Buddha: " Whenever you see things, just see. Whenever you listen, just listen. Whenever you know, just know."
Chinatown District of Bangkok, Thailand.
To get a view of typical Chinatown scenes go and visit Bangkok's Chinatown, like we did in October 2007, which you will find between Ratchawong Road and the intersection of Yaowarat Road (slowly growing out to the parallel Chaeron Krung - New Road).
By Chao Phraha Riverboat Service Pier N 5 (Tha Ratchawongse) pier is closest - 5 minute walk;
By Subway, Hualamphong underground (MRTA) station is the nearest (close to the Main Hualamphong Railway Terminus) - 10 minute walk;
By Sky Train, change at Sala Daeng (BTS) then by Subway from Silom (MRTA) or go to Saphan Taksin, Bridge (BTS Station.) for Central Pier and catch the The tourist trip boat on the Chao Phraya River;
By Taxi - No walk!
Visit Bangkok's Chinatown by taxi early in the morning and you will see the vegetable sellers and foraging locals busily filling their bags whilst the occasional saffron robed monks move around blessing the shrines here and there, collecting their 'daily bread' (actually rice and other veggies) along the way. The scene changes as the day progresses and things get decidedly busier, more stall holders and shops open up, reaching the height of commercial trade around three in the afternoon. Shops start closing around five and more food stalls appear to go into the evening and night, when the area becomes ablaze with neon. The air then fills with the smell of cooking and the sound of the city. Virtually any time of the day or night in Chinatown, Bangkok there is action!
Chinatown is one of the busiest parts of Bangkok, settled by disestablished Chinese over 200 years ago when the capital moved from Ayutthaya in the centre of the nearby flood plains of the Chao Phraya River on land granted by royal decree. The Chinese have made sure it is quite different to the rest of inner-city Bangkok. The narrow Soi Wanit 1, AKA Sampeng Lane, runs right through Chinatown and is crowded with street side stalls and shaded shop fronts, many jam packed with fabric, gold and spices and a key thoroughfare, although only passable by pedestrians in single file in places when congestion at its densest! If you leave the Sampeng Lane, keep a note of your bearings, it is easy to get disorientated with all of what is going on.
You can spend a whole day here in Bangkok's Chinatown and not get bored, take your time, walk, sit and drink, walk a bit more, sit and eat (you can get a portion of noodles for 20Bht). With all this walking make sure you have sensible footwear, the pavement is not always in good repair, try not to get in the way of the locals going about their daily business and keep your possessions safe but you will never feel threatened.
If you plan on stopping in Chinatown, you will find some reasonable priced accommodation here. The Chinese Thais are generally friendly and helpful.
Items annotated (TAT)
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