14 Top Things To Do in Bangkok Chinatown in 2024: Travel Guide

In this guide, we cover everything you need to know before visiting Chinatown in Bangkok, from the top attractions and best activities to the best places to eat, shop, and explore. We also cover how to get there, the best time to visit, and where to stay. 
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About Chinatown in Bangkok

Chinatown in Bangkok, locally known as Yaowarat, is one of the largest Chinatowns in the world and a must-visit during your Bangkok trip. This vibrant district is a melting pot of culture, history, and, of course, mouthwatering food. 

TukTuk at night on Yaowarat road, Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand, Chinatown Bangkok Travel Guide

Its vibrant and colorful streets, full of beautiful temples and delicious food, make it one of the most attractive areas in Bangkok. Bangkok’s Chinatown is especially popular at night when all the street vendors and restaurants open, the streets get busy, and everything is more alive.

Bangkok Chinatown Travel Tips

First, before we jump into the top things to do in Bangkok’s Chinatown, let’s cover the essentials and tips to help you have a more fun, enjoyable, and safer trip to Chinatown in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Chinatown in Bangkok is easy to explore on your own, but for some guided experiences, we recommend booking the top-rated ones on Viator or GetYourGuide.

Get travel insurance

While Chinatown in Bangkok is a safe destination, we recommend getting travel insurance for any trip outside your country. We highly recommend an insurance package from Heymondo. And as our reader, you get 5% off the price.

Getting around

It’s easy to reach Bangkok’s Chinatown using the MRT, BTS, boat, taxi/Grab, or by foot. It’s also worth checking out the Hop-On Hop-Off Boat or Hop-On Hop-Off Tuk-Tuk and Boat combo.

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Hotels in Chinatown

Chinatown is a great area to stay in Bangkok. Check all hotel options.

Travel map

We have compiled a Bangkok Chinatown Travel Map, which you can refer to when exploring.

Best things to do in Chinatown Bangkok

From bustling markets and ornate temples to hidden alleys filled with street vendors, there are plenty of things to do in Bangkok’s Chinatown. 

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1. Explore the vibrant and bustling Yaowarat Road

Walk along the bustling Yaowarat Road, the 1.5-kilometer-long main street of Chinatown, and soak in the lively atmosphere with its colorful shops, street food stalls, and vibrant decorations.

Yaowarat Road is a must-visit on your Chinatown and Bangkok exploration and is where the most action happens in Chinatown, especially at night.

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It’s hard to miss Yaowarat Road as you will inevitably drive through it while visiting Chinatown, especially while coming from the side of the Grand Palace and other top attractions in Bangkok.

While coming from the south side or from the Bangkok Train Station, you will come across The China Town Gate, known as “Paifang,” located at the start of Yaowarat Road in Chinatown, marking its entrance.

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Yaowarat Road in Bangkok’s Chinatown is also a great photo spot with all the billboards and huge signs.

Check out this private Bangkok tour with all the famous Instagram spots, including Chinatown.

Posing for a photo in Bangkok's Chinatown at night, Thailand, Yaowarat Chinatown, Bangkok's Chinatown guide

The best time to take photos in Chinatown is early morning or later in the evening when all the billboards and signs are lit up.

Tip: Avoid visiting Yaowarat Road on Monday, as many food stalls and stores will be closed.

2. Cycle through Bangkok’s Chinatown

Cycling through Bangkok’s Chinatown is such a fun way to see the city in a different way and is the best thing to do in Bangkok and Chinatown.

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While thinking of things to do in Bangkok, cycling through the city might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But it’s something that you should definitely consider.

Pass through narrow alleys off the beaten track, high-five friendly locals along the way, visit some temples, and learn more about Thai culture and traditions. All while cycling around. 

You’ll get all this by joining an organized Bangkok cycling tour. We went on a Bangkok cycling tour with Co Van Kessel, which exceeded our expectations. 

They offer several tours, but the 3-hour cycling tour focused on Chinatown is the most popular.

