Like in most Chinatown neighborhoods found around the world, be it in New York City, Toronto or London, when you step inside a bustling Chinatown community, you can find just about anything there. The same is true of Bangkok's, but it has its own special Thai flare. Marked by massive, brightly-colored Chinese gates at the entrance, wander through the tightly packed streets and narrow Bangkok alleyways, and give yourself the freedom to get lost. The food stalls are traditionally Thai, with foods like jackfruit, called Kanoon in Thai, a fruit known for it's unpleasant stench and it's surprisingly sweet and unique flavor. To me, it tastes just like Juicy Fruit gum. Chinatown is also home of Wat Traimit, the world's largest solid gold Buddha statue, which weighs in at over five tons. Enjoy meandering around-- and if you get lost, there is always a Tuk Tuk around the corner to give you a lift back to your hotel or destination of choice. An aspect I appreciated about my journey on the Azamara Quest, is all of the time we got on land to truly explore and get to discover the city of Bangkok, without a schedule or a timeline.
By Ashley Castle Pittman, AFAR Contributor
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Immerse Yourself in Old-School Bustle in Bangkok’s Chinatown
Bangkok may be the Thai capital, but it is far from being strictly Thai. It has one of the biggest and best-preserved Chinatowns in the world, and a stroll around the maze-like neighborhood offers a fascinating insight to the city’s Sino-Thai character. The area’s main thoroughfares, Yaowarat Road and Charoen Krung, teem with vendors, traditional medicine outlets and, less appealingly, traffic. However, a stroll around the ancient lanes near the river is more rewarding. There are temples (Buddhist, Taoist, Chinese and Sikh), markets, strange juxtapositions (casket makers near chicken hatcheries anyone?), moldering architecture and some of the best food in the city.
By Maeve Nolan
Street Food in Chinatown, Bangkok
Visiting Bangkok and wanting to try something other then Koh San Road? Then I highly recommend staying, or at the very least visiting in the Chinatown neighborhood of Bangkok. You can spend hours wandering the tiny streets and alleyways of Chinatown, where you can find delicious bowls of noodles or other Thai dishes, for no more then 40-70 baht. Hundreds of street carts, markets, and stalls line the streets at lunch and dinner time. Not to mention the scene here is way more authentic then the one on Koh San Road. Start at Yaowarat and Phadung Dao, walking along Yaowarat Rd headed west. Dip into a random alleyway, and start zigzagging. Make sure to remember a cross street so you don't get lost! At night, Yaowarat is jam packed with even more street carts and happy diners sitting at plastic tables set up just for the night. If you are a foodie, Chinatown is a must!
Bicycle through the back alleys of Bangkok
There is no time for hesitation when riding your bicycle through the streets and back alleys of Bangkok. Obstacles seem to lurk behind every corner. If you can brave it, it is truly one of the best ways to see the city. You could end up in the 24 hour flower and vegetable market in the heart of Chinatown, then take a ferry across the river to see the largest sitting Buddha.
Mango/Durian Sticky Rice
This lady is iconic on the street of Bangkok Chinatown. 150Baht for delicious mango sticky rice, enough to share between 2-4 persons. Try the durian if you are brave! :) Yummy soft texture. It's love or hate! Nearest train station is Hua Lam Pong or take a taxi and stop right in the hub of hawkers selling amazing and cheap local delicacies. Ask for the best khaoniao mamuang (mango sticky rice) in Chinatown.