A most popular tourist attraction in Bangkok is China Town (known by Thais as Yaowarat). Although almost everywhere in the world has China Town, but here is probably an identical one. Gold smith shops line on both sides of streets here. Not surprisingly a number of people come here for gold trading. Just as a coincidence, a world-class famous temple located pretty close to China town is the Temple of Golden Buddha, known locally by Thai people as Wat Traimit. Inside this temple, there is the largest gold Buddha image in the world.
At the night time, this street changes to street restaurant community, which is a great place to look for delicious dishes. Apart from street restaurants, there are also market stalls and traditional Chinese pharmacies. It can be seen as a great place to observe a different living style of people here. Moreover, during Chinese New Year Festival (usually in January / February) and Vegetarian Festivals (usually in October), China town can be considered as the best place in Bangkok to visit.
Chinese New Year in Bangkok
The most popular Chinese New Year or Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok is usually set up at Chinatown, on late January of early February, where it starts from Odean roundabout, gate of Chinatown all the way on Yaowarat Road to Ratchawong intersection. This new year festival is important to people in the area because almost all of them are from Chinese family. Chinese New Year is a big day of family celebration, as important as a reunion of family or Thanksgiving Day in western culture. Occasionally, during New Year, their family gives oranges or tangerines to relatives and friends for a good new year. Particularly, giving money in a red envelope to kids is a ‘must’ for this day.
During the festival, There are red signs of New Year hanging along the road, red lanterns hanged between buildings, gold Chinese letters written in good wishes on red paper. Moreover, people are also looking for new dress in traditional Chinese style (red color, of course!). Chinese like red color because it is a brightness, warming, power and glory. Meaning of red is also love, luck, fortune and brave. Chinese temples are mostly decorated with red, meaning of a sacred place. Chinese bride and groom wear red in wedding day, meaning of love. Moreover, Chinese use red color to wishes papers, joss sticks, firecrackers and small red envelopes for kids, because they believe that it will protect them from evils and inauspicious.
In Ayutthaya period, approximately 17-18 Century Chinese people stay in the location of on the east bank of Chao Phraya River. However, when King Rama I decided to move the capital of Thailand to the new location, from the west bank to the east one in 1782, the Chinese immigrants need to relocation to another area which has become the China Town in Bangkok today. Not surprisingly, majority of people living in this area come from a Chinese family.
- Since it would usually be such a traffic jam near the Chinatown, the best way to get to Chinatown is to take MRT underground train, exit at Hua Lamphong Station and walk to the left to Odean roundabout. Then walk along the Yaowarat Road.
- Another transportation option is to take an express boat from BTS sky train at Saphan Taksin Station and get off at Ratchawong Pier. After that, walk along Ratchawong Road and turning right to Yaowarat Road on the intersection of Grand China Hotel.