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3. Visit the Chinatown Night Market

The primary motivation for most people visiting Chinatown in Bangkok is, of course, to try the fantastic food. And the best way to explore Chinatown’s cuisine is at one of the night markets, where you can try some delicacies you can’t find in regular restaurants.

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Fun fact: Many street vendors in Bangkok’s Chinatown have received the Michelin “Bib” for their great food.

Note: If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, don’t expect much from food in Chinatown. You will be a bit limited regarding actual food, but you can find amazing desserts and delicious snacks. 

However, restaurants in Thailand are usually ready to accommodate most veggie wishes where possible. Luckily, we still managed to find some vegetarian food in Chinatown, even though it was tough. 😀

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4. Join a Chinatown food tour

While you can easily explore Bangkok Chinatown’s cuisine by yourself, joining a Chinatown food tour is a great way to find hidden gems that you might not be able to find among the countless stalls and crowds.

Best food tours in Chinatown Bangkok:

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5. Visit Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (Dragon Lotus Temple) 

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, also known as Dragon Lotus Temple, is the largest and most important Chinese Buddhist temple in Bangkok, making it a must-visit in Chinatown.

It is a beautiful Chinese Buddhist temple with stunning architecture, intricate details, and a serene atmosphere. Wat Mangkon is also an essential part of yearly Chinese New Year celebrations and many other important events. 

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is open daily from 7 AM to 6 PM and is free to visit.

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Beautiful architecture at The Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

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6. Visit Wat Traimit temple

Chinatown’s Wat Traimit temple is famous for its 5.5-ton Buddha made from pure gold, the biggest golden Buddha in the world. It’s one of the best temples to visit in Bangkok’s Chinatown.

A fun fact about the golden Buddha of Wat Traimit temple is that it was covered in different materials for over 200 years to conceal the actual value of the statue.

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Wat Traimit temple in Chinatown is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and the entrance ticket is 100 baht (around 3 USD).

Math fact: To cover the construction cost of another golden Buddha of the same size, the temple would need about 83 million visitors.

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7. Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater 

The Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater in Chinatown, Bangkok, is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a unique cultural experience.

Established in 1933, this historic theater offers a glimpse into Thailand‘s rich performing arts traditions. From traditional Thai dance and music performances to contemporary theater shows, there is always something captivating at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater.

TRAVEL TIP

Your ticket for Grand Palace also includes a show at The Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater in Chinatown with a free shuttle from Grand Palace. The show lasts about 30 minutes, and exact timings can be found at the Grand Palace.

The Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater operates from Tuesday to Sunday, with performances usually starting in the evening. The schedule may vary depending on the show or event, so checking their website or contacting them directly for the most up-to-date information is advisable.

8. Check out Sampeng Market

Sampeng Market, also known as Sampeng Lane, is one of the most well-known shopping streets and markets in Bangkok’s Chinatown, tucked inside the narrow streets of Soi Wanit 1.

Sampheng Market, oldest market in Bangkok Chinatown

As one of the city’s oldest markets, Sampheng Market has gained a reputation for offering affordable prices on everything you may need.

Sampeng Market is open daily from morning till late afternoon, but visit during the morning hours for the best experience.

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However, it is worth noting that this particular market primarily caters a bit more to wholesalers. But there are lots of small ones in the other neighboring streets.

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Other street markets around Sampheng Market.

In the mornings and late afternoons, you can find street food delicacies, such as grilled skewers, dumplings, noodles, and exotic fruits.

However, during the daytime, markets in Bangkok Chinatown are still lively, with vendors selling a range of items such as souvenirs, fabrics, crafts, snacks, and much more.

9. Chinatown along the Chao Phraya River

A part of Chinatown is situated on the Chao Phraya riverside, so enjoying scenic views from a boat ride is another great way to see Chinatown.

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You can do this simply by choosing to arrive in Chinatown by express boat. If you’re coming from the Grand Palace area, take the boat all the way to the Marine Department Station.

Another great option is admiring the city skyline, historic landmarks, and traditional Thai houses along the riverbanks on a Hop-On Hop-Off Boat or Hop-On Hop-Off Tuk-Tuk and Boat combo.

