Chinatown Bangkok

  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
  • Chinatown Bangkok
Location

Bangkok, Thailand

Address

Chinatown Bangkok Address: 300 ซอย เยาวราช 6 Yaowarat Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand

Getting there

How to get to Chinatown Bangkok:

The first option is to take MRT subway to Hua Lamphong MRT station. The station is not close to Chinatown. From the station you have to walk for 10-15 minutes. Well, if it is your first time to visit Chinatown, you can make it as a cultural walking day trip to visit the attractions in this area.

Another option is to take Chao Phraya Express Boat and get off at Ratchawong Pier. From the pier you also have to walk, but it is a very short straight walk. You will walk pass Soi Wanit 1 or Sampeng lane, a popular shopping place in this area which runs parallel to Yaowarat Road. Just keep walking straight ahead. When you see many gold shops on the road, it means you are on Yaowarat Road.

Another interesting place in this area is Wat Leng Noei Yi, Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, the most sacred Chinese Buddhist temple in Bangkok. The temple is located on Charoenkrung Road. So, if you are not tired yet, just walk up a little bit to visit the temple.

Telephone

+66 80 525 6626

More information

https://web.facebook.com/Chinatown-Bangkok, https://web.facebook.com/ChinatownBangkokThailand/, https://foursquare.com/v/yaowarat-market/, https://foursquare.com/v/chinatown-bangkok

Prices

Free entrance

Opening hours

Yaowarat Chinatown opening hours: Open 24 hours, daily, but best for street eating in the evenings after sunset.

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Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown is a popular tourist attraction and a food haven for new generation gourmands who flock here after sunset to explore the vibrant street-side cuisine. At day time, it’s no less busy, as hordes of shoppers descend upon this 1-km strip and adjacent Charoenkrung Road to get a day’s worth of staple, trade gold, or pay a visit to one of the Chinese temples. 

Bangkok's vibrant Chinatown district runs along Yaowarat Road from Odeon Circle, where a huge ceremonial Chinese gate unmistakably marks the entrance, up to the Ong Ang Canal, which marks the outer boundaries of the royal district. Yaowarat Road itself is lined with many gold shops, and Chinatown is indeed one of the better places to shop for gold. However, just off the road in either direction is a whole other world where, it is said, you can find just about anything. Chinatown is an easy place to explore on foot, and in fact there really isn't any other way. Our own suggested walking tour takes in many of the sights of Chinatown, as well as the Indian market at Phahurat and the flower market further on.

Packed with market stalls, street-side restaurants and a dense concentration of gold shops, Chinatown is an experience not to miss. The energy that oozes from its endless rows of wooden shop-houses is plain contagious – it will keep you wanting to come back for more. Plan your visit during major festivals, like Chinese New Year, and you will see Bangkok Chinatown at its best. 

Chinatown History

The Chinese community in Bangkok pre-dates the founding of the Thai capital in the city. Indeed, the land where the grand palace is today was originally a community of Chinese traders. When King Rama I decided to establish the capital on the site of the village of Bangkok, he asked the traders to move. They settled to the east of the new city, along the river. It may be hard to believe today, but the narrow Sampaeng Lane, which isn't even big enough for a car, was once Chinatown's main street.

In 1902, the foreign community, who settled on the river further east of Chinatown, petitioned the king for a larger road. Yaowarat Road was built as a result, and the celebration of the road's 111th birthday was the highlight of Chinatown's 2003 Chinese New Year celebration.

How to go Chinatown Bangkok

The easiest way to reach Chinatown is by boat. Alight at the Ratchawong Pier and walk up Ratchawong Road to Sampaeng Lane or Yaowarat Road. You can also alight at the Harbor Department Pier, which is closer to Odeon Circle; or you can also use Memorial Bridge Pier, right at the flower market.

The second option is to take MRT subway to Hua Lamphong MRT station. The station is not close to Chinatown. From the station you have to walk for 10-15 minutes. Well, if it is your first time to visit Chinatown, you can make it as a cultural walking day trip to visit the attractions in this area. 

Another option is to take Chao Phraya Express Boat and get off at Ratchawong Pier. From the pier you also have to walk, but it is a very short straight walk. You will walk pass Soi Wanit 1 or Sampeng lane, a popular shopping place in this area which runs parallel to Yaowarat Road. Just keep walking straight ahead. When you see many gold shops on the road, it means you are on Yaowarat Road.

Another interesting place in this area is Wat Leng Noei Yi, Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, the most sacred Chinese Buddhist temple in Bangkok. The temple is located on Charoenkrung Road. So, if you are not tired yet, just walk up a little bit to visit the temple.

SubwayAlternatively, you can take the subway to Hua Lampong Station. From there it's a short walk to Wat Traimit 

Getting around Chinatown 

With its lack of a Skytrain (BTS) or underground (MRT), the easiest way to reach Chinatown - if you want to avoid the traffic - is by boat (Chao Phraya River Express). Get off at the Ratchawong Pier, and walk up from Ratchawong Road to Sampeng Lane and Yaowarat Road. Ordinary buses 1, 7, 8, 37, 49 and 75 will take also take you here, but it's much better to travel by boat. The Ratchawong Pier is just a few hundred meters from Yaowarat Road and Sampeng Lane. 

You'll know that you've arrived when you reach the Odeon Circle, where a huge ceremonial Chinese gate unmistakably marks the entrance. Chinatown itself is an easy to explore on foot and, in fact, there really isn't any other way. 

An alternative to get to Chinatown - and to avoid at least some of the traffic - would be to take the underground (MRT) to Hualamphong station, and either a taxi or tuk-tuk from there. For more information on how to get around in Bangkok, have a look at our comprehensive Getting Around in Bangkok Guide. 

Chinatown Bangkok food: What and where to eat in Yaowarat Chinatown

Yaowarat, Bangkok's Chinatown, is a good place to head to for a wonderful dining experience. The area houses some of the best and most expensive Chinese restaurants in the city, along with many of the best and cheapest food stalls, especially at night. 

The restaurants mostly specialise in Southern Chinese (Cantonese) cooking, with noodles, seafood and, at lunchtime, dim sum dominating the menus. Large (and pricey!) restaurants line the bustling Yaowarat Road, but venturing into the little 'sois' (streets) or lanes will lead you to much cheaper yet equally enjoyable establishments. 

At night, the streets light up with blaring neon signs. Ad hoc seafood stalls line the sidewalks, drawing such crowds that late-comers have to wait for seats. 

Close by is also Pahurat, if you're in the mood for Indian food. But, if the array of sights and smells is a bit too overwhelming for you, head over to the Old Siam Shopping Centre, where you will find more tourist-friendly, Western and Thai restaurants, along with the odd fast food outlet. Below these are All Restaurants in Chinatown 

Chinatown Scala Shark’s Fin Restaurant 
For added measure we feature another restaurant which specialises in sharks fin (once there you will realize that it pretty hard to escape). If you don’t warm to that then there are plenty of other options that you can fill up on. The fried fish with black bean sauce is delicious, especially when accompanied by some crab fried rice. The fried whole crab with black pepper is well priced and equally as tasty. For the more adventurous the barbecued suckling pig might not look like the most appetizing thing on the menu but appearances can be deceptive, especially in Chinatown.   

Opening Hours: 10:30-02:00 
Address: 483-5 Yaowarat Rd 
Tel: +66 2623 0183 - 5 
Cuisine: Chinese

Cotton Restaurant at Shanghai Mansion 
Chinatown is certainly not short of eating establishments, but if you are looking to add a real touch of panache to your meal then it’s impossible to beat the 1930s Shanghai parlour concept at Cotton restaurant. Located on the second floor of Shanghai Mansion Bangkok Boutique Hotel, the decor is simply wonderful, with a spiral cast-iron staircase, traditionally upholstered seating and period touches such as gramophones and antique furniture.

Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:30 to 14:30 – Dinner: 18:30 to 22:30 
MRT: Hua Lamphong (short taxi or tuk tuk required) 
Address: 479-481 Yaowaraj Road (Chinatown) 
Tel: +66 (0) 2221 2121

Double Dogs Tea Room
Bangkok’s Chinatown is a lot of things, but relaxing it is not. A day spent exploring the endless alleyways of traders and vendors is culturally stimulating but physically exhausting. That is why Double Dogs Tea Room proves such a welcome harbour from the frenetic pace of life outside. This air-conditioned shophouse on Yaowarat – the high street of Chinatown – serves a range of premium teas and Chinese cakes with all the pride and ceremony of a traditional tea room, and yet it is a casual hangout for weary visitors and more than the odd local too.

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 13:00 - 21:00 – Friday to Sunday: 11:00 - 23:00 (Closed on Monday) 
Address: 406 Yaowarat Road, Chinatown 
Tel: 0863293075

Himali Cha Cha
This long-established restaurant is the work of Cha Cha, who for 40 years cooked for the rich and famous. Cha Cha's son has maintained the family tradition of serving hearty Indian fare. Curries abound with mutton chutniwalla being the pick of the lot. Vindaloo is also recommended but for those of a less fiery disposition, chicken kashmiri, a rich, mild Himalayan blend with dried fruits, nuts and yoghurt will hit the spot.  

Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00 
Address: 1229/11 Charoen Krung (New Road) Soi 47/1 
Tel: +66 2235-1569 
Cuisine: Indian

Hong Kong Noodles
One of three noodle and dim sum establishments in the city, treats include Hong Kong-style noodles with grilled duck or pork. Homemade egg noodles, shrimp wonton soup and khao moo deang (rice and grilled pork topped with red sauce). Prices are very reasonable with dishes going for as little as 40 baht.  

