Chinatown aka. Yaowarat (Thai: เยาวราช)
Bangkok’s Chinatown, locally known as “Yaowarat“, has all the characteristics a real chinatown ought to have. Here are Chinese restaurants, Chinese temples, heaps of stores selling gold, amulets, and traditional Chinese medicine, and entire streets dedicated to selling either car parts, tupperware, or fabrics.
At night, the Chinese signs on buildings and red lamps light up Chinatown into a magical inferno of colours, and the street-side restaurants appear along with the constant chatter. The most common language spoken here is Chinese, and if you were dumped down in the middle of Yaowarat, you would probably think you were in China.
Credit: Globe-trotter, based work from OpenStreetMap.org contributors
Things to do in Bangkok’s Chinatown
Chinatown or Yaowarat is the kind of area, where you will get an adventure just by walking around. Don’t hesitate to enter the small side streets (soi‘s) to get close to local life and pop into the small Chinese shops selling traditional Chinese medicine. In front of many of the shops, you will find incense burning at small shrines, honouring family members in the afterlife. There are a number of markets in the area and practically every street is full of small market stalls selling all you can imagine.
At night, many sections of Yaowarat turn into street restaurants. It is a great experience to soak in the atmosphere, the smells, and sounds of Chinatown, while sampling dishes of Chinese food. If you want a view from above, try the revolving restaurant on top of Grand China Hotel. Chinatown is not known for its nightlife, but there are some nice river side cafes, where you can enjoy the tranquil view of boats passing.
Recommended Hotels in Yaowarat
Bangkok’s Chinatown has a fair selection of hotels. There are not many high-end options, but quite a number of charming hostels and mid-range hotels. Chinatown is not as touristy as one might expect, but there is certainly a lot of activity going on here.
Just A Bed
This hostel is located in the heart of Chinatown in an old Victorian building. You can get both a dorm bed or a private double room with your own bathroom. The hostel has a library, a cafe, a washing machine for guests, and good chill-out spaces. Interestingly, Cacha Bed is also an exhibition space for local artists.
Why Cacha Bed?
- Bigger dorm beds than usual
- Good chill-out areas incl. a roof-top terrace
- You get an art gallery on top
- Price $$$
This boutique hotel will get you right into China mode. The walls are decorated with classic Chinese art pieces and the wall papers will make you feel like you are in an old Chinese movie. After experiencing the delights of Chinatown, the hotel has a soothing spa for you.
Why Shanghai Mansion?
- Chinese charm at its best
- Free shuttle to near-by attractions
- Price $$$
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