Certainly one of Bangkok's most vibrant neighborhoods, Chinatown throbs and bustles, and is one of the city's best locations for walking, due to its narrow lanes, lack of traffic, and charming old shophouses and active street side community. From temples to shopping arcades to the staggering array of good food, Chinatown should be a must on everyone's Bangkok itinerary.
See & Do
Chinatown's temples and shrines are always busy, but best during festival times, when they are jammed with worshippers making merit. Chinese New Year is one of the best times, as is the Vegetarian Festival. The top draws in the neighborhood are beautiful Wat Traimit as well as Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, the former being better at any time (and worth seeing its gold Buddha), the latter for festivals. Certainly a must for any visit to Bangkok.
Some outstanding Chinese food is one of the primary reasons to visit Chinatown, whether it be for splurges on sharks fin or bird nest soup, abalone, or some of the freshest and largest crab or prawns in the city. Try T and K Seafood for some outstanding fresh dishes at reasonable prices, served on a bustling street corner in the heart of Yaowarat.
If you are lucky enough to be in Chinatown during any festival periods, it is well worth it to check out the traditional Chinese opera performances that take place around the various shrines and temples, where performers spend hours making up and getting into character for the long performances that are extremely local and an excellent insight into traditional Chinese culture in Bangkok
Sampeng Lane, also known as Soi Wanit 1, is a narrow passageway running through the heart of Chinatown, famed for its wholesale prices on garments and fabric, along with fabrics, electronics, and plenty of other goodies. The alley is so narrow that cars cannot fit into it, but it is packed with a mass of humanity, motorbikes, and rickshaw porters delivering goods throughout the day and night.