World largest Chinatown – After checking out the Hua Lamphong train station, I still had a lot of time before my flight back to Spain. I wandered out of the station, and headed toward the nearby Chinatown. I was starting to feel hungry, and figured that this would be an easy place to find something yummy for my tummy.
Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the largest in the world, so before exploring, I needed sustenance. And because I’m not able to read or speak either Mandarin or Thai, I just wandered past food stalls until spotting someone eating something that looked appetizing. Sitting down next to him, I pointed at his bowl when the waiter came by, and then enjoyed a steaming serving of vermicelli noodles with radishes and greens. Now I was ready to check out the neighborhood.
Bangkok’s Chinatown is the world largest
During our travels around the world, we’ve encountered our fair share of Chinatowns — in Buenos Aires, Saigon, Montreal, and even here in Valencia, Spain. But this might be the most impressive one I’ve yet seen. It’s unbelievably busy, with a bewildering collection of restaurants and shops, heavy traffic, and feels completely separate to the rest of the city; different architecture, language, and even tourists. I got the impression here that most of the visitors were Chinese.
Yaowarat Road is the biggest street in Chinatown, running from Odeon Circle to the old moat of Rattanakosin island. This street is crammed with so many massive signs, that it would be hopeless to try and read them all. It’s a very picturesque type of sensory overload, and I’m sure this road must have been used as the backdrop in countless films. The neighborhood is often referred to as “Yaowarat”, because of the prominence of this road.
Connected to Yaowarat are dozens of much smaller side streets and alleys, which are exclusively used by pedestrians … well, and mopeds that weave far too quickly past the walkers. These littler streets didn’t offer much respite, as they were just as crowded as Yaowarat, but I did find a few that were quiet. I wandered through some wholesale markets, where they were selling traditional medicines and other Chinese goods, but wasn’t in the mood to haggle.
I had to leave Chinatown right as the sun was setting, in order to make my flight, but paused to take a few extra photos of the elevated train which cuts through Bangkok. My time in this city was way too short… hopefully, I’ll someday return for a full 91 days!