Location: Yaowarat Rd, Samphanthawong, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand
Reason to visit: the mix of Chinese and Thai cultures
Our ratings: ★★★★★
Entrance fee: free
Opening Hours: all day long
Bangkok's Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in Southeast Asia and one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. It was founded in 1782 when the city was established as the capital of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, and served as the home of the mainly Teochew immigrant Chinese population, who soon became the city's dominant ethnic group. Bangkok's Chinatown is about 2 kilometers long and it stands in many streets. Most of the houses here are relatively old, but the business is extremely prosperous. It's one part of Bangkok that you'll definitely want to traverse on foot. What are we supposed to expect here? Let's find out more.
Introduction of Bangkok's Chinatown
Bangkok Chinatown was born at the same time as Bangkok City and has a history of two hundred years. Thousands of stores are spreading across the block, with eye-catching signs hanging on the products. There are food stores, department stores, grocery stores, craft shops, bookstores, newsstands, and boutique stores all around, but the most prominent stores are the gold shops. It is said that 70% of Bangkok gold shops are in Chinatown. Although the facade is small, the decoration is magnificent. There are huge signboards at the entrance, unlike any other store, the glittering jewelry and gold products are piled up in a pile as if selling cabbage, so that customers are unconsciously being generous. In addition, the special boutique stores sell well-known products from mainland China, such as Maotai in Guizhou, WangZhiHe's stinky tofu in Beijing, pill in Beijing Tongrentang, Pien Tze Huang in Zhangzhou, and Tianma in Chongqing.
Yaowarat Road (the Golden Road)
Yaowarat Road is the main artery of Bangkok's Chinatown. It looks like a dragon, whether it is inentional or not, it indicates that this is a treasure trove of business. There are many gold shops on both sides of Yaowarat Road, so it is known as the Golden Road. You can also find many textiles, clothing, souvenirs, second-hand equipment, electronics, antiques, imported music equipment, tea shops, and so on. Yaowarat Road is also well known for its variety of foodstuffs, and at night turns into a large "food street" that draws tourists and locals from all over the city.
1. Food and Drink in Yaowarat Road
Eia Sae (Yi Sheng coffee shop)
No trip to Bangkok's Chinatown is complete without visiting Yi Sheng coffee shop. Opened in 1927, this is one of the oldest coffee shops around Chinatown and even the princess of Thailand came here to make coffee.
Char Kway Teow
Char kway teow, literally "stir-fried ricecake strips", is a popular noodle dish in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. The dish is considered a national favourite in Malaysia and Singapore. Now, you will find it in Bangkok's Chinatown. It is quite enjoyable to watch how the vendor uses a spoon to make such a amazing dish.
Mung Korn Khao Noodle (Wantan Mee)
Mung Korn Khao Noodle is a small stall, but the business here is unusually hot. Normally people patiently wait in line for the tasty noodle. There are not only wonton nooldles but also rice noodles, shrimp dumplings, crabs, and roast pork. Nothing special, but everything is extremely tasty. If you are a fan of noodle, you won’t miss to explore the unique taste.
Shark Fin-bird's Nest
Speaking of a food that you must eat in Chinatown will be Fin-bird's Nest. There are many shops selling sharks fins and bird's nest in Yaowarat Road. Bird's nest in coconut is especially fresh and delicious. I would highly recommend you to give it a shot.
Fresh Fruit Juice
Totally fresh and healthy! Why not stop and have a glass of juice! It will totally promote digestion, quench your thirst, and also, the vibrant and fresh color will make you feel good! You won't hesitate to take a picture to post on instagram. There are so many fruit stalls in Yaowarat road, feel free to buy a drink once you spot a fruit stall.
2. Gold Shop in Yaowarat Road
All the gold shops are good! All the gold jewelry is the real thing! Feel free to compare from shop to shop, and find your favorites. How to spot a gold shop with language barrieer? Easy! If the name of the store is golden, my dear friend, that is one!
Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha), located near to Bangkok's Chinatown, is a royal and solemn temple renowned for the world's largest golden Buddha statue which is 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall and weighs 5.5 tonnes (5.4 long tons; 6.1 short tons). It is a major place in Thailand to make wishes.
Wat Mangkon Kamalawat
At the heart of Bangkok's Chinatown is the Chinese-Buddhist temple of Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, known in Chinese as Wat Leng Nui Yee. The temple is the center of festivities during important festivals such as Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and the vegetarian festival.
Chinatown Street Art
Chinatown has joined much of the rest of the city by welcoming colorful street art. Years ago, Bangkok was a pretty grey and artless capital, but the BUKRUK Urban Arts Festival in 2016 brought global artists to Bangkok in an attempt to change it to be an Asian art capital. You'll have a lot of fun wandering some of Chinatown's small alleys and checking out some of these colorful gems. I'm sure it will inspire you a lot, and a lot.
How to get to Bangkok's Chinatown
With its lack of a Skytrain (BTS) or underground (MRT), the easiest way to reach Chinatown - if you want to avoid the traffic - is by boat (Chao Phraya River Express).
Get off at the Ratchawong Pier, and walk up from Ratchawong Road to Sampeng Lane and Yaowarat Road. Ordinary buses 1, 7, 8, 37, 49 and 75 will take also take you here, but it's much better to travel by boat. The Ratchawong Pier is just a few hundred meters from Yaowarat Road and Sampeng Lane.
To find out more, please visit our Bangkok section.