Opening Hours: 11:00 - 23:00 
Address: Next to the MRT, exit 3, Chinatown 
Tel: +66 (0) 2 613 -8977 
Cuisine: Noodles

Hua Seng Hong 
One of Chinatown's more expensive options, but don’t doubt that you will get your money's worth. Famed for its birds' nest soup, other tasty alternatives include roasted Cantonese meats and hoy tawt (mussels in batter). The atmosphere is typically Chinese, bustling while still efficient.  

Opening Hours: 14:00-24:00 
Address: 371-373 Yaowarat Road 
Tel: +66 (0) 222-0635 
Cuisine: Chinese

Lao Li Shark Fin
Goose webs, sea cucumber, shellfish, birds' nest soup and goat meat are just some of the culinary wonders that feature on this menu. This is a great place to try the restaurant's signatures dish, shark fin soup. While not compromising on taste, Lao Li Shark Fin is the one of the cheapest in town.  

Opening Hours: 14:00 – 24:00 
Address: Lao Li Shark Fin, 457-461, Yaowarat Rd 
Tel: +66 (0) 2 223 7341 
Cuisine: Chinese

Lek & Rut Seafood
Bangkok is a city of extremes and this is particularly obvious when it comes to food. Here you can treat yourself to an extravagant and ludicrously expensive dinner on a rooftop restaurant, or eat a basic but excellent meal at a street stall for a handful of baht. Lek-Rut seafood in Chinatown is the most interesting mix of both culinary worlds, serving great food in the most unlikely surroundings you could dream of for a nice dinner: a frantic intersection of Bangkok Chinatown.

Location: Intersection of Yaowarat Road and Thanon Phadung Dao Street

Nai Sow 
Cheap and cheerful yet still mouth-wateringly delightful. Many of Bangkok’s residents claim Nai Sow does the best tom yam goong (spicy shrimp soup) in the city. Next door to Wat Plaplachai, this is a consistently good restaurant and a certain bet for good Thai dishes. Try the ‘naw mai thalay’ (sea asparagus in oyster sauce), delicious.  

Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00 
Address: 3/1 Maitrichit Road, Chinatown, Bangkok 
Tel: +66 (0) 222-1539 
Cuisine: Thai

Nai Yong Curry Restaurant 
An alternative to Chinese food if you fancy a bit of spice, Nai Yong is very reasonably priced, serving up all your favourite Thai treats including thick and creamy Massaman gai and Penang curries.  

Opening Hours: 19:00-02:00 
Address: Yaowarat Road (between Yaowarat Soi 6 and Plaengnam Road). In front of Talat Kao Market, Yarowat Road 
Cuisine: Curry

Shangri-La Restaurant 
This well-established Chinese restaurant is famous for its Cantonese-style roast duck, barbecued pork and dim sum. Other popular dishes include hot and cold hord'oeuvres, Peking duck, abalone in oyster sauce, scallops in XO sauce and steamed seabass in white soy sauce. The interior decor leands towards old-school, with the usual gold and red colour scheme and tables setup for banquets and large gatherings.  

Opening Hours: 11:00 – 23:00 
Location: Yaowarat Road (corner of Rajchawong and Yaowaraj) 
Tel: +66 (0)2 224 5807 
Cuisine: Chinese

T&K Seafood 
For many this is Chinatown’s best restaurant, nothing much to look at, it would be a mistake to be deterred by the rough exterior. T&K is all about the food (and brisk service). Simple, fresh, tasty southern-Chinese recipes and the best seafood in the area; try the oysters and sea bass.   

Opening Hours: 16:30-02:00 
Address: 49-51 Soi Phadung Dao, Yaowarat Rd. (corner Thong Suphan No. 453) 
Tel: +66 (0) 2 223- 4519 
Cuisine: Seafood

Texas Suki 
Reasonably priced, clean and comfortable, Texas Suki serves up a conventional Cantonese treats including noodle and rice-based dishes as well as the more adventurous fare such as birds nest soup and fried puffed-up fish stomach.  

Opening Hours: 11:00 - 23:00 
Address: 17 Soi Phadung Rd, off Yaowarat Rd four doors down from T&K Seafood. 
Tel: +66 2223 9807 
Cuisine: Chinese/Seafood

The Canton House
It's not handcrafted splendour in each and every bite, but most of their dim sum is solid and a great value.
Plus, it's a fun place to drink beers and kick it with the rest of middle class Thailand

Their Yaowarat branch is right next to the China House Hotel and convenient for a hung over breakfast. Nothing beats dim sum to get you back in the game. 

Canton House features 24 different kinds of dim sum at 16 baht per portion, other dishes from 100-400 baht, including some mouth-watering roast duck.

530 Yaowarat Rd, Bangkok
Daily )9:00 - 22:00
T: (02) 221 3335 
http://www.thecantonhouse.com

Viva & Aviv The River
Sometimes we long for the discomfort of travel – overnight train rides squashed next to a family of 10 in Kuala Lumpur, holes in the ground as toilets in Ban Lung, food so fresh off the street a piece of the vendor’s hair is tangled into the noodles (well, maybe not that last bit). But other times, we feel we’ve come this far, we might as well live it up. If that makes any sense at all (or even if it doesn't), head to Viva & Aviv The River along Bangkok's riverfront.

Viva & Aviv is perched over the Chao Phraya river, and boasts a “complimentary breeze”. The water looks so blue and inviting from their wooden deck, you might be tempted to dip in (at your own risk, my fellow traveller).

Viva & Aviv is a mere baby on the Bangkok restaurant and nightlife scene, created by the culinary team behind Hyde & Seek Gastro Bar in Phloen Chit. The venue has become a popular haunt for the young-and-ready-to-party crowd as the venue of Kolour Sundays. The hype all started when word got out of a “secret” sunset party in an undisclosed location. The locale has since been revealed, but the allure of a Sunday afternoon barbecue with a cocktail menu by the ‘Swedish Bar Mafia’ keeps bringing back more partiers, and adding life to the otherwise sleepy River City shopping complex.

Cocktails steal the show at Viva & Aviv, so the best time to come is from 16:00 to 20:00 during their happy hour, where you can enjoy their cocktail of the week (199 baht), wine by the glass (199 baht) or draught beer (99 baht) and catch a pink sunset over the water. The cocktails tend to emphasise fresh fruit with a dash of whimsy and lots of flavour. Signature cocktails all go for 250 baht, with playful names like “Young Guns & Old Grenades” with lychee, fresh pomegranate and young ginger, and “Man Goes Nuts” with ripe mango, citrus and saffron syrup.

To complement your cocktail, the kitchen serves (pricey) snacks like duck with mango pickles and fig paste and croquet balls with yoghurt dipping sauce (180 baht) and meals including sandwiches, pasta and pizza reminiscent of a modern Australian cafe, with Asian or even Latin American pizzaz. While good brick oven pizza can be hard to find in Bangkok, it’s not impossible – try the Carlito’s Carnitas with pork carnitas and pico de gallo or an Italian spin on Thailand’s traditional tom kha gai (225 baht).

Some might say Viva & Aviv is a confusion of the senses – relaxed and romantic riverside dining, Sunday afternoon DJ beats, fruity and rum-heavy cocktails, Spanish chorizo sandwiches, and pirate-inspired decor – but the owners pull it off, and seem to be having a lot of fun along the way. For a playful drink on the Chao Phraya, stop by Viva & Aviv, and you might just end up ordering dinner there, too.

River City, 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng (Charoen Krung Soi 30), Bangkok
Daily 11:00-24:00
T: 02) 639 6305 
http://www.vivaaviv.com/

Yoo Fish Ball
Chinatown is no stranger to look chin pla, squishy, fishy balls that are usually served with rice noodles in a mild broth. Some of the best-known fish ball shops are found in dingy alleys, but Yoo Fish Ball serves up their signature variety at an easy-to-find, modern-style eatery right on Yaowarat Road. Don’t be turned off by the trendy decor; Yoo has been crafting fish balls for over 80 years.

With a line of stainless steel tables and red plastic stools, ceiling fans, photos of celebrities who have visited the shop and staff wearing red aprons complete with Yoo’s catchy logo of an Asian girl holding a fish, Yoo’s decor offers slightly more than the usual hole-in-the-wall food shop. Though not exactly friendly, service is snappy. Along with the fish balls, they serve some interesting Thai and Japanese desserts to go with bubble tea.

The single-page menu boasts 25 different fish ball dishes, mostly noodle soups, each with a picture and English explanation. All selections cost just 30 to 50 baht. If you only want the fish balls, order a platter served with a sour and spicy chilli-lime dipping sauce. The only things that separate one noodle dish from the next are often thin or wide rice noodles, broth or no broth, or hot sauce or no hot sauce.

We went with Ta Mee, a dry (broth-less) dish of egg noodles with Yoo’s house-made fish balls and a spicy Thai sauce. In a whole different universe from the factory-made fish balls (who knows what they put in those) found at most Bangkok noodle carts, Yoo’s are hand-made daily from Spanish mackerel, garlic, pepper and other spices. With just the right amount of bounciness, the balls are savoury and don’t leave a fishy after-taste.

Along with four plump “normal” fish balls, the dish included one deep-fried fish ball, one strip of fish cake, a deep-fried roll filled with tofu and taro, and steamed morning glory. The only part we weren’t too fond of was the bright red chilli sauce that obviously came from a bottle. Next time we’ll try the soup. A single bowl makes a good snack, but we’d need two or three to fill up.

433 Yaowarat Road (about midway between Soi Texas and Soi Phlaeng Nam), Bangkok
Daily 10:00-21:00
T: (089) 782 7777 

Royal India Restaurant
Tucked down a dark alley near Sri Guru Singh Sabah Sikh temple in Little India Pahurat, tiny Royal India Restaurant is a fine option for authentic Indian fare in an air-conditioned room.

