Yaowarat Road in Samphanthawong district is the main artery of Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Bangkok Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in the world. It is also, quite arguably, one of the best Chinatowns to visit as well. While many countries have Chinatowns, none compare to Bangkok’s
Modern Chinatown now covers a large area around Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road. It has been the main centre for trading by the Chinese community since they moved from their old site some 200 years ago to make way for the construction of Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace. The area is bordered by the Chao Phraya River to the south. Yaowarat Road is well known for its variety of foodstuffs, and at night turns into a large “food street” that draws tourists and locals from all over the city.
Chinatown is one of the oldest areas of Bangkok. It is the result of the resettlement of Chinese on the west bank of Chao Phraya River after King Rama I moved the capital of the kingdom from Thonburi to Rattanakosin.
From there Chinese traders operated maritime junk trade between (Siam) and China throughout the Rattanakosin period. Chinatown does not consist of only Yaowarat Road but also includes others such as Charoen Krung Road, Mangkon Road, Songwat Road, Songsawat Road, Ratchawong Road, and Chakkrawat Road.
Yaowarat’s Sampheng Market is the center of the area. The path of the road is said to resemble a dragon’s curvy body, making it an auspicious location for business. Since it was built to avoid the existing cluster of houses of the people according to the king’s policy.
Yaowarat is a road with a length of about 1.5 km (0.93 mi), 20 m (65 ft) wide and takes 8 years to build (1892–1900). There are many shops selling gold, garments, textiles, stationery, souvenirs, second-hand parts and equipment, electric goods, computer parts, antiques, imported musical instruments, and local delicacies.
Beyond the obvious, Chinatown abounds with hundred of little treasures for the explorer and photographer, places not on tourist lists, narrow alleys that will take you straight back to Bangkok as it probably was 40 or 50 years ago.
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