What to do in Chinatown Bangkok? | 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 some of the best things to do in Bangkok, 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 spectacular to explore. But what are the best things to do in China town?
In this travel guide, you will find 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 to Do in Chinatown Bangkok?
Chinatown in Bangkok is unique and absolutely worth visiting! When walking around Bangkok’s Chinatown, you can look forward to a whole range of attractions worth seeing. Most of them are located in the area around the famous Yaowarat Road. So that you don’t lose the overview, we have summarized the best things to do in Chinatown at a glance:
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 jewelry 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 spectacular 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 an exceptional scenery. In addition, all food stalls are open at this time.
Tip: If you are planning a tour through Chinatown, keep in mind that many food stalls are closed on Mondays.
The Chinatown Gate in Bangkok is a large colorful Chinese gate, also known as Paifang, located in the middle of the Odeon traffic circle and flanking the entrance to Chinatown in Bangkok. It is located between the famous Yaowarat Road and the Charoen Krung Road in the east of the district. Opened in 1999 in honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Chinatown Gate is a sign of the new rising of the Chinese Quarter. Today, this colorful Chinese gate is one of the most important landmarks and has become a popular photo motif. It is interesting to know that Chinatown in Bangkok is home to one of the largest Chinese communities outside of China.
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 of 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 a remarkable experience. The best thing you can do in Chinatown is 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 famous fish balls soup to insects, scorpions, but also exotic fruits, stuffed Chinese dumplings, dried fish, bird nest soup and seafood.
Tip: When walking through the Chinese quarter, one is often unsure what to try, and so a guided street food tour through Chinatown is definitely worth it!
Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha Temple)
The Wat Traimit or better known as Golden Buddha Temple is one of the most worth seeing temples in Bangkok. This important attraction is located in Chinatown, very close to the well-known Chinatown Gate. Wat Traimit is most famous for its 5.5-ton Golden Buddha, which can be admired during a tour of the temple area. This Buddha statue is worth an incredible $250 million and dates back to as early as the 13th-14th centuries. If you are planning a tour of Chinatown, be sure to check out this impressive temple complex and the precious golden Buddha.
Opening Hours: 08:00 am to 5:00 pm | Entrance Fee: 40 Baht
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. However, the most beautiful and at the same time the most worth visiting Chinese Buddhist temple in Chinatown is 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 outstanding Chinese architecture. It is one of the best things to see in Chinatown!
Opening hours: From 06:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Tip: Other interesting temples in the Chinese Quarter are the Rong Kuak Shrine near the Golden Buddha temple, the Chow Sue Kong Shrine and the Kuan Im Shrine.
So Heng Thai
The approximate 200-year-old So Heng Thai Villa is an absolute insider tip for visiting Chinatown. Only a few travelers know this jewel, which is hidden in a quiet side street. This ancient Chinese house is one of the last well-preserved villas in Chinatown, which can be visited from inside. 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 stunning So Heng Thai.
The Wat Chakrawatrachawat Woramahawihan or better known as the Crocodile Temple of Bangkok, is a rather inconspicuous temple complex. It is an insider tip in the middle of Chinatown and certainly not yet an attraction that everyone already knows. The temple is especially famous for its crocodiles, which can be discovered during a visit in a small concrete enclosure. According to a legend, there was once a one-eyed crocodile that lived in the river and was a man-eating beast. The crocodile was hunted, but thanks to the merciful monks it found shelter in Wat Chakrawat. Today, you can see several crocodiles in the temple.
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: The best time to visit Sampeng Lane in Chinatown is in the morning. Most shops are open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater
The Sala Chalermkrung is a particularly charming theater from the 1933 year. This historic attraction is located on Charoengkrung Road in Chinatown. Originally run as a movie theater, this beautifully restored Art Deco building now hosts performances of classic Thai theater every Thursday and Friday from 7:30pm. Actors in splendid costumes perform scenes from the Ramakien epic. An insider tip for all culture enthusiasts who are interested in classical Thai dance.
Street Art in Chinatown
The street art in Chinatown is legendary! Besides street food, markets and temples, you can discover really cool graffiti art during a tour through Chinatown, especially if you are a bit off the beaten track. It was applied by Thai and international street artists and provides wonderful colors on the former gray house facades. Street art can be found in many places in the district, so it is worth choosing one or the other side alley for your city walk.
Chinatown on the Chao Phraya River
Chinatown is also partly located on the Chao Phraya, the big river of Bangkok, which gives the district an exceptional charm. Especially recommended is also a journey to Chinese neighborhoods by express boat to the station Marine Dept. From there you can enjoy an incredibly beautiful river ambience. Also on the opposite side, you can find some historic Chinese buildings, such as the MAZU Shrein or the Chee Chin Khor Temple.
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 of fresh fruits and vegetables are sold here.
Tip: The flower market is open 24 hours. But the best time for a visit is in the early morning when the flowers are delivered fresh.
How to get to Chinatown
Chinatown can easily be reached by taxi, bus, MRT or boat. Here are the best ways to get there:
- MRT: Take the MRT to the main station at Hua Lamphong and then walk a few more minutes to Chinatown Gate. From there you continue to Yaowarat Road.
- Boat: From the river, you can reach Chinatown by boat. The best place to get off is at the Rachawongse stop. From there you can reach Yaowarat Road the fastest. There is also the Marine Dept station, which is located near the So Heng Thai Temple. If you want to go to Flower Market, take the boat to Memorial Bridge station.
- Taxi: Of course, you can also take a taxi to Chinatown. The prices are cheap, assuming you drive with a taximeter. It is best to be taken to Yaowarat Road
Tours in Chinatown
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Bangkok Chinatown, but also insider tips to discover, and that’s why guided Chinatown tours with a guide are becoming more and more popular. You can find really outstanding city tours online at GetYourGuide.
Where to Stay in Chinatown
There is a good selection of accommodation in Chinatown. Most places to stay are not too expensive, and so the area is ideal for backpackers or individual travelers who would like to stay well and for a budget price in Bangkok. We have put together our best hotel tips for Chinatown in Bangkok…It’s worth a look!
- Cozy B&B: The Unforgotten B&B is a really cozy and nicely furnished accommodation. Everything is spotless, and the location is fantastic.
- Charming Hotel: The Ago Hotel is a new, absolutely charming little hotel in Chinatown. Guests love the cleanliness, location and great price.
- Fantastic Hotel: The W22 by Burasari is a really lovely hotel with a great value for money. Also amazing is the roof terrace!
- Hostel: The Fun Cafe and Hostel is the perfect place for backpackers. This hostel is new, really stylish and modern and really cheap. Everything is just right here.
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