Have I ever told you that I am a Thai of Chinese Descent?
Yes, my grandparents are Chinese and they moved to Thailand. I have not only Thai name and Thai family name, but also Chinese name and Chinese family name.
Bangkok’s Chinatown or Yaowarat is the area that I am very familiar with. When I was young, I came to buy goods here around once a week with my parents.
Yesterday I plan to go to Wat Leng Noei Yi (or Wat Mangkon Kamalawat), a well-known Chinese Buddhist temple in Bangkok. But instead of going there directly, I decided to walk around Yaowarat.
If you are going to explore Chinatown in Bangkok, you might use this post as a guideline for your walking trip. I did visit Wat Traimit, Odeon Circle, Wat Leng Noei Yi, Yaowarat Road, and Sampeng market. If you are going to come by boat, you have to get off at Ratchawong Pier and visit the places in reverse order.
I started my walking trip at Wat Traimit or you might know it as the temple of Golden Buddha. The temple is located at the very beginning of Chinatown, around 500 meters from Hua Lamphong MRT Station.
While walking up the chapel to see the Golden Buddha which is located on the fourth floor, I visited 2 museums. The first one is Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center (2nd floor) which I was really impressed with, and another one is The Golden Buddha Exhibition (3rd floor).
To go inside the chapel to see the Buddha, you need to dress properly. Since on that day I wore sleeveless dress, I was asked to rent a gown to cover my shoulders and my knees. The Golden Buddha is really well worth a visit because of the size and the material or solid gold.
From Wat Traimit, only a minute walk on Mittaphap Thai-China Road, I was at Odeon Circle or the Chinatown Gate. This Chinese style gate was built as a part of the celebrations of King Rama 9’s 72th anniversary. It tells you that you are about to walk into the Chinatown.
From the gate, you can choose to walk on Yaowarat Road or Charoen Krung Road. I chose the latter because I want to go to Wat Leng Noei Yi.
Only a minute walk, I decided to stop and have lunch at Odean Noodle Restaurant, one of the popular restaurants in this area.
While walking to the temple, I started seeing Chinese tea, herb, and snack shops and my nose started smelling something… unique, but weird. It was a scent of Yaowarat area.
I just kept walking until I saw the gate of Wat Leng Noei Yi.
Then, I walked into the temple and saw the photo of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in front of the temple. During this month, we are celebrating her 60th Birthday. So, do not be surprise, if you are in Bangkok now and see her image everywhere and also the purple flags which are used as an emblem of the celebrations. Besides, many Thais wear purple t-shirt.
After pay the respect, I walked through a little alley which sells good foods and ingredients. Many Thai including my mother and I love buying foods here.
Finally I was on Yaowarat Road, the road that was full with gold shops! Even if nowadays there are gold shops around the city and in the shopping malls, many Thai still come here when they want to buy gold.
On the road you can expect to see stalls selling fresh and big fruits. And at night this road becomes a great place to try street foods. It is not only popular among tourists, but also local. My friends and I many times had dinners here after work.
I decided to continue walking to Soi Wanit 1 which is also known as Sampeng Market, a market where you can buy products at the cheap prices especially when you buy in bulk.
Actually from Sampeng market, it is not far to go to Phahurat Market, which is known as little India, a market that is not so popular for tourists but it is a great place for local to buy fabrics, textiles, and so on.
Besides, from Sampeng market, you can walk to Ratchawong Pier to take Chao Phraya Express boat to other places. But yesterday it was very hot and I was very tired, so I just ended the trip by taking a bus back home.
*** Click the link if you want to know the detail of the places such as opening hours, admission fee, and so on. ***