10. Visit the Pak Khlong Talat flower market

The Pak Khlong Talat flower market in Chinatown, Bangkok, is a vibrant and bustling market that should definitely be on your must-visit list.

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It is the largest wholesale flower market in Bangkok and is open 24 hours a day, so you can visit at any time, but morning hours are the best when all the flowers are fresh.

This lively market is a feast for the senses, with its colorful displays of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. 

11. Street Art in Chinatown

There is a vibrant street art scene in Bangkok’s Chinatown, with colorful murals adorning many walls and alleyways.

The art ranges from traditional Chinese motifs to modern pop culture references, creating a unique and diverse atmosphere. Exploring the street art of Chinatown is a must for any art lover visiting Bangkok.

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The area around Talat Noi has lots of street art everywhere. We saw so many during our cycling tour through Bangkok’s Chinatown and loved them!

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12. Join a guided walking tour 

While you can easily explore Bangkok Chinatown’s highlights by yourself, joining a Chinatown walking tour is a great way to find hidden gems and learn more about the neighborhood’s history.

13. Enjoy a traditional Chinese massage 

Getting a traditional Chinese massage is the best thing to do in Chinatown after exploring all the great spots and eating lots of food.

There are lots of options, but some of the best are the Center Point Massage and Spa and Let’s Relax Spa.

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14. Attend a vibrant cultural festival or celebration in Chinatown

Chinatown in Bangkok is known for its rich and lively cultural festivals and celebrations, and it’s worth attending one of these if you happen to be in Bangkok during these periods.  

One of the most popular festivals is the Chinese New Year, which occurs in late January or early February – colorful parades, dragon dances, fireworks, and delicious traditional food mark this festival. 

Another must-see event in Bangkok Chinatown is the Vegetarian Festival, where locals and visitors can witness elaborate processions and enjoy vegetarian delicacies. It’s a nine-day festival usually held in late September or early October.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, typically held mid-September, is also a favorite among Bangkok locals in Chinatown, who gather to admire beautiful lantern displays and indulge in mooncakes. 

Lastly, the Loy Krathong Festival, usually in mid-November, is a magical celebration where people release floating lanterns onto the Bangkok rivers and canals to pay respects to the water goddess. 

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How to get to Chinatown in Bangkok

It’s easy to reach Bangkok’s Chinatown using MRT, boat, taxi/Grab, or by foot.

  1. MRT is a convenient and affordable way to travel around the city. The Hua Lamphong Station is located near Chinatown, and in a few minutes walk, you can reach the Chinatown Gate and the Yaowarat Road. You can also take the MRT to Wat Mangkon station.
  2. Boat along the Chao Phraya River – disembark at Ratchawong or Marine Department Pier, both just a short walk away from Chinatown.
  3. Taxi/ride-hailing – readily available in Bangkok and offers a comfortable and direct way to reach your destination. They can be hailed on the street (make sure they have a taximeter) or booked through ride-hailing apps like Grab (recommended!)
  4. On foot – Depending on where you are, you might also walk to Chinatown. 
  5. You can also use BTS, but it’s a bit inconvenient as you’ll need to combine it with a boat or bus to get to Chinatown.

While taking the Chao Phraya River boat, you need to choose your arrival pier depending on where you want to start your Chinatown exploration. If you’re going to start your exploration at the Flower Market, take a boat to Memorial Bridge station, but remember that this is a bit further away from other attractions in Chinatown.

The best time to visit Chinatown in Bangkok

If you’re coming for food, the best time to visit Chinatown in Bangkok is in the evening, when the area comes alive with vibrant colors, delicious aromas, and bustling activity of lots of street vendors and restaurants. 

Avoid visiting Yaowarat Road on Monday, as many food stalls and stores will be closed.

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However, if you’d like to visit Chinatown’s temples and other attractions, the best time to visit is during the day, preferably in the morning. Many temples close before the sunset.

How long does it take to see Bangkok’s Chinatown? 

