Bangkok’s Chinatown is a rare gem. Despite being one of the most famous spots in the city, it managed to avoid being completely commercialized. The place has a unique feel of authenticity. But this does not mean it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of other tourist attractions. In fact, the incredible pace of this place can drive the casual visitor dizzy. There are so many places to visit and so many things to see.
If you’re still at a loss on what to do in Chinatown Bangkok, natives and regulars suggest going through the following attractions first.
- Wat Traimit. Start your day with the magnificence of the largest golden Buddha in the world. Surrounded by traditional arches, the Buddha is a common object of pilgrimage. Wat Traimit can be easily reached from the Hua Lamphong MRT Station. Take in the gentle morning breeze from the top of the temple, and watch as Chinatown approaches its crescendo of activity.
- Sampeng Lane. If you are going out shopping, you can spend the entire morning in this long and narrow street. You can buy everything from bathroom supplies to faux jewelry. It lies south of the main street (Yaowarat), and offers a fun way to shop for whatever you want.
- Wat Mangkon Kamalawat. Suffering from the tropical heat? Take a relaxing afternoon stroll through this Chinese Buddhist temple. It is the larges in Bangkok, and is the epicenter of activity during important celebrations. It contains magnificent Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist shrines.
- Wat Chakrawat. If you want something unusual, how about watching three gigantic crocodiles? A pond behind the Wat Chakrawat temple houses these reptiles. There’s a legend that they were confined there after repeatedly snacking on young monks. Of course that can’t be true… can it?
- Sala Chalermkrung. Built in the early 1930s, this hotel is the perfect place for late-afternoon excursions. It is like a tunnel through time, with the building maintained exactly as it was when it first opened. It is also home to a Thai art and dance troupe called “Khon”. They offer exquisite performances that recount Thailand’s culture and history.
- Grand China Princess. This hotel features a beautiful revolving rooftop bar. Enjoy a dinner with drinks without blasting through the budget. You will also be treated to a view of the Bangkok skyline, all the way to the famous Chao Phraya river. The entire restaurant revolves once every two hours.
- Yaowarat Street. Fancy a good night walk? Help yourself to gastronomic treats while you’re at it. The Yaowarat street food scene is one of the largest in the world. You need a sense of adventure to make sense of its various offerings, which range from homemade ice cream to the traditional dimsum and noodles.
- Shanghai Mansion. This building was once a trading house and then a Chinese opera house. Now a luxury hotel, it hurls you back into the time of velvety grandeur — Shanghai’s 1930s era. Check out this place to complete that Chinatown experience.
There’s more to Chinatown than can be seen in 24 hours, but these are good for starters. It will let you get accustomed to the beauty and pace of the town, gearing you up for more adventures to come.