Bangkok has no shortage of Indian restaurants, including some excellent higher end choices around Sukhumvit and Silom. Most of Pahurat's Indian eateries are nondescript open-fronted shops with a few tables and sometimes not even a sign. Royal is a lot easier to find thanks to its large sign along the main road, and the quality of food is good as well.

At the front of a tiny alley, the restaurant itself is fronted only by a display of Indian-style sweets. Inside it’s a dim six-table deal with nothing for ambience save a TV in the corner playing Indian movies. The toilet is awkwardly tucked off a corner of the cramped kitchen. We're not talking luxury here, but the air-con is welcome in the typically steamy weather.

The place is often full of locals — Thais, Indians and all sorts of foreign residents — not thanks to the atmosphere but rather the food. The menu offers mainly standards like aloo gobhi, roghan josh, chicken tandoori and a range of nans, kulchas and parathas. A full page of vegetarian dishes go for under 100 baht and meat curries come in at no more than 200 baht.

The chicken tikka masala we tried featured three hefty hunks of boneless white meat in a thick sauce with just the right amount of kick and tanginess. Our usual go-to vegetarian dish at any Indian restaurant, baigan bartha, exceeded expectations. Whereas many restaurants cook the eggplant to the point that you can’t even tell you’re eating eggplant, Royal’s version featured mouthwatering chunks — skin and all — that retained that tender and mild character while melding perfectly with a blend of slow roasted tomato and spice. The dish was rich but not oily, and the accompanying nan crisp on the outside but doughy and warm in the middle.

Along with plain nan, white rice and bottled water, we were out the door for just over 300 baht. Of course, once outside we couldn’t pass up the 10 to 20 baht sweet and savoury baked goods sold next door. Go ahead and stock up; you won’t find anything quite like them in most parts of Bangkok.

To get here, make your way to Sri Guru Singh Saba Sikh temple, cross Chakphet Road, walk no more than 50 metres west and look for the sign on the left.

392/1 Chakphet Rd, Bangkok
Daily 10:00-21:00
T: (02) 221 6656 

Ba Mii Jap Kang (Coolie Noodles)
Update, 1 June 2015: The Ba Mii Jap Kang noodle stall was sadly destroyed in a fire that also gutted several heritage houses. We will report back here if and when it reopens.

Ba mii jap kang is not a meal for the dainty. And while it’s available at other places in Chinatown, Thais flock to the food stall bearing the same name, Ba Mii Jap Kang, with weekends seeing queues of people wanting a seat or some take-away.

At Ba Mii Jap Kang, chewy, springy egg noodles are boiled in a huge vat of pork broth over a charcoal brazier and then tossed around with a heavy set of chop sticks to rid them of extra liquid. The cook then directs the falling noodles into a bowl, cooking and portioning in one movement. Chunks of pork shoulder that have been slowly braised until tender are sliced into the bowl, along with some leaner slices of roasted pork. Spring onions follow, bright and crisp. Finally, a dollop of liquid pork fat reserved from the braising slicks up the noodles and the accompanying meat.

Why would one eat a bowl of noodles served with pork and pork fat (asides from the fact that it’s awesome)? Carrying stuff is hard, and people who carry stuff deserve to eat a fatty, fatty bowl of deliciousness.

Ba mii jap kang is an excellent example of what happened when millions of Chinese immigrants began arriving in Thailand: techniques from the old country were mixed with ingredients from the new. Most recent immigrants arrived without many skills and with no money. Ba mii jap kang provided the perfect combination of lots of calories and a filling amount of protein for men who worked on the docks and in Chinatown warehouses as porters and coolies.

Jap kang actually comes from the Hokkien dialect where jap kang means “assorted labour”, which is a pretty good summation of what a manual labourer does to get by. While the noodles and the braised pork can be traced back to China, the green chilli sauce, fish sauce, crushed dried chillies, and fried garlic served to garnish the bowl are pure Thai.

Even if you haven’t spent the day hauling things, this bowl of noodles is a required indulgence. The chewy noodles are amazing, so pull up a chair to a rickety table and order: thamada or phiiset (regular or large), heng or naam (dry or in broth). Those are all the options a coolie needs. Regular 30 baht, large 35 baht. No phone, bathroom, or sink.

On right, half-way down Charoen Krung Soi 23 off Charoen Krung Rd, Bangkok
Daily 10:30-18:30

Khao Thom 24
When it comes to food in Bangkok’s bustling Chinatown, competition is stiff. Chefs who don’t deliver something truly special won’t make it for long. Even by these standards, nondescript Khao Thom 24 serves up phenomenal curries, stir-fries and fish around the clock.

With little more than a few light bulbs hanging over tray upon tray of food, Khao Thom 24 skips the loud signage and uniformed servers. All that’s needed to consistently keep a handful of plastic stools occupied is a hard-earned reputation for cheap, good food. It also doesn’t hurt that at least 30 varieties of visually spectacular eats are displayed at any given moment. As an added bonus, Khao Thom keeps it coming 24 hours a day, hence the name.

From stir-fried pumpkin to intentionally chewy pork ribs to spicy clams and delicate tofu, the choice is a daunting one. Order as many items as you like to accompany steamed rice (khao suoy) or rice porridge (khao thom), the restaurant’s namesake. Most items go for just 20 baht a piece, plus 10 baht for the rice. Though little English is spoken, it’s easy to point out your selections.

Once we finally came to a decision, we were taken aback by very generous scoops of shark and tofu served over a huge mound of rice. Though prices are significantly cheaper than many khao gaeng (curry and rice) shops in Bangkok, portions are almost double the size of what we’re used to.

Sauteed in a spicy red chilli sauce with a hint of shrimp paste, scallion and ginger, juicy hunks of shark induced a not-so-quiet “wow” at first bite. Gently fried with little more than a hint of turmeric, cubes of tofu melted in the mouth. Unlike many shops that go heavy on the sweet or salty, we found the food to be precisely balanced and refreshingly simple.

After filling your belly, you might head to nearby Talaad Mai to see the ingredients that fuel local kitchens, Khlong Thom for electronics shopping mayhem, or Double Dogs for a pot of tea.

Khao Thom 24 can be found about halfway between Yaowarat and Charoen Krung, on the northwest side of Phlaeng Nam Road. There’s no English sign but you can’t miss the stacks of food.

Soi Phlaeng Nam, Bangkok
Daily 24 hours

Odean Crab Noodle
Seafood is loved by nearly all Thai people, and saltwater crab holds a special place in the hearts and tongues of most. For an affordable taste in Bangkok’s Chinatown, make your way to the no-frills Odean crab noodle shop.

Named after the colourful gate that marks the entrance to Chinatown nearby, Odean occupies a pair of narrow shophouses on an unusually quiet stretch of Charoen Krung Road, a stone’s throw from Wat Traimit. One houses the kitchen, while the other serves as simple but clean air-conditioned dining room with a few stainless steel tables. A two-page menu has brief English descriptions to go with photos of most dishes, making Odean easily accessible to foreigners.

The shop is also easy to spot thanks to the bright red steamed crab claws that “grab” passersby from a footpath display case. Saltwater crabs are sourced from a single town in Surat Thani province that’s known for the sweetness of its crab meat. With just about everything made from scratch, the shop itself is known for its attention to detail.

The signature dish is ba-mii puu nam (crab noodle soup), a comforting mix of mild broth with unusually thin and soft house-made egg noodles and a generous portion of crab meat for 55 baht a bowl. It can be ordered heng (dry) if you prefer the broth on the side. Add a dusting of chillies or lashing of fish sauce for a little extra kick.

Many choose to accompany their noodles with one of Odean’s excellent handmade dim sum or dumpling selections. Served in a traditional bamboo steamer, our chunky prawn dim sum (60 baht) rivalled the same dish as found at more famous eateries like Hua Seng Hong. Next time, we’ll give the crab meatballs or prawn wontons a shot.

Odean also does a mean crab fried rice, while those who aren’t feeling crabby (or shrimpy) can go for noodle soup with roasted pork instead. You’ll also find fried fish maw soup, which you may want to wash down with a glass of lemongrass, roselle or bael fruit juice. Those looking for a feast can order up plates of whole steamed crab claws for between 150 and 600 baht.

724-726 Charoen Krung Rd (just south of Lamphun Chai Rd and north of the Odeon Gate and Wat Traimit), Chinatown, Bangkok
Daily 9:00-21:00
T: (086) 888 2341, (084) 703 4042 

Jay Ben Noodle
For many of us, pick-up trucks conjure thoughts of country roads, farmers and landscaping. Those accustomed to Thailand, on the other hand, might associate them with piles of tropical fruit, uniformed kids on their way to school, or even a street kitchen on a bustling urban corner. In Bangkok’s Chinatown, Jay Ben Noodle proves that the sight of an old pick-up can make your mouth water.

Jay Ben tosses up some of the city’s most irresistible wok-fried noodles out the back of a rusty Japanese pick-up that looks to have been around since Jay first started slinging four decades ago. The truck sits stationary within sight of the Odean Gate in Chinatown’s southern reaches, a constant stream of local diners ensuring that, if it’s broke, there’s no need to fix it.

Half a dozen dented red tables sit with plastic stools as rumbling tuk tuks and Vespas set the soundtrack. Two staff members usher iced chrysanthemum tea to customers, who might also pop into the adjacent 7-eleven for a beer or bottled water. With an occasional burst of flames, Jay’s sizzling “wok breath” induces hearty sneezes from customers and passersby.

The signature dish is kwit-tieau pad ngee ngao, a close cousin of pad kee mao, the “drunk as shit noodles” served in practically every Thai restaurant in the West. The name translates into English as “stupid stir-fried noodles” because any idiot who can turn on a stove can throw it together in some form — just as any old drunk can whip up a bowl of kee mao. But Jay Ben is neither an idiot nor a drunk.

