Visitors to Bangkok can penetrate to the real experience of local shopping, but you will want to bring comfortable shoes to walk in, a bottle of water and positive attitude that is ready for anything! Far away from the flashy airconditioned glitz of the high-end megamalls, you can head deep into the mysterious inner city until you reach a hub of excitement and adventure, Chinatown Bangkok, also known as Yaowarat.
Settled for generations by Chinese immigrants, Chinatown Bangkok has blended in its own particular way with the urban Bangkok Thai style, and yet still forms a recognizable world of its own throughout the many decades.
Just west of the Hualumphong train station (or MRT station), you can take a saunter that will soon have you in this world, which is fantastically busy night and day, with street-side the absolutely famous food vendors and restaurants, hawkers and shops of every kind, as well as large gold shops whose beautiful jewelry hangs on display against bright red backgrounds, another feast for the eyes.
To visit Chinatown Bangkok, many also advise starting instead from Song Wat Road. Here you’ll find numbers of more industrial and workman’s shops, rather than the souvenirs that probably interest you, but the fascinating old shophouses in which it all takes place is an interesting sight. This road runs parallel to the river as well as to Yaowarat Road and Soi Wanit 1, so in this way you could wind your way in and around Chinatown Bangkok, before you strike for the center of the maze, getting lost in an incredible array of street activity and shopping. Every shop focuses on the product or business that has likely supported the family for generations.
The energy of it all will enthrall you, and Chinatown Bangkok is an important spot for both international tourists and locals, not least of all for the couisine, which some say is the most exciting and delicious to be found. If you have any chance to visit during major festivals like Chinese New Year, take it. Chinatown Bangkok, Yaowarat, becomes an incredible theater of its own.