Chinatown Thailand Style
Combining the population of China and India will result to at least 1/3 of the world’s population. It is no wonder that in every popular tourist destination there exist each country’s version of Chinatown. The same thing can be said of Thailand. According to demographics 14% of Thailand’s populations are considered as ethnic Chinese. Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the places frequented by locals and tourists alike.
The land surrounding Yaowarat Road is owned by prominent Thai-Chinese families. The night food market is considered as a good hunting ground for those who love food and Chinese cuisine. It is a nice place to rest after busily visiting the other tourists’ spots in and around Bangkok. Most visitors prefer going there when the sun goes down and the air is cooler. One of the most favorite tourist hunts is Nay Mong which has been in the food business for the past six decades now.
It is a one kilometer strip of shopping and food haven. Thai Chinatown is located at Yaowarat Road in Samphanthawong District. All activities center on Sam Pheng Market. The best time to see all of the exciting displays and celebration is during the Chinese New Year for obvious reasons. Chinatown has its small streets and alleys teeming with all kinds of goods imaginable. The road that runs through Chinatown is said to closely resemble the curvy shape of a dragon’s body.
The Chinatown gate is located on the eastern end and stretches to the west until it reaches the Rob Krung canal. This dragon is an active beast hive of activities that exhibit plenty of colors and movement. Neon signs with both Thai and Chinese characters are prominently displayed. The roads are jammed with buses, tuk-tuks and the new pink taxis. Older taxis are painted green or yellow. Bangkok’s bigger shopping centers might lure away some of the tourists but still the cheaper and hard to resist Chinatown draws its unexplainable allure for both locals and visitors.
On the north side of the street, stalls sell paper replicas that are burnt as an offering to ancestors in the temples of Bangkok. A gold shop exists in these streets and not just Chinese medicine shops that sell all sorts of strange but fascinating medical remedies. Chinese medicine man mixed all kinds of bits and pieces and crushed this into a powdery form. They will give instructions on how to prepare and take these medications. Just watching them go about with this activity is quite fascinating.
Gold sold here is the cheapest by Thailand’s standards. For those who love to shop for textile, vendors sell them almost everywhere.
Amidst the flurry and busy activities there exist quiet places where tourists can rest awhile and idyllically observe life as it passes by. These are spread throughout the side streets and alleys. Essentially, Thailand’s version of Chinatown is like a big flea market. For those who dare visit Chinatown take the Metro (subway)to the end at Hua Lumpong Station and you can walk the rest of the way. It takes about 10 minutes of walking in order to reach Chinatown.