Turning this typically unsophisticated dish into one of the tastiest things you’re likely to try amid one of the world’s great food neighbourhoods requires not only some intelligence, but also years of experience and a natural knack for flavour. The verdict from our taste buds: Jay Ben is a genius.

In a city where most street chefs use propane stoves, Jay Ben super-heats her wok with a distinctive charcoal that infuses smoky tones into each dish. She then throws in a handful of wide rice noodles, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, pig’s kidney (they taste like the perfect pork meatball) and seasonings to go with big, fresh prawns that are marinated and slightly grilled beforehand. Squid is another usual player, though it had already run out when we stopped by around 13:00.

After a quick scorch in the wok, the finished dish is presented over a piece of lettuce in a shiny steel bowl with a handle. Neither too sweet nor laden with MSG, all of the ingredients blur together in each gooey bite, thrilling the tastes buds and sticking to the ribs. This is Chinese-Thai comfort food at its best. A sweet-and-spicy sauce is served on the side, though the only condiment we reached for was the green chillies in vinegar for a splash of acidity to compliment the richness.

Jay Ben uses better-than-average ingredients (evidenced most obviously by the chunky prawns), resulting in a 100 baht price tag for a full portion of kwit-tieau pad ngee ngao (half portions are also available). Those on a tight budget can tuck into kwit-tieau kua kai, a similar wok-fried noodle dish made with chicken rather than seafood. You’ll also find suki heng, glass noodles tossed with egg, morning glory and choice of protein.

To find out just how enjoyable “stupid” food prepared on a pick-up truck can be, follow Yaowarat Road to its far southeastern end until you see the giant Odean Gate in the centre of the traffic circle. Head straight south, hopping over Yaowarat Soi 3 and Tri Mit Road, and you’ll see Jay Ben’s rusty pick-up parked in front of a 7-eleven at the top of Yaowarat Soi 1.

Alternately, take Exit 1 out of Hualamphong MRT station, walk straight at the top of the stairs, bear left and cross the road at the crosswalk, take the canal bridge and hang an immediate right on the other side, and then the first left onto Mittraphap Road, passing by Wat Traimit. Walk to the left when you reach Odean traffic circle, and Yaowarat Soi 1 will be the second left.

North end of Yaowarat Soi 1 (aka Soi Charoen Phanit), 50 metres from Odean Gate, Bangkok
Mon-Sat 10:00-15:00

Toney Restaurant
Not surprisingly, some of Bangkok’s best-value Indian food can be scored in Pahurat, or Little India, though it takes some courage to hunt for it amid the tangle of alleyways and fabric shops. Down one nondescript lane, Toney Restaurant dishes out cheap but delicious food in a pavement-side eatery.

Situated at the corner of two sign-less lanes near a canal that you can’t actually see due to a high wall, Toney is the sort of place that you’d walk right past if you weren’t looking for it. With only a few six-seat white tables, the open-air dining area gets its ambiance from a TV tuned to excruciatingly dramatic Indian shows, green fairy lights next to a couple of Buddha images, a ceiling fan and bamboo forest wallpaper. The occasional passing motorbike and wandering granny make you feel like you’re part of the neighbourhood.

Most of the clientele are locals, though the restaurant also draws a dedicated group of Indian-food-loving Western expats. A staff member rolls the roti (unleavened wheat bread) by hand off to the side of the alley, in front of a tiny open-fronted kitchen across from the dining area in a separate building. Customers are welcome to pop their heads inside to see what smells good.

Pahurat is traditionally known for its northern Indian Sikh community (as opposed to the mostly southern Indians down in Silom), but these days the area is very diverse. At least one of the staff members at Toney is Burmese, while the half-dozen photos of Mt Everest may hint at Nepalese roots (or maybe just an enthusiasm for the Himalayas). I’m no expert on Burmese or Nepalese cuisines, but the food was unlike anything we’ve had in Indian restaurants before.

Whatever the origins, the flavours are worth going out of your way for. We tried a chicken curry (85 baht) that was very tasty and light, at least compared to the soupy, clarified-butter-drenched versions that are common in Indian restaurants. The chicken was tender, though we did need to work out some tiny bits of bone. The dish might be too salty for some, though I loved every bite of it.

Also served on a shiny stainless steel platter, the aloo bindi (40 baht) was seasoned with dry spices before going for a quick toss in a pan. No liquid sauce was involved, and each bite-size piece of okra popped with flavour. Again, the saltiness may overpower some palates, but we found both dishes very satisfying with hefty sides of steamed white rice and roti still hot from the grill. As we dug in, the server dropped off a complimentary bowl of fresh cucumbers in a tangy and spicy lime-chilli sauce to round out the meal.

The small menu has just over a dozen dishes on both the vegetarian and meat sides, most of them recognisable to anyone whose eaten at a few Indian restaurants. Yet the food itself doesn’t fall in line with the norm. We’ve come to expect Indian meals to sit heavy in the stomach but felt perfectly balanced after eating at Toney.

While no nan is served here, the handmade roti is accompanied by several types of paratha (pan-fried unleavened wheat bread stuffed with various ingredients) and paneer (Indian cheese usually grilled with spices or served in a curry). The place also does a solid masala tea along with beer, soft drinks and lassi available in “simple” or “salt” varieties (no mango or pineapple here). Service was no less attentive or courteous than we’ve experienced in upscale Bangkok restaurants.

If you prefer an air-con setting, Royal India Restaurant does solid northern Indian fare around the corner. On the same alley, we also saw a couple of hole-in-the-wall vegetarian restaurants and sweets shops that we’ll be sure to try in the future.

Kudos to Mark of Migrationalogy.com for first sharing Toney Restaurant with the net-surfing world.

Travel info:
Toney is situated at the end of a sign-less alley that cuts east off Chakphet Road, a main thoroughfare through the Pahurat area. From Memorial Bridge (aka Saphan Phut) pier along the Chao Phraya express boat line, head straight north from the pier, cross the street and walk immediately up the cement stairs, then keep to the right side of the street. Hop over the one-lane road and hang a right in front of Wat Ratchaburana, which will take you to the west side of Chakphet Road. Cross the street when possible and walk a couple of hundred metres until you see a large sign for Royal India Restaurant on the right. After you pass that sign and the accompanying alley, take a right into the next alley up (marked by “S.B. Travel and Trade” at the corner). From there walk straight up the alley and you’ll find Toney’s nondescript dining space immediately after hanging a right at the end.

64/1 Soi Rimklongongarg (off Chakphet Road), Bangkok
Daily 10:00-21:00

Sweet Time
Every night in Chinatown, colourful sweetmeats and simmering pots of sugar syrup attract sweet-tooths in their thousands. Chinese-style desserts are hugely popular in this street-food haven, but many foreigners don’t know the first thing about them. At Sweet Time, sampling these distinctive goodies is as easy as pie.

Set on a bustling stretch of Yaowarat Road, this no-frills street eatery is consistently packed with crowds of younger Thais who come to socialise over desserts. Couples and solo travellers can grab a stool at smaller tables squeezed into corners of the footpath. A team of servers donning yellow aprons shout orders over the electrifying hum of Yaowarat at night. Back at the cart, workers piece together each dessert from a colourful spread of ready-made ingredients.

While Chinese-style dessert shops can be found all over Chinatown, most of them are difficult for non-Thai-speakers to approach. Even if using the English names, many of the ingredients will be obscure to all but the most food-savvy Westerners, and an overwhelming array of options are available from each stall. Saving you from a lot of confused pointing, Sweet Time slaps English menus with photos on every table.

Served like a soup — hot or cold — in small bowls filled with sugar syrup, ginger syrup, longan syrup or sweetened coconut milk, the bite-size possibilities include gingko seeds, water chestnut, sweet potato, black sesame balls, deep-fried bean curd, candied bael fruit and squishy green strips of grass jelly (lod chong). The menu suggests popular combinations, but you’re also free to mix and match.

While most items cost between 20 and 50 baht, the edible bird’s nest with syrup is sold in three sizes ranging from 100 to 300 baht. We passed on this ultra-sweet Chinese delicacy in favour of something more refreshing: pandan-flavoured sago (tapioca pearls) with marble-size spheres of cantaloupe in sweet and icy coconut milk.

Next time we’ll go for bua loy, a traditional Thai dessert with rice flour balls made from taro, pandan, butterfly pea flower and other ingredients, bobbing in a warm coconut broth. More adventurous palates might try chao kuay, gelatinous chunks of a black herbal tea that’s supposed to be very healthy. You might also snatch a plate of durian with sticky rice, sold by a neighbouring street cart.

Sweet Time is located in the heart of Chinatown, just west of Yaowarat Soi 9 on the south side of Yaowarat Road. Look for big red umbrellas, yellow aprons and a crowd of young locals.

Yaowarat Rd, Bangkok
Daily 18:00-02:00

Kuay-tiao Lod Phra Thep
Take a bustling footpath lit by glowing red and yellow signs after dark. Add a street cart with steamer, brass pot and one very dedicated chef who treats his ingredients like a musician would a century-old violin. Throw in a few dented tables and stools; add chilli-vinegar to taste. What you get is one of Chinatown’s most beloved noodle stalls: Kuay-tiao Lod Phra Thep.

Always donning a clean white apron and chef’s cap, owner Pornchai embodies the seriousness with which Bangkokians approach their food. His single focus is to consistently offer the best kuay-tiao lod known to humankind. When done right, this Chinese-inspired noodle dish hits like a warm gale of flavours and textures, more like Fleetwood Mac than a symphony: a thing of working-class beauty.

A finished plate of kuay-tiao lod resembles common wok-fried noodle dishes like pad-see-ew, but it’s in fact a collection of steamed, simmered and fresh ingredients that come together, only at the last minute, in proportions that would make a chemical engineer proud. It’s fitting how the Thai name for the type of steamer used by Pornchai, sueng, also means “touched” or “moved” in the emotional sense.

