Exploring Bangkok’s Chinatown


Bangkok, the city of temples and eateries scattered all over each with its own personality, is what we will look at today for your next travel idea. You will not have fully experienced the City of Angels until you take a cue from Bruce Lee and “entered the dragon.”


In this instance, the dragon is Thanon Yaowarat, the main street which weaves through Bangkok’s Chinatown. It begins at Chinatown Gate at the road’s eastern end and stretches west to the waters of Rob Krung canal.


However, this is not a “sleeping dragon.” Yaowarat is an active area with plenty of color and movement.  Thai and Chinese scripts vie for visual prominence and the roadways are jammed with various modes of transport.


Known as a central district for Chinese settlement since 1782, when King Rama I moved the Thai capital to the east bank of the Chao Phraya River. Trade defines the neighborhood and its many merchants sell goods imported from China.


Known nowadays for its eateries, food stalls can be seen lining Yaowarat footpaths. These stalls sell a variety of edible good including tiny crabs placed in enormous metal bowls and fresh fruits decoratively arranged.


Chinatown’s main fascination lies in the network of narrow alleys, which run out from its main arteries. First time entrants to the town should drop all planning instincts and just let go.  An alley such as Trok Itsaranuphap host stalls selling foodstuff including dried or preserved foods in a colorful display.


Apart from these varied food stalls selling all types of foods, Chinatown also has fantastic restaurants. One of the longest standing restaurants is Nya Mong. It has been in business over 60 years and specializes in oysters and spring onions, splashed lightly with a chili sauce.


If you prefer fish, you may head over to the Chinese-Thai restaurant tang Jai Yuu, who will grill it fresh or Chaiang Kii, known for its rice soup with fish. Other worthwhile places to eat include Jek Pui for its Chinese-style Thai curries and Hua Seng Hong for its broad Chinese menu.


Although Chinatown may be a bit crowded, it’s good not to overlook the fact that it has quiet corners and alleys where you can observe life in its more unhurried moments. Off the commercial side streets are various troks (alleys) crammed with tiny two-level timber homes, some centuries old. Riverside Thanon Song Wat is lined with decorative century old warehouses, many still in use that you may visit.