What to do in Chinatown Bangkok – A Travel Guide
Chinatown in Bangkok is truly amazing. Visitors are fascinated by the hustle and bustle, the colorful lights and vibrant colors, the beautiful Chinese temples and the huge choice of street food. On a tour to the Chinese Quarter of Bangkok, you will get to know the Thai capital from a different side. Here you can expect many interesting attractions and things to do, but also amazing markets and exceptional food. The best way is to start your Chinatown tour at the famous Yaowarat Road and to dive into a world full of surprises. Depending on the time of day, you can experience something different here. Especially in the morning, but also towards the evening this district is amazing to explore. But what are the best things to do in China town?
This blog post is a guide for all the important information and tips for a trip to Chinatown in Bangkok. We show you the best attractions, most beautiful Chinese temples and the coolest markets around. Also, we will tell you the best time to visit, and how to get to Chinatown.
What do do in Chinatown Bangkok
Chinatown in Bangkok is unique. Just arriving in the hustle and bustle, many visitors cannot be stopped from being amazed. Here, we have summarized the absolute highlights of Chinatown, which you should not miss. Here are the TOP attractions of the Chinese district:
The Chinatown Gate is a large Chinese gate located in the middle of the Odeon roundabout, flanking the entrance to Bangkok´s Chinatown. This rather new attraction, which only opened in 1999, is a sign of the ascending Chinese Quarter. Interestingly, Chinatown in Bangkok is home to one of the largest Chinese communities outside of China.
The Thanon Yaowarat or better known as Yaowarat Road is the heart of Chinatown. This approximately 1.5-kilometer-long road starts at Chinatown Gate (Paifang) and ends at Phanuphan Bridge. Colorful decorated with neon signs and giant Chinese characters makes you feel more like being in Hong Kong than in Bangkok. If you want to buy gold in Thailand, you also should go to Yaowarat Road to Chinatown. More than 150 gold traders have settled in this area and so you will find here gold jewellery in huge amounts.
Overall, Yaowarat is one of Bangkok’s most famous attractions and should not be missed on any city break. Actually, you can visit the famous street all day long. If you want to take amazing pics, it’s best to come early in the morning. At that time the mood is the best. On the other hand, in the evening, the billboards light up, which is also a very special scenery. In addition, all food stalls are open at this time.
Tip: If you are planning a tour through Chinatown, remember that many food stalls are closed on Mondays.
Chinatown’s street food markets
Food is ubiquitous in Bangkok’s Chinatown, so you can find fresh street food at any daytime and around each the corner. But especially in the evening many food stalls open up. It’s a big sizzling and frying, it hisses, and flames shoot in the air. By the way, it’s hot, it smells and it’s loud. Nevertheless, it is exciting and an amazing experience. Best just to walk around and enjoy the variety of street food. One thing is for sure, most of the dishes you’ve never seen before, and some of them you probably don`t want to try. Everything from fishballs soup to insects, scorpions, but also exotic fruits, stuffed Chinese dumplings, dried fish, bird nest soup and seafood.
Tip: On a Food Tour at Chinese Quarter, people are often unsure what food to try. Best option is to book a guided street food tour and get to know the best food in town!
Golden Buddha Temple
The Wat Traimit, or better known as the Golden Buddha Temple, is one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok. It is located in Chinatown, very close to the China Gate and is famous for its 5.5-ton Golden Buddha. This Buddha statue has an incredible value of $ 250 million. If you are planning a tour through Chinatown, then you should definitely visit this impressive temple complex and the precious golden Buddha.
Opening hours: 08:00 am to 5:00 pm
Discover Chinese Temples
In Bangkok’s Chinatown there is a variety of larger and smaller Chinese temples. During a walk through the neighborhood you will see many of these sacred places. The most beautiful temple of Chinatown is the Wat Mangkon Kamalawat. Beautifully decorated and with many gold and red colors, which are standing in the Chinese tradition for luck, this temple enchants with an amazing Chinese architecture. It is one of the best things to see.
Opening hours: From 06:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Other interesting temples in the Chinese Quarter are the Rong Kuak Shrine near the Golden Buddha, the Chow Sue Kong Shrine and the Kuan Im Shrine, near the Marine Department boat dock.