Each portion of wide, flat noodles are steamed in little baskets along with a hint of dried shrimp. One of these is emptied on to a dish along with a spoonful of broth flavoured by sweet soy sauce, shiitake mushroom, bites of lean pork, slices of squid and seasoned tofu (the secret ingredient), all simmering in a shiny brass pot atop the cart. A generous dollop of fried garlic and sprinkling of scallions and bean sprouts finish things off.

Slippery but not oily noodles embrace hearty hunks of pork and squid. Each mushroom works like a sponge, soaking up the subtle sweetness of the phenomenal sauce that defines the dish. Bold fried garlic adds another layer of depth, punctuated by a green chilli and vinegar condiment that, unlike at most noodle stalls, is blended at the start of each evening and poured into clean cups.

We devoured our 50-baht dish as quickly as it takes a roller coaster to round a track, the experience akin to a thrill ride in other ways as well. Pornchai’s kwit-tiao lod commands the fullest attention, naturally distracting you from Chinatown in the same way that an intense scene in a film might make you forget everything else for a few moments. We ordered two more portions to take home.

The street cart has no official name; locals call it “Phra Thep” after the title of Thai Princess Sirindhorn, one of the better-known customers. Modest Pornchai looks as serious as any five-star chef when he works, but he cracked us a quick smile on our way out. Since there’s only one dish available, it’s easy to order without knowing any Thai. A krapoh pla (fish maw soup) vendor sets up next door and shares the footpath tables.

Despite being quite famous locally, the streetside eatery blends into Chinatown’s countless vendors and is easy to miss. It’s located on the north side of Yaowarat, just west of Shanghai Mansion and east of T&K Seafood, which sprawls on the corner of Soi Phadung Dao (aka Soi Texas). The cart sets up under a white “SEIKO” sign that can only be seen from the footpath.

Yawoarat Rd (between Soi Phadung Dao and and Soi Song Sawat), Bangkok
Tues-Sun, 18:00-01:00

Khao Phra Ram Long Song Mae Akarawan
Owner of a third-generation street cart business, Mae Akarawan specialises in the hard-to-find peanut, pork and rice dish known as khao Phra Ram long song, or “swimming Rama.” Perhaps no dish better exemplifies the blend of culinary cultures that come together in Thai cuisine.

The yellow-fronted street cart is now run by a daughter of Mae Akarawan, who operated the business for several decades after inheriting it from her father. A couple of dented steel tables and plastic stools sit in the shade of a shophouse selling khun chiang (Chinese preserved sausage). The ambiance is streetside Chinatown at its best.

Phra ram long song literally means “King Rama takes a bath,” though the dish is better known in English as “Swimming Rama.” We reckon that the boiled pork strips, pork liver and shrimp represent “his highness,” while the “bath” would be a generous topping of rich and creamy peanut sauce. Mae Akarawan’s sauce almost tastes more like a mild coconut curry with peanut in the background. The dish is completely drenched in the stuff — unusual in a country where the “integrity” of rice is usually only compromised by spoonfuls of soups, curries, meats or stir-fries served on the side.

The friendly chef prepares the proteins along with a handful of morning glory in a pot of broth that’s kept boiling for hours. These are placed on a mound of steamed rice topped by the peanut sauce and a dark-red dollop of nam prik pao, a relish made of roasted red chillies, garlic and onion. The earthy and crisp morning glory offsets the richness of the sauce, while the nam prik pao adds a savoury burst of heat. Diners can also spoon on some chillies and vinegar for a splash of sour and spicy.

Khao Phra Ram long song sits at a crossroads of different cuisines. The boiled pork, morning glory and loose-grain rice are typical of Chinese food. The peanut sauce derives from the Malaysian varieties served with satay but also seems to include some Thai twists. Finally, the punchy spoonful of nam prik pao steers the dish back towards the bold flavours of Thai cuisine.

Mae Akarawan also cooks up khao niao bing: a mix of banana, taro or mung bean encased in coconut sticky rice, wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over charcoal. Start with khanom jeeb from a nearby street cart that fronts Wat Yuan, move on to khao Phra Ram long song and finish off with khao niao bing for a full three-course meal that will cost you less than 100 baht.

The cart sets up towards the north end of Plaeng Nam Road, on the left if walking north from Yaowarat Road towards Charoen Krung. Look for the yellow sign across from Soi Phiphaksa 1. The namesake dish costs 45 to 65 baht, depending on whether you order it with pork (muu), shrimp (kuung) or everything (sai tuk yang). Khao niao bing goes for 10 baht a piece.

Plaeng Nam Rd, Bangkok
Tues-Sun 12:00-19:00

Eating at night in Chinatown

In a city known for its night time indulgences, great late night street eats are a must. There are always a few noodle soup carts, grillers of pork skewers, or the flames of a fried noodle wok clustered around popular clubs and bars — but it’s more hangover cure/dancing fuel than culinary delight. But what if your long Bangkok evening revolved around food? You need a whole district devoted to food. You need Yaowarat.

Lots of great night-time eating can be found in Bangkok, but generally most carts are stacking the chairs and wiping down the tables by about 23:00 or so, with a few brave late nighters open until 12:30 or 01:00. Not so in Chinatown, transected by Yaowarat Road, where the vendors keep going until 02:00 or later (some spots, like Khao Thom 24, never close).

Chinatown isn’t just Chinese food. Chinatown has a long history of being the mixing pot for Thailand’s most recent big immigrant group: the southern Chinese. This immigrant group brought with them woks, new seasonings, and cooking techniques like blazing hot stir-frying. Combined with abundant Thai produce, fish sauce, fish/shrimp pastes and sour tamarind, a new category of food exploded, including the ubiquitous pad Thai and other rice noodle dishes.

Eating on Yaowarat could be started with some of the best pad kii mao in Thailand (noodles fried “drunk-style” — not with booze, but with plenty of chilli and garlic to satisfy the drinking public), served forth on blisteringly hot cast iron plates that keep the luscious wide rice noodles hot and perfectly toasted on one side. It’s spicy — if you’d like to wash it down with a soft drink they have you covered, and you are welcome to bring your own bottles of beer from the 7-eleven around the corner. Our favourite kee mao comes from Krua Pornlamai (stand name) on Plaeng Naam Road, left side as you walk down this small street, about 35 metres from Yaowarat Road.

Once settled with some fried noodles, it’s time for another classic Yaowarat dish: khao muu daeng (red pork rice). Khao muu is pork shank that’s been simmered with anise, cinnamon, aromatics and palm sugar until the meat is fork tender. It’ll be served up on white rice, with delicate slices of braised fat and pickled mustard greens. Don’t skip the fat; it’s the best part.

Next you'll undoubtedly come across the many street merchants roasting chesnuts. The black beads the chestnuts are roasting in is a special sand that is used to make sure the chesnuts cook evenly and right through. A small bag should set you back 15-20 baht — don’t eat too many as they will kill your appetite.

The food scene really gets going at Soi Texas (though we prefer to call it “Soi Seafood”), where two seafood joints, Rut & Lek (red shirts) and T&K (green shirts), battle it out for seafood supremacy. We’re big fans of the black pepper crab at T&K’s, but a Bangkok native waved both off and we pulled up stools at Heng’s, the next place down Soi Texas after R&L’s. Here we disposed of a plate of grilled king prawns, squid in curry and a steamed lonely crab. The prawns in particular were delicious.

As you sit and eat at one of the endless streetside tables, the conversation invetably turns to the question: What will we eat next? Rice or noodles? Soup or fried? Two more meals or one? We settled on walking up to the other end of Yaowarat for a noodle dish, but in Yaowarat the distractions come easy.

We headed to one of the best kuay jab stalls in the area. Kuay jab is a noodle soup with wide curled noodles and all sorts of bits of a pig you probably don’t eat all that much — think stomach lining, lung, heart, liver and a couple of crispy pork chunks. But the real treat is the rich peppery broth it comes in. It sneaks up on you but will clear your sinuses (and those of anyone within 100 metres of the stall). Some of the offal is an acquired taste, but the broth itself is undoubtedly superb. You’ll find our one at Yaowarat Soi 11 (Soi Issaranuparb) and expect to wait to be seated — this is a very popular stall.

After all of the noodles, pork, pepper and spicy seafood, you might want to to cool your heels at a gingko nut joint back along main Yaowarat Road. You could go with them iced in coconut milk, or drenched in longan syrup. Both are delicious, refreshing and available from quite a few vendors, with Sweet Time being one of the most popular and easily accessible for non-Thai speakers.

What to do in Chinatown Bangkok

The sights, sounds and smells of Chinatown are an assault to the senses so visitors should be prepared, but for anyone with a sense of adventure a day lost among the many market alleys and street food vendors can be the most memorable of any spent in Bangkok. Due to the mix of Chinese and Thai cultures this area is unique and fascinating, especially for photographers who will find stunning temples, exotic street food and everyday street scenes just begging to be captured on film. It can be daunting to enter Chinatown without a plan so check out our Top 10 Attractions in Chinatown so you can make the most of your day. Just be sure to wear your comfiest shoes and be prepared for the heat! 

“Chinatown” such a common word you can hear anywhere in the world. And yes Bangkok Chinatown is also a common word travelers who come to Bangkok, Thailand have it cross their minds whether a one day trip or a month long trip. Although you can probably find Chinatown in every major city in the world, each Chinatown offers different experiences. What about Bangkok Chinatown?

Thailand’s Biggest Gold Market

When Thais hear the word Chinatown, aka Yaowarat, one of the first few things come to their minds is gold. This gold market has been here at Yaowarat more than 60 years. And it’s considered as the most trusted gold market not only in Bangkok but Thailand.

