Chinatown Bangkok: Your Travel Guide

Set along one of the major streets of Bangkok, Yaowarat in Chinatown is one of the largest Chinese communities outside of China itself. It’s a veritable treasure trove of exploration, tucked away stores and delicious street food. Time to get exploring Chinatown Bangkok!

This is South East Asia fulfilling its city stereotype. A whole area packed with people, loud noises, hissing food stalls, chirping birds in cages and the roar of a tuk tuk army. Chinatown in Bangkok is a labyrinth of alleyways and food stalls with someone on every corner and crowds at every turn. It sounds busy, and it is, but don’t let that put you off. The crowds and the sensory overload are all part of the experience.

Being the Chinese hub of Bangkok means that it is naturally the center of cultural celebrations across the year, especially during the Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year and the Vegetarian Festival. Expect Yaowarat to almost explode with people during these times, but the atmosphere is unlike any other you’ll experience.

Food, food, glorious food.

This is an Asian market after all. Food is at every turn and you’d be a fool not to try some. There’s a great variety beyond the standard market fare in Thailand with willing vendors beckoning for you to try their freshly cooked cuisines.

There’s the usual selection of durian, satay and fried delights. Explore a bit deeper and you’ll come across more unusual dishes such as freshly caught shrimp head, oat soup and roasted milk. The bigger restaurants will look almost overwhelmingly busy but you’ll be served quickly and get your food in an instant. Everything here can be cooked quickly and the customers don’t linger. Make sure you take a minute to absorb the atmosphere.

Shop til You Drop

The best of the retail therapy happens on the Sampeng Lane Market within Chinatown. You can get pretty much anything here. It is one of the cheapest areas to shop in Bangkok, don’t expect the finest of quality from every product but you’ll get some hefty discounts when you buy in bulk. Smaller items such as sarongs, knock-off DVDs and decorations are the main staples.

For another unique experience search out the Khlong Thom Market, also known as the Flashlight Market. It gets its name from its late opening hours and therefore darker areas. Shoppers are regularly seen donning flashlights to see what they’re looking at.

Chinese lanterns in Chinatown Bangkok

The Biggest Golden Buddha in The World

No trip to Chinatown is complete without stopping by Wat Traimit. Within its walls and pagoda you can see the largest gold buddha in the world. Consider yourself lucky that you get the chance to even see it. It remained hidden under mud for over 200 years as locals opted to hide it from foreign invaders. Take a moment to marvel in this huge, golden creation that has survived for centuries.

Chinatown Bangkok Insider Tip

Take your time. This is a seriously big place. If you can dedicate at least an afternoon and evening to exploring then you’ll feel content. Not only will you get to see most of the daytime attractions but you’ll be able to sample the incredible street food.