The Chinatown in Bangkok only covers about 1.5 square kilometers, but it remains one of the most noteworthy neighborhoods in the capital. It is a hub for the world’s gold trade. It is a top destination for worldly foodies. Last but not least, it is a must-see neighborhood for shopaholics. Here, the top things to see and do in Chinatown, Bangkok.
Visit Wat Traimit
Wat Traimit is one of the most notable Buddhist temples in Thailand. People visit this religious structure to feast their eyes upon the Golden Buddha. It weighs 5.5 tons, stands 398 centimeters tall, and is about 313 centimeters from one knee to the other. The Sukhothai-style Buddha has many features specific to this highly revered art form. One of these is its prominent nose and thin lips parted into a soft smile. In addition to the Golden Buddha, the structure itself is memorable and stunning. It also houses the Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Museum.
Check out the Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Museum
Yaowarat Road is the epicenter for those Thais with Chinese descent. This community has been here since Bangkok was established as the country’s capital. It is one of the oldest and largest Chinatowns in the world. Visitors can learn everything there is to know about this unique area at the Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Museum. It is on the same grounds as Wat Traimit.
Visit a gaudy gold shop
About a century ago, there were only four gold shops lining Yaowarat Road. Today, there are over 130. Every day, the gold trade that takes place on this stretch of road rakes in some tens of millions of baht. It is one of the main suppliers of this product to far off countries like Dubai and the United States. These stores are recognizable from their gaudy yellow exteriors. This is where shoppers and shop owners make deals left and right with this unique good.
Eat on Yaowarat Road
Yaowarat Road is the most happening stretch of road in the neighborhood. The road was constructed in 1892 and took eight years to complete. Whenever a Chinese festival or holiday is celebrated in Thailand, most likely the most lively of celebration can be found here. In addition to being one big party come festival time, Yaowarat Road is home to some of the best street food in Thailand. The stretch of road does have its fair share of not so pleasant dishes, like shark fin soup. The majority of vendors have many crowd-pleasing dining options for affordable prices, however.
Explore Talad Noi
Talad Noi is a subsection of Chinatown. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Bangkok. It can be reached from Chinatown on foot or by a short tuk-tuk or motorcycle taxi ride. Those who have ample time to explore the area need to include this particular neighborhood on their list. It is one of the most fascinating hubs in the capital. Talad Noi has everything one needs to remain occupied while exploring. Temples, spirit houses, street art, shrines, cute cafes, riverside rooftop restaurants, luxury shopping: this neighborhood has something for everyone. One of the most interesting finds is the Sieng Kong Zone. This is an area of the neighborhood filled with old, spare car parts. It is a great spot to visit for photographers.
Shop at Sampeng Lane Market
Shopaholics will love Chinatown. Thanon Ratchawong is one street that is lined with a number of miscellaneous souvenirs and goods, from Pokémon gadgets to purses. Thai Dee Plaza has cheap jewelry accessories. Old Siam Walking Plaza is an indoor market of sorts with unique architecture looking as though it hailed from Europe. The best place to shop, however, is at the Sampeng Lane Market. The crowded alleyway is packed with people and knick-knacks, making it almost impossible to weave through it in its entirety. It runs parallel to Yaowarat Road. The market closes up before sundown, so be sure to get there in the afternoon.
Photograph the Kuan Yin Shrine
The Kuan Yin Shrine sits between Wat Traimit and the most bustling part of Yaowarat Road. It was carved from teak wood. It is estimated that it was built 800-900 years ago. After its construction, it was later taken to China, where it was declared a revered object by the Thian Fah Foundation. Once hidden behind old homes, the shrine is now a place where Thais frequent to make merit and pray.
Grab a snack at a confectionery shop
Confectionery shops are recognizable for their bright red exteriors and rows upon rows of desserts. These treats grace the glass shelving and entice all those who pass. Many of these shops are family run businesses. Their recipes for delicious mooncakes and more are passed down from generation to generation. Some Chinese believe that eating something sweet will bring them good luck. Because of this, it is common to see these desserts offered at things like wedding ceremonies or put out for guests to enjoy at gatherings.
Stay for the unique nightlife
Forget Sukhumvit Road for a night out in the capital. Visitors to Chinatown will find that there are plenty of nightlife venues to choose from in this distinct neighborhood. Those of you who enjoy listening to soothing jazz should check out the Red Rose Jazz Bar in the Shanghai Mansion Boutique Hotel. Those hoping for an aerial view of the city might instead opt for the China Princess Hotel Rooftop Bar in the Grand China Hotel. The best part about enjoying a night out in Chinatown is that the food vendors are open late. Night owls will be able to indulge and submit to their drunk munchies on Yaowarat Road.