The China Town is probably the most picturesque of Bangkok’s districts, as well as one which is very popular among the capital’s guests. It is one of the oldest parts of the town, which became city’s first business center.
The Chinese quarter is almost of the same age as Bangkok itself and the first Chinese were invited into the city by Thai government in the late 18th century. They believed that immigrants from the Celestial Empire would help with the development of local economy and trade routes. The Chinese were doing well in the Thai capital, and eventually a string of their compatriots followed. Today, immigrants and those of Chinese heritage make up about 10% of Bangkok’s population.
As with almost everywhere in the world, local China Town has its own life, which in this case is concentrated around the quarter’s main transport artery – the Yaowarat Street. The ceremonial Chinese gates stand at its entrance, while small streets and lanes run from it in different directions. These are studded with miniature houses, antique shops, restaurants, pharmacies with traditional Chinese potions, as well as hundreds of other shops. You can find almost anything there too: textile products, machinery, antiques, musical instruments and clothing. Bangkok’s China Town is particularly famous for its jewelry shops that offer a large selection of gold wares at competitive prices.
In addition to its shops, the China Town features many hotels and cultic buildings. However, the majority of tourists visit it in order to see the Temple of Golden Buddha, which is considered to be the region’s gem. It is famous for its five-meter-high statue of Buddha, which was cast from unbroken gold in the 13th century, and experienced many stunning adventures on the way to its current place.
Moreover, Bangkok’s China Town is an excellent place for tasting authentic Chinese dishes. Local cafes and restaurants offer a huge selection of traditional Chinese dishes: Peking duck, shark fin soup, roasted chestnuts, crocodile meat soup, soup of the swallows' nests, as well as every kind of Chinese seafood snack imaginable.
If you want to see the full beauty of the quarter’s life, it would be prudent to visit it in February, during the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Festive events last for five days, during which the China Town hosts colorful parades, hundreds of kites fly in the sky and explosions of firecrackers and fireworks set the air on fire.
Getting there. Take the metro to the Hua Lamphong station, then walk for 15 minutes or hail a tuk-tuk to reach the China Town. Another option is to get to the Saphan Taksin metro station and then take a water bus to the Tha Ratchawong moorage.