The Most Authentic Chinese Food in Bangkok

If you search “Bangkok Chinatown Food,” chances are tons of Thai and foreign blogs have food reviews here in Chinatown. The local and foreign foodies are coming to Chinatown after the sunset when more than a hundred restaurants and food stall are lined up along Yaowarat road. Just so you know, make sure you are hungry enough before hit Bangkok Chinatown!

Everything You Want To Buy

Everything, Literally everything. Beside tons of foods, there is one of the biggest markets in Thailand that you can find pretty much everything from cloths, wigs, stationaries, even fresh fruits in the small lane but packed by hundreds of stores called Sampeng which is located in Soi Wanit 1 right by Yaowarat Road (in case you don’t know Thai language, Soi means alley.) That being said when you combine Yaowarat road and Sampeng, you got everything.

The Original/Famous Chinese-Thai Temples

After filling stomach up with delicious Chinese food, it’s time to fill up your heart with the Chinese-Thai culture. Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (aka Wat Leng Noei Yi) is the center of Chinese-Thai Population which is a very big population in Thailand especially in Bangkok. If you have a chance to come to the temple in Chinese new year time, it’s the best time you could experience the power Chinese-Thai belief you could ever have in Thailand. Though the temple will be packed by visitors, but somehow you heart will be filled.   There are also more temples to explore Chinese-Thai culture and how it’s all begun. Wat Trimit for example, will tell you everything about Bangkok Chinatown history that you will be amazed!

It’s time to explore travel lovers! What about blending with Thais and getting there by Bangkok Buses? Anyways, no matter how, you will have a great time!

Chinatown Sights

Although there are many things to see in Chinatown, one of the biggest sights is the experience of the place as a whole. The best way to see the area is to pick a starting point and wander around.

Wat Traimit
This small and rather uninteresting temple is home to the world's largest solid gold Buddha image, the five-ton-plus image sits in a small wiharn within the temple.

Tien Fa Charity
Just a short distance up Yaowarat Road from Odeon Circle is the small clinic run by th Tien Fa Charitable Foundation. In the courtyard of the old building is a large chapel to the goddess Ming.

Historic Buildings
Chinatown is home to many examples of the architecture of Bangkok's early years. About 14% of the buildings in the district have been designated as historical landmarks. Most of them are off on side streets. One of the most well known is the is the Tang To Gung gold shop on Sampaeng Lane around Mangkon Road.

Sampaeng Lane
Chinatown's original main street is a small narrow alley which runs from the Phahurat Market all the way down to Songsawat Road. The lane is too small for cars, and is now a crowded market selling mostly inexpensive household items. Near the Tang To Gung gold shop is a very old Chinese pharmacy that is definitely worth a look.

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat
At the heart of Bangkok's Chinatown is the Chinese-Buddhist temple of Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, known in Chinese as Wat Leng Nui Yee. The temple is the center of festivities during important festivals such as Chinese new years and the vegetarian festival.

Wat Kanikaphon
This small temple in Bangkok's Chinatown has some interesting details, but its main claim to fame is the fact it was founded by a former madame who owned a brothel.

Li Thi Miew Temple
This Chinese temple is one of the more open and accessible of the many Chinese temples in Bangkok's Chinatown.

Wat Chakrawat
This large monastery, one of the three biggest in Bangkok, houses some very unusual buildings as well as a few crocodiles!

Phahurat Market
The market is home to a huge number of fabric and wedding stalls. Its really the center of a small community of Sikhs and other immigrants from the sub continent.

The Old Siam
If the array of sights and smells is a bit too overwhelming for you, head over to the Old Siam shopping center, where you will find more tourist-friendly western and Thai restaurants and fast food outlets.

Chinatown can make for an interesting 'alternative' area to base yourself for a visit to Bangkok. It is rather central to many of the sights of the city.

Chinatown Bangkok shopping

In Chinatown’s maze of alleyways, overloaded Vespas and tuk tuks vie for space with street food vendors, shoppers from around the world and old school human-powered pushcarts. Shopping here is a grittier and more crowded experience than, for example, Terminal 21, Asiatique or even Chatuchak, but there’s nothing like getting lost in Chinatown‘s colourful markets.

A good place to start is Song Wat Road, which runs along the river parallel to Yaowarat Road and Soi Wanit 1 just around the corner. Unless you’re looking for an old motorbike engine or 50 metres of fishing net, you probably won’t buy much here, but soaking up the busy atmosphere surrounded by striking old shophouses makes it worth a stroll. Shop after shop specialise in some tried and true product, and many have supported families for generations.

If heading northwest on Soi Wanit 1, a series of narrow alleyways will soon envelop you. Entire stretches are dedicated to cheap shoes and hats while intersections clog up with street food vendors. Though probably unnerving for the claustrophobic, this maze of “shopping alleys” that stretches for blocks between Yaowarat Road and Song Wat Road is a feast for the senses.

Try on cheap clothes and gold necklaces, play with Chinese-made toys and knick-knacks, or arrange wholesale shipments of generic umbrellas or fake Nikes. Be prepared to bargain hard and watch out for all the pushcarts and Vespas fulfilling their unending missions of keeping those shelves stocked.

At some point you won’t even notice the transition into the roofed Samphaeng market, which boasts a dizzying array of cheap wears, Hello Kitty backpacks, teddy-bear hats and slippers, watermelon-pattern reusable bags and enough fabric to make yourself a new wardrobe.

The markets and alleyways really do blend together and it wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t get lost once or twice. Should that be the case, there’s little doubt that eventually you’ll re-emerge onto Chinatown’s backbone: Yaowarat Road. Although perhaps best known for its incredible street food, Yaowarat is also a good place to shop for Chinese tea and herbs, gold, gems and unique souvenirs.

By the time you make it to Yaowarat, we guess you’ll be lugging a few puffy bags of cheap stuff through the packed late afternoon footpaths. After a bite to eat, Yaowarat is the place to catch a taxi. Or you can head for the river and catch the express boat at Ratchawong pier; just don’t get lost in those alleys again. Chinatown gets packed on weekend afternoons so it’s best to come on a weekday.

How to get there

Chinatown can be accessed from Ratchawong Express Boat pier or Hualamphong MRT station, with the former placing you closer to the action.

Top 10 Shopping in Chinatown 

Shopping in Chinatown has a timeless quality to it and offers the perfect antidote to the modern mega-malls that are springing up in other areas of Bangkok. Here, tradition prevails and it possible to get lost down alleyways with traders selling the same specialist merchandise as their forefathers did generations ago. Prices are probably the cheapest you can find in the city, but bargaining is necessary and it can certainly get too hot and hectic for some, so we recommend taking it slow, stopping frequently to snack and drink, and enjoying the craziness of shopping in Chinatown with our Top 10 Guide. 

Sampeng Lane 

Sampeng Lane is a long narrow street intersecting Chinatown selling a jumble of goods. Much like the rest of the area, Sampeng Lane is cluttered, chaotic and a lot of fun. The dimensions of this street are so limited, in certain parts, you could stretch out across the alley and grab a pair of flip-flops in one hand and a Christmas tree in the other, yet unbelievably this was the original high street of Chinatown when the Chinese community first moved here. You can find everything and anything on Sampeng Lane, although locating it might be a problem. 

Opening Hours: 09:00 - 18:00 (every day) 
Location: Chakraphek Road and Sampleng Lane, Chinatown H
ow to get there: Running parallel south of Yaowarat (the main street) walk south along Sampeng Lane.

Old Siam Plaza 

Old Siam Plaza is a shopping arcade in a lovingly restored European-style building. Sitting on the western edge of Chinatown shoppers will find an eclectic mix of shops and food stalls here. The two domed atriums are split between fashion items on one side and traditional Thai snacks on the other. Upstairs there are several speciality wedding tailors and accessory boutiques while on the outside of the shopping centre there are several weapons and ammunitions shops selling guns, knives and hunting gear – you must have a license to buy weapons. Nevertheless, this is an excellent (and air conditioned) shopping experience. 

Opening Hours: 09:00 to 18:30 
Address: on the corner of Charoen Krung Road and Triphet Street.

Itsaraphap Lane

Itsaraphap Lane is a narrow, partially covered walking street which runs from the Chao Phraya River up to Leng Noi Yee Temple, the most important Chinese temple in Thailand. Along this street you will get a fascinating glimpse into everyday trading of all manner of dry goods: nuts, herbs, spices... and many more things you can only guess about! The most hectic stretch of Itsaraphap Lane is between Yaowarat and Leng Noi Yee Temple and is highly recommended. The cardboard cars, phones, and clothes are made especially for funerals so that family members might have them in the next life. For a great souvenir, we recommend buying some tea from around here. 

Opening Hours: 09:00 - 18:00 (every day) 
How to get there: The easiest way to find Itsaraphap Lane is to look for the large Tesco Lotus Supermarket on Yaowarat. The lane runs next to it up to Leng Noi Yee Temple.

Thieves' Market 

It’s not the most welcoming name for a market – perhaps why they changed the official name to Nakon Kasem – but seriously intriguing, Thieves Market doesn’t actually sell stolen goods anymore, instead it is full of second-hand curios like antique cameras, Buddhist amulets, and even old shoes! It’s far more interesting for photographers than for shoppers, but you really never know what you might find. Thieves Market is between Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road on the western edge of Chinatown.

Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00 
Location: Thieves Market, between Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road

Flashlight Market (Khlong Thom) 

Best known for secondhand goods and assorted knick-knacks, Klong Thom Market sees action every Saturday from 17:00 onwards, and continues going until Sunday's early evening. Formerly known as 'Flashlight Market' due to the fact that buyers will need a flashlight to see the goods, this market is especially crowded on late Saturday night. Covering areas of Luang, Worachak and Charoenkrung, Suar Pa Roads, Klong Thom has everything from car spare parts, DVDs and CDs, electronic devices to clothing items and toys. Besides the roadside stalls, there's also a three-storey Klong Thom Centre (close to Worachak Road) where car accessories and toys are on sale. If you want to avoid the crowd, best time to go is Sunday morning from 8:00 until 11.00. 