Exploring Chinatown in Bangkok can be a fascinating experience filled with vibrant sights, enticing smells, and delicious flavors. The time you should spend exploring this bustling neighborhood depends on your interests.

We recommend setting aside at least half a day to experience the sights and flavors of Chinatown in Bangkok fully.

Where to stay in Chinatown in Bangkok?

Choosing to stay in Chinatown can be an excellent decision for several reasons. Firstly, it provides an authentic taste of local Thai-Chinese culture, with its narrow streets filled with colorful markets, temples, and mouth-watering street food stalls.

Secondly, the area is conveniently situated close to many of Bangkok’s famous attractions, such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, making it an ideal base for exploring the city.

Lastly, Chinatown offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets, ensuring that every traveler can find something suitable.

Hotels

The Shanghai Mansion boutique hotel is known for its stylish decor and Chinese-inspired ambiance. The hotel offers elegant rooms, a rooftop bar, and a charming courtyard restaurant. 

Riva Arun boasts stunning views of the Chao Phraya River and the iconic Wat Arun temple. With its modern design and top-notch amenities, this hotel promises a memorable stay. 

The Hotel Royal Bangkok@Chinatown offers comfortable rooms with traditional Chinese touches, a rooftop pool, and a fitness center.

Hostels

Note that most of the Hostels in Chinatown offer both dorms as well as private rooms.

The Norn Yaowarat Hotel offers clean and cozy dormitory-style rooms at affordable rates. Additionally, the hostel provides communal spaces where travelers can socialize and exchange travel tips. 

Luk Hostel is a charming hostel in the heart of Chinatown in Bangkok. With a cozy atmosphere and friendly staff, it’s the perfect place to stay for travelers looking for a budget-friendly option in this bustling area. 

Tamni Hotel is a cozy and charming boutique hotel in Chinatown, Bangkok. Its unique blend of contemporary design and traditional Chinese decor offers guests an authentic and comfortable stay. The hotel features spacious rooms, a rooftop bar with stunning city views, and easy access to local street food and markets.

Where to eat in Chinatown in Bangkok

Chinatown in Bangkok is known for its various Chinese food options, from street food stalls to high-end restaurants. And there really are a lot of worth-visiting ones.

The top 5 restaurants that you must try in Chinatown in Bangkok:

  • T&K Seafood is a local favorite known for its fresh and flavorful seafood dishes. 
  • Nai-Ek Roll Noodle – enjoy mouthwatering beef noodle soup and other traditional Thai dishes. 
  • Lhong Tou Cafe is an authentic Chinese cuisine famous for its delectable dim sum and roasted duck. 
  • Jek Pui Curry Rice – If you’re in the mood for spicy Szechuan fare. You can feast on fiery curry dishes that will leave your taste buds tingling. 
  • Tep Bar is a trendy spot offering a fusion of Thai and Chinese flavors and creative cocktails.

Did you know?

Many street vendors in Bangkok’s Chinatown have received the Michelin “Bib” for their great food.

Travel tip: If you are unsure what food to try from endless food stalls, consider going on a guided street food tour in Chinatown. These are usually loved by many.

Note that the food prices in Bangkok’s Chinatown may not be as cheap as expected. 

Also, if you’re a vegetarian and plan to visit Bangkok’s Chinatown for food, expect to mostly eat snacks and some side dishes. 😀

Is Chinatown in Bangkok worth visiting?

Chinatown in Bangkok is definitely worth a visit for its vibrant atmosphere, delicious food, and unique shopping experiences.

As you wander through the bustling streets of Yaowarat, you’ll be immersed in a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and smells.

From the colorful street markets selling everything from fresh fruits to traditional Chinese herbs to the mouthwatering street food stalls offering delectable dishes like dim sum and roasted duck, there is something to satisfy every craving. 

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The ornate Chinese temples that dot the area also add to the charm of Chinatown, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Chinese community in Bangkok. So, if you’re looking for a lively and authentic experience in Bangkok, explore Chinatown and discover all it has to offer.


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