The Wat Chakrawatrachawat Woramahawihan, or better known as the Crocodile Temple of Bangkok, is a rather small temple complex in the middle of Chinatown. The temple became really famous for its crocodiles, which can be discovered during a visit. According to old stories, these animals had been eating young monks and now have to live in that enclosure.
The Sampeng Lane is the most famous shopping street and market in Chinatown. Here inside the narrow streets of Soi Wanit 1 you will find a huge range of things to buy. Hard to believe that this narrow street used to be the main street of the neighborhood. A big part of the Sampeng Lane is covered, and a few areas are even air-conditioned. In the shops you get mainly plastic goods, mostly made in China. Whether it’s pink HelloKitti goods, plastic dishes, accessories, household goods, children’s toys and much more. Actually, this is a place manly for wholesalers and as a tourist you won’t be noticed.
Tip: Best to visit Sampeng Lane in Chinatown in the morning. Most shops are open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater
The Sala Chalermkrung is a really lovely theater from the year 1933. This beautifully restored Art Deco building hosts every Thursday and Friday from 7:30 pm performances of the classic Thai theater. Actors play scenes from the Ramakien area in sumptuous costumes. An insider tip for all culture lovers.
Street art in Chinatown
In addition to street food, markets and temples, you can discover on a Chinatown tour cool street art, especially if you’re exploring a bit off the beaten track. So keep your eyes open and do not forget your camera.
So Heng Thai
The approximately 200-year-old So Heng Thai Villa is an absolute insider tip for visiting Chinatown. Only a few travellers know this jewel. This ancient Chinese house is one of the last well-preserved villas in Chinatown. Nowadays it serves as a diving school but also as a small café and museum. Take a detour to admire the breathtakingly beautiful architecture, drink a coffee and thus help to maintain the beautiful So Heng Thai.
Chinatown on the Chao Phraya River
Chinatown is partly located on the Chao Phraya, the huge river of Bangkok. Especially lovely is the arrival by express boat to the station Marine Dept. From there you can enjoy an incredibly beautiful river ambience. Also on the opposite side are some historic Chinese buildings. Such as the MAZU Shrein or the Chee Chin Khor Temple.
Flower Market in Bangkok Chinatown
The Pak Khlong Talat flower market is located on the edge of Chinatown and is one of Bangkok’s most interesting markets and attractions. Situated directly on the Chao Praya River, you can easily reach the flower market by ferry boat. Take a stroll through the market and dive into a huge sea of flowers and colors. You will love the artfully crafted temple offerings and colorful bouquets made on site. Also, huge amounts fresh fruits and vegetables are sold here.
Tip: The market is open 24 hours. But the best time is in the morning when the flowers are delivered fresh.
How to get to Chinatown?
Chinatown can easily be reached by taxi, bus, MRT or boat.
- MRT: Take the MRT to the station Hua Lamphong and walk a few minutes to the China Gate. Chinatown is not connected to the BTS, but you can change to the MRT.
- Boat: From the river, you will reach Chinatown by boat. The best way to get there is to get off at the Rachawongse stop. From there, it is the fastest way to get to Yaowarat Road. In addition, there is the station Marine Dept, which is located near the So Heng Thai Villa and other small temples. If you want to get to the Flower Market, take the boat to Memorial Bridge Station.
- Taxi: Of course, you can also get there by taxi. The prices with taximeter are really cheap.
Tours in Chinatown
As you can see, Bangkok Chinatown has a lot of exciting things to see and that’s why Chinatown tours recently became really popular. Here we have put together our favorite tours for you:
Accommodations and Hotels
There is a good selection of accommodation in Chinatown. Because most of the accommodations are reasonably priced, the area is ideal for backpackers or individual travellers which are looking for reasonable prices. Here are the Chinatown hotel tips:
- B&B: The Unforgotten B&B is a really cozy and nicely furnished accommodation. Everything is super clean, and the location is fantastic.
- Hotel: The W22 by Burasari is a really lovely hotel with a great value for money. Amazing is also the roof terrace!
- Hostel: The Fun Cafe and Hostel is the perfect accommodation for backpackers. This hostel is new, really stylish and modern and really cheap. Everything is just right here.
Tip: More amazing places to stay can be found in our complete guide about where to stay in Bangkok.
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