wanted to and was looking for it.


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