Best things to do in Chinatown

  • Posted onJune 20th, 2014

Chinatown BangkokKnown for its manic street scenes, tight alleyways, and chaotic shop signs, Bangkok’s Chinatown isn’t just about yummy restaurants and gold shops.  

This is an area rich with such an exotic mix of Thai and Chinese culture, perhaps the most unique and fascinating neighborhood of all Bangkok. Simply walking around Chinatown, soaking up the sights, sounds, and generally crazy atmosphere can be a day out itself, but there are several attractions here you won’t want to miss.

Thieves MArketThe Thieves Market

It’s actually seen its name recently changed to Nakon Kasem, but trith is, most Bangkokains still refer to it as the Thieves Market, which is a far more interesting name. Thieves Market got its name for being just that, a place where people would come to buy and sell stolen goods, though today it’s far more legal.

At the Thieves Market you’ll find a lot of second-hand goods and antiques, everything from Buddhist amulets and religious images to vintage clothes, old electronics, watches, shoes, even TV remotes, and just about everything else you can think of – all there to be bartered for, of course. You don’t need to be on the look-out for a bargain to head here, its fun enough just browsing, taking a few cool snaps, and generally soaking up the atmosphere.

Sampeng Lane BangkokSampang Lane

Similarly to the Thieves Market, Sampeng Lane is another bustling area of market stalls and shop-houses, made all the more fascinating by the narrow lanes and huge amount of stalls. It’s literally cram packed with all kinds of goods,, sellers, and shoppers, with little room for anything else.

Here you’ll also find a lot of strange items and bric-a-brac and jumble, but again, it’s not just about shopping. As with the Thieves Market the chaotic street scenes and stream of photo opportunities can be entertaining enough.

Wat TraimitWat Traimit

Finally, something other than shopping, I hear you say! As with every neighborhood of Bangkok, Chinatown has its temple attraction, though here you won’t just find any old temple;Wat Traimit is home to the largest golden Buddha in the world.

This huge icon, seated at an altar in a typically epic temple building, is something of a point of pilgrimage for many devout Buddhist, and a focus of fascination for many tourists. There isn’t a great deal to do here other than marvel over the large Buddha and temple buildings, but it’s worth doing if you’re in the area, and no doubt be a welcome change of pace from the chaos elsewhere in Chinatown.

Grand China Princess BarGrand China Princess Rooftop Bar

Though Chinatown is not known for its nightlife, the rooftop bar at the Grand Princess Hotel is one late evening attraction worth checking out. Not only does it offer some stunning and unique views of the surrounding area, but it does so in style.

The bar and restaurant slowly revolve (it takes around 2 hours for a full rotation, meaning you can enjoy a constantly changing view of the city and Chao Phraya River, while enjoying an excellent menu of Thai, European, Japanese and Chinese cuisine. It’s also pretty stylish, with servers wearing authentic, traditional uniforms, to a backdrop of live piano music. It’s also air conditioned, which can be a lifesaver after a day out on the streets below

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