China Town in Bangkok
China Town or the Yaowarat area is still the most important center for the significant number of Thai Chinese in Bangkok. This is the area where most of the oversea merchants from China first settled down in the time of King Rama I, the first king of the current Thai dynasty. The overall atmosphere in China Town has been well preserved and its appearance has not changed significantly in the last fifty years ago. Here you can find various shops, with food, Chinese herbs or medicines, as well as gold products.
Orientation in Yaowarat is even trickier than elsewhere in Bangkok. The area is filled with narrow alleys and obscure pedestrian-only routes, and is crossed by a few giant roads that feel like small highways. Finding your way around isn’t made easy as road signs are blocked by the bulk of neon-signs and other merchandise that sellers hang up to attract customers. The perfect map for the district still has to be created, so adapt to the situation and expect to get lost often. Also take note that alleys often bear the name trok instead of the usual soi, and that many have multiple names attached to them. For example, Trok Issaranuphap is often signposted as Soi Issaranuphap or as Soi 16, while Soi Phadung Dao is also known as Soi Texas.
Yaowarat is centred, as could be expected, around Yaowarat Road, a big road bursting with neon signs. North of it is Charoen Krung Road, which is also one of Bangkok’s major traffic arteries. Running parallel to the south of Yaowarat Road is Sampeng Lane, which is also known as Soi Wanit 1, a narrow pedestrian-only lane with many small department stores. Crossing these three streets is the pedestrian-only Trok Issaranuphap, another interesting lane for shopping and having small snacks. Another small lane crossing Yaowarat Road is Soi Phadung Dao, and that’s the place to go when you’re about to get hungry. Phahurat is centred around Phahurat Road, which starts immediately west of Sampeng Lane. It is crossed by Chakphet Road and Tri Phet Road, both major roads that have to cope with the immense traffic coming from the Memorial Bridge.
China Town is located on the Yaowarat Road, right in the center of Bangkok’s old town. There are many ways to reach China Town. The most convenient is probably by taxi.
China Town or Yaowarat Road is also well known for its sheer variety of food, and at night turns into a large “food street” that draws tourists and locals from all over the city.