Opening Hours: Saturday 17:00 until Sunday 17:00 (a few traders open every day) 
Location: corner of Worachak Road and Chao Kamrop Road

Pahurat (little India) 

Also known as Little India, this market is frequented by few tourists but is nonetheless bustling with locals. Once crossing Chakraphek Road you will enter Pahurat. Within these first few blocks lay Pahurat's textile-selling action, so choose one of the many small alleyways and dive into the heart of it all. The labyrinth of narrow lanes gives way to plentiful rolls of textiles such as silk, cotton, wool and cashmere in all kinds of colours, each to be brought at a good rate.

Opening Hours: 09:00 - 18:00 (every day) 
Location: Running parallel south of Yaowarat (the main street) walk south along Sampeng Lane. 
Address: Chakraphek Road and Sampleng Lane, Chinatown

Saphan Lek Market 

It is thought that certain customs duties haven't been paid on most of the items here, and therefore bargain hunters can save up to 40% off department store prices. Bootleg software, pirated videos, unlicensed cassette tapes; these are just some of the things that you can find crammed into the aisles that make up Bangkok's Talat Saphan Lek. Just to the west of Chinatown, The 200-metre-long aisles, which run along both banks of the canal, stretch from Charoen Krung or New Road south to Yaowarat Rd. 

Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00 
Location: Iron Bridge Market. The market itself is built on a large metal bridge over Ohng Ang Canal in the Wang Burapha

Talat Kao 

Talat Kao is a 200 year old market and was the original fresh trading area for the first Chinese settlers to this area. These days everything is still far more modern, with a walking street vibe (although plenty of motorbikes and tuk-tuks will be beeping their way through the foot traffic). At the beginning of the market area there is a congregation of fruit stalls where you can buy seasonal fruits at some of the cheapest prices and deeper into the market you will find an array of dried goods for sale and some hard to find snacks, such as pak mor, a steamed coconut snack. 

Address: Itsaraphap Lane (south of Yaowarat, opposite Tesco Supermarket) 

Balanna Plaza 

Balanna Plaza is neatly tucked down the narrow shopping area of Samepeng Lane and is solely dedicated to shoes. Brands such as Nike, Converse, Vans and Campus can be picked up here for a fraction of the 'normal' price and there is the wholesale option too. Other styles of shoes include ladies' sandals and flip-flops. Bartering is common, especially if you intend to buy several items. Do beware of fakes though. 

Opening Hours: 382-386 Vanish Rd, Sampeng 

Hua Seng Heng 

There is no better place to buy gold in Bangkok other than Yaowarat Road, and one of the best options along this road is Hua Seng Heng. This 50-year-old shop trades in high quality gold ornaments, believed to be 96.5% pure, and has built up a reputation as a trustworthy gold dealer. It is worth noting that there are hundreds of gold shops 

Opening Hours: 09:30-16:00 (closed on Sundays) 
Location: Yaowarat Rd 
Address: 401 – 407 Yaowarat Rd and Pang Name Rd. 
Tel: +66 (0) 225 0202

Chinatown Bangkok night market

In the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown district known as Yaowarat, Sampeng Lane Wholesale Market is a narrow alleyway that runs parallel to Charoenkrung Road.

Most people go here during the day, but for some vendors their main business is in the middle of the night (2am-6am) when the real wholesale buyers come shopping.

Samepeng Market is a popular market in Yaowarat or Bangkok’s Chinatown area. Many shops here sell both retail and wholesale. It means you have to buy at least 3 or 6 items. However, some shops only sell wholesale. At this market, you can expect to see these products

  • Accessories such as earrings, necklace, and rings
  • Cosmetics such as lipsticks, eyeliners, perfumes, and nail polishes
  • Fashion bags such as handbags and backpacks
  • Stationeries or school supplies such as notebooks, calculators pens, and pencils
  • Gift or souvenirs such as doll, designed keychains
  • Fashion shoes

Sampeng Market is sometimes called Sampeng Lane because this market is located in a narrow but very long alley. Some shops are big and have air-conditioning, while others are just small stalls.

This wholesale market, said to be the oldest in the city, packs in the goods with a focus on clothing and household items. But truth be told, you’ll find just about anything you’re looking for here if you hunt hard enough – it’s also a great spot to stock up on cuts of unique fabrics, while this being a Thai market of course means there is plenty of food. As well as dishes to graze on there and then, a considerable portion of the market is given over to stalls selling bags of dried nuts, fruit, fish, squid, sweets and other snacks to take with you. Sampeng Lane market also runs in the daytime (until about 6pm) on Soi Wanit 1 in Yaowarat.

Location & How to get there:  Sampeng lane is located at Soi Wanit 1 which runs parallel to Yaowarat Road. The market does not connect with BTS Skytrain nor MRT Subway. There are many buses passing the market, but I do not recommend tourists to take a bus because you might get lost. The easiest way is to take Chao Phraya Express Boat and get off at Rajchawongse Pier. Then, from the pier, walk straight around 300 meters; you will see the market.

Opening Hours:

Early morning: around 2.00-7.00, Monday nights to Saturday nights (closed on Sunday night to Monday morning)
In the afternoon: everyday from 8.00-17.00

*** Early morning, the shops mainly wholesale their products and you will get cheaper prices. ***

*** During the festivals such as Chinese New Year, and Songkran (Thai New Year), many shops or stalls might close, but there would be irregular sellers take that space and sell their products. ***

Top 5 Night Spots in Chinatown 

Chinatown at night is well known throughout the entire country for one thing: food! The endless treats on offer here are certainly the main draw and an evening of food exploration down Yaowarat is a highlight to any stay in Chinatown. Talat Kao fresh market also comes alive at night with all manner of curious and exotic food, while the legendary fresh flower market is also close by and definitely worth exploring. But there are a few other interesting ways to spend your evening here, such as getting up high for dinner and a few drinks at a little known revolving rooftop bar, or even dancing the night away to some swing jazz in a recreated 1930s Chinese mansion. Find out all the information you need to enjoy your nights in Chinatown with our Top 5 Night Spots: 

Yaowarat Food Exploration

At night, Yaowarat Road – the high street of Bangkok’s Chinatown – transforms into one of the greatest street food locations in the world. Locals and visitors can be seen all along the main thoroughfare sampling their way through all that there is to offer, turning dinner into an evening of exploration. It can be confusing at first but with a sense of adventure it can be a lot of fun. Popular offerings include dim sum, oyster omelets, flat noodles in a pepper broth, and lots of fresh seafood. There are also many exotic fruits on offer, as well as homemade ice-cream (we love coconut, but for something truly Thai go for durian). Traffic is very bad in this area so we recommend taking the MRT Underground to Hua Lamphong Station, and then either a 15 minute walk or a short tuk-tuk ride. 

China Princess Hotel Rooftop Bar 

For less than 100 baht, the cost of a drink including a draft beer at 75 baht only, get a surprising panoramic view of Chinatown and beyond, all the way to the Chao Phraya river at Sky View 360˙Restaurant Rooftop Bar and Restaurant. It is located on the revolving top floor of the China Princess Hotel and it takes about two hours to complete a full round; you barely notice any movement. The restaurant serves also Thai, European, Japanese and Chinese with old fashioned waiters and waitresses with live piano background music. This viewpoint is not very well known and is a great place to take an air conditioned break any time between 17:00 and 01:00 after a tiring exploration of busy Chinatown. 

Opening Hours: 17:00 to 01:00 
Location: Charoen Krung Road next to Old Siam Plaza 

Bangkok Flower Market (Pak Klong Market) 

Bangkok Flower Market (Pak Klong Talad) is the biggest wholesale and retail fresh flower market in Bangkok. The market has all kinds of popular flowers and flora-related items, including roses, forget me nots, orchids, lilies and more. Bangkok Flower market is located on Chak Phet Road near Saphan Phut or the Memorial Bridge. Open 24 hours, Pak Klong Talad is most lively after midnight. If you want to see the market in full action, though, the best time to go is pre-dawn or at 3:00-4:00. This is when the roadside transforms into a kaleidoscope of bright, blooming colours, as vendors receive floral goods from each flower-growing area in the country. Wholesalers bring in truckloads of freshly cut flowers, while traders and retailers come to buy their stock in bulk. It can be quite a chaotic scene, and vendors may be less patient when dealing with visitors. If you go during this period, it’s best to just observe and absorb the surrounding atmosphere.

Opening Hours: 24 hours, more popular during night time 
Location: Chak Phet Road, the Memorial Bridge or Saphan Phut Chao Phraya pier 

Cotton Jazz Bar 

Cotton Jazz Bar in Shanghai Mansion boutique hotel is one of Bangkok’s premier live music venues and certainly the best place in Chinatown to sit back with a cocktail and listen to some quality musicians do their thing. The design concept of this bar is stunning, full of genuine Chinese antiques and amazing portrait paintings. The idea with Cotton, and indeed the whole hotel, is to bring the opulence and grace of a 1930s Shanghainese merchant’s house into 21st century Bangkok, and it is expertly executed. Come to Cotton for dinner and sample some Chinese and Thai specialities, then move onto a few cocktails in time for the band that plays anything from avant garde jazz to swing. 

Opening Hours: 18:30 - 22:30 (live music from 21:00) 
Address: 479-481 Yaowarat Road, Chinatown 
Tel: +66 (0) 2221 2121

Talat Kao 

Talat Kao is one of the oldest markets in Bangkok and has acted as the central market and trading place in Chinatown for over a century. Famous for its Chinese delicacies including sharks fins, dried abalone, fried puffed up fish stomachs (fish maw) and steamed bird’s nests, this is not a place for the faint hearted. Come at night for an insightful opportunity into the culinary culture of the Chinese, and for those who prefer more simplicity in a meal, dumplings, noodles and freshly squeezed orange juice are all readily available. 

