With its heady smorgasbord of street food, gold merchants, wooden shophouses, and ancient Chinese temples, there’s never a dull moment in Bangkok’s Chinatown, also known as Yaowarat. Exploring the bustling sois (side streets) of the city’s oldest district is a must on any trip to the Thai capital.
Bangkok Chinatown envelops the streets and alleys branching off Yaowarat Road, its main thoroughfare. Since the area transforms into a food street after dark, many visitors choose to explore it on a walking food tour. Those more interested in the history and heritage of Bangkok’s Chinese immigrants can opt for a daytime biking tour or walking tour to visit the area’s Buddhist temples and neighborhood markets.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bangkok Chinatown is a must-see for foodies and first-time visitors.
- Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to walk; there’s a lot to see in this busy neighborhood.
- Most Chinatown tours include a bit of shopping, eating, and temple visits.
- Walking and biking tours that include Chinatown typically last three to five hours.
How to Get There
The easiest way to reach Chinatown is by boat; alight at Ratchawong Pier and walk up Ratchawong Road until you get to Sampeng Lane or Yaowarat Road. You can also disembark at Harbor Department Pier or Memorial Bridge Pier. Alternatively, take the subway to Hua Lamphong Station on the eastern bank of the Phadung Krung Kasem Canal.
When to Get There
To get the most comprehensive Chinatown experience, plan to visit by day and after dark. Plan to arrive hungry at night, when the street-food stalls are in full swing. The neighborhood is at its most vibrant during major Chinese festivals, especially Chinese New Year (January or February).
Must-Try Foods in Chinatown
Food is one of the major reasons for a visit to Chinatown. Seafood restaurants here serve some of the freshest crabs and prawns in the city, while street-food vendors cook up grilled squid, Thai toast, kway chap (a peppery noodle soup), pad thai, and bird’s nest soup.