Thailand has an entire sub-culture of people who go around picking through garbage to find aluminum cans, cardboard, or anything else they can get a few baht for. You see them solemnly pushing carts down streets all the time with heaping piles of junk. I have a lot of respect for them, as it is obviously not a fun job, but shows what people must do to survive.
Asian cities can be strange places. In America, the bad neighborhoods are typically cordoned off in certain parts of the city where "you just don't go". But in most of the Asian cities I've been to, you will have high-rise condos with college-educated professionals right next to the slums. It's quite disorienting at times, but somewhat fascinating. I try to teach my kids a little bit about both worlds, and where I live in Bangkok, there's no isolation from poverty.
If you really want an interesting juxtaposition of poverty and high-society in Bangkok, check out the abandoned skyscraper Sathorn Unique.