Opening Hours: 20:00- late 
Location: Middle of Yaowarat 
Address: Soi Ta Lat Kao

Reviews by visitors

This place is as busy as it gets. I recommend you come at night when its a bit cooler. The food is fantastic and plenty of restaurants open up on the street at night only. You will eat some of the best Thai and or Chinese food you can get anywhere in Bangkok and the prices are very good. I have visited Chinatown numerous times when I travel to Bangkok

~matt

The King died right before our visit. Mourners from all over Thailand came to pay their respects. We saw them in the area of the temples but did not realize that they had gathered in Chinatown on the Sun. night we visited! We could not get a taxi or Tuk-. to carry us to the center but we found an alley marked "Walking Road". The walk there was very dangerous since scooters think walking includes them riding on the walkway! It was very overwhelming but very moving to see the thousands of people lining the streets waiting to be fed for free to honor their King! I do not know if this is still an issue or not.

~david

Good place to get a lot of different things only bad thing is if you want to buy anything just make sure if you would want 6 or more of the same item cause they only sell in bulk. If you interested in buy small things to take home Chatuchak market is the better option

~jean

I feel that Chinatown should be visited both in the evenings and during the day as the experience is very different. At night the food stalls light up and this combined with all the city lights is just amazing. Had the most delicious coconut ice cream here.
During the day you can experience all the little shops selling their goods to traders. Shop owners are not too keen to sell to tourists due to the volumes that they can sell and you are unlikely to get the goods at the prices advertised but you can still try to negotiate!

~andrew

What an eclectic experience! The shopping stands and above all the food vendors on the street and restaurants. The improvised terraces and "kitchens" are simply amazing. The choice of food is awesome however a lot is BBQ'd. The fragrances do get you as well as the atmosphere. Enjoy! !!

~anna

As China town is not far from Sukhumvit, I went there few times to buy things I needed. Every time I explored, I found something new. It makes you feel why not visit very often. So, end up visiting four days in my 14 days trip to Thailand
I highly recommend to visit during weekdays as there are less crowd and you can spend ample time on what you are looking for. 
Weekends....... don't even think about it. You will have to walk with million people pushing each other and listening people breathing in a small lane. And, the most crazy part is you will see people riding motor bike in that crowd...... 
However, It is worth visiting ... enjoyed every single visit in Chinatown.

~sarah

This place is very different from the usual night markets/malls. 

As it is Chinatown, many stuff found here are very unique to the Chinese culture. It's an extremely busy place, crowded, noisy, lively & colorful. Soak in the atmosphere & be adventurous to try various products/street food that are only found here. 

Definitely worth a visit here when in Bangkok.

~kate

This area of town is nutso. We visited in Dec 2016 again because the shopping is fun and random. We stayed here for four days in Feb 2016 during Chinese New Year and it was literally shoulder to shoulder traffic the entire main drag of Yaowarat. If you find yourself choking from the thick car pollution or overwhelmed with the number of people, pop on over to the nearest street just north, Charoen Krung; it runs parallel for quite a ways so it will be hard to get lost. If you enjoy the madness, head south on Ratchawong Rd and you will quickly find the little mazes of shops and random-stuff-vendors. If you're into checking out the temples, take a quick gander on Google Maps, the wats in the neighborhood are easy to find.

~sharon

Having been to a few Chinatowns across the globe this year, Bangkok is up there as one of the best. Given the heavy traffic we decided to travel by tuk-tuk (yes my wife and I were aware of higher 'foreign prices' however we were in the heart of Yaowarat Road in no time) both for speed and novelty. Now.. the food offerings are immense in Chinatown and can be overwhelming but keep calm and keep a keen eye out for crowds and busy vendors. We paid a visit to what I refer to as a chop house and were treated to duck/pork and flavoured rice (tender meats and delicious overall). BBQ squid followed bought from a street vendor and desert wrapped up with pancakes, Nutella and banana (very European I know) from a small stall with seating. There is plenty to eat and I wish we had at least another visit. Good value and delicious options make Chinatown well worth a visit.

~ryan

Worth allocating an evening slot of a couple of hours to walk around the hectic, crowded, noisy Chinatown district. Lots of food stalls selling a wide range of street food, many restaurants, all with a Chinese theme. It is one of those places that warrants your attention if exploring Bangkok. Eat at a stall, take in the lights, sounds, smells. We walked around with children and it felt relatively safe, and we all enjoyed multiple street food snacks!

~mark

This is one place where you get a feel of china and its street shops. One best place for wholesale shopping especially for girls.Everything is available at a reasonable price.Again another best place to shop in bulk after Chatuchak Weekend market.Dont miss on this market....!!!!

~papai

Had a great time in the week we visited Bangkok visiting Chinatown. First day we were in town we took a tour that we visited Chinatown late one afternoon. As always the street culture, especially the food was entertaining and spectacular. Nice shopping and walk the backstreets as you will find every kind of merchant possible. This is real.

~dyson

Narrow streets filled with vendors selling everything from food to underware to souvenirs. For a fun experiencxe, take a tuk-tuk ride through Chinatown; stop and walk around; enjoy some street food. There are shops everywhere that only sell gold jewelry - tons of gold jewelry.

~michelle

Got there with Uber, walk couple a times up and down, nice chines experience. But for me and my wife it was a little bit strange due to all that animal food. But to check it out it was worth it. Recommend for quick check, probably if you are meat eater might be much, much more fun and useful.

~mitja

Frenetic market areas concentrated around a network of roads, alleys and small streets.A Bangkok as more and more disappear. Yaowarat is famous for its very popular food stalls balanced on the most impractical pavements, not to mention the dubious sanitary conditions.But sharpen your culinary instincts, you eat well here.But as in all big cities, here you will find exciting new entrepreneurs

~jennifer

Perhaps the place is too commercialised. Nothing amazing about the Chinatown in Bangkok. Massage, Chinese snacks, Street food culture. Nothing that really differs from normal markets in Thailand. Very similar unless you are looking for Chinese restaurants selling dim sum

~chan

This places doesn't seem to close. We got back to our hotel late around 10 at night, went right outside to the middle of China toe. We stayed in a little hotel Shanghai Hotel, right in China town. Good food on the street and we then got a fish foot nibble for clean feet and then on to a message all for 300 . Cheap and fun.

~linda

Chinatown is really like a crazy out of control car boot sale that have been going on so long they had to get shopfronts. It offers a wealth of experience from the absolutely delightful to ones bordering on horrifying... this is Asia in all its unpretentious and sometimes shocking glory.... Wonderful in every way imaginable... !

~kim

Very busy and crowded, with lots to see and do. Try one of the many food vendors or sit down restaurants for some unique foods. Lots or noise and people with interesting items to buy. At no time did we feel uneasy. The people we met were gracious and friendly. I would not hesitate to visit again.

~greg

Plenty hollywood films try to recreate the perfect Chinatown, bet you any dollar you will see glimpses of BKK Chinatown. Bright neon lights, traffic fumes through the headlights, street food being served and eaten, live music being played in the lobby of the Chinatown hotel.... Feel the energy, pop down there one evening! You will have fun!

~craig

3 stars from the tourist point of view. This is more of a real working china town, oriented toward locals, not tourist from out of town. There are no tourist shops, but rather authentic Chinese shops. If you know what your looking for, this is the place to be, but not exactly a good place for tourist shopping unless your in the market for gold.

~maria

This is my first visit to Chinatown via public transport with my teenage girl . It was a very safe and pleasant trip.

In the past, we would catch a cab (taxi) with my spouse. For this trip, we travelled without my spouse, hence, we avoided cab as the cab drivers usually hike the fares very high.

From Siam BTS, take the Silom Line (Dark Green Line) to Saphan Taksin (S6). The ticket machines accept notes and coins in Siam BTS.

Once you arrive at S6 Saphan Taksin, take Exit 2. Go down the stairs and follow the narrow path which leads you to the Santhorn Central Pier.

There are a few types of river taxi : 
1) tourists : frequency is 20-30mins and costs 40baht
2) locals : frequency 15mins and costs 14 baht

For families travelling with children and the elderly,the tourist river taxi would be a safe option.

For those who opt for the local river taxi, you need to bear in mind it is very crowded, the alighting time is very short and you may miss your stop while you are trying to make your way out from the boat.

The alighting station is Ratchawongse (Pier No. 5). Once you get out of the pier, walk straight down the road for two minutes, you will reach Chinatown. 

Remember to wear your sunblock and hat.

~taitai

Chinatown is a fun place to visit, wear comfortable walking shoes, merchants are nice and anxious for customers, prices are always negotiable, many great restaurants and for Chinese cuisine, dim sum for lunch, desserts and bakeries, fun place to Viets for a few hours, safe and convenient.

~lee

It was a nice experience, but to be honest, it was not one of the best chinatowns we have been too. The main road, Yaowarat road, is very noisy and with too much traffic. The small market roads are very narrow and crowded, and the stuff they sell is not very interesting. We were quite happy to get out of there.

~tore

A long stretch of road with a large number of side streets. You can spend a week along this road which is lined with shops and restaurants. A great place to come and enjoy both restaurant and street-foods. A good time would be in the evenings, as it is cooler and more food stalls come out at night. There are sometimes special events on which would create more hustle and bustle to the already busy road.

~sarakit

Get lost in the maze of streets and alleys full of shops and stands selling pretty much anything you would like. We wondered around for a few hours tasting various street food along the way. It is a nice visit, but not necessarily a must see if you are right on time. You can get here easily with the boat or take a tuk tuk.

~neslson