Bangkok Chinatown’s Ultimate Guide for Where to Go
Yaowarat Road

Bangkok chinatown is the largest oversea Chinese community in the world. In the community, there are many histtoric attractions to visit and these are the list of attractions that I recommend when you’re in Bangkok chinatown; Yaowarat Road, Wat Trimitr Wittayaram, Talad Kao (Old Market), Leng Buay la Alley, Sampeng Market, Wat Chakkrawat Ratchawat Wora Maha Vihara, the old buildings on Thanon Song Wad, Luang Kocha Ishak Mosque, Wat Pathumkongka Ratchawora Vihara, Talad Noi, Holy Rosary Church, Siam Commercial Bangk, and Krung Thai Art Galley.

Yaowarat Road

Yaowarat Road or “The Dragon Road”, built in 1891 under King Rama V’s reign, is a part of the famed Chinese-Thai community with a very long history. In the past, Yaowarat Road was the main commercial avenue before Silom Road, as you see the evidence of its greatness from the commerical buildings which are regarded as the very first construction of its kind.

Yaowarat Road and wat trimitr Photo credit :

There are two sides of Yaowarat Road, the old Chinese-Thai cultural community, and the centre of wonderful dishese and great restaurants. The dazzling Chinese billboards on each side combined with the crowded atmosphere every night would impress visitors. Especially, in the Chinese New Year Festival, when the road would be filled with people from everywhere and shinging with lights that never go out.

Yaowarat Road

At the beginning of Yaowarat Road is “Odeon Circle.” Also known as the ‘Dragon Head’, named after Odeon Cinema, was the recreational space in the past. The great Chinese ceremonial gate is located there, built in 1999 for the 72nd aniversary of the King, and now became the landmark of Yaowarat Road.

Yaowarat Road and wat trimitr Photo credit :

The gate which was the result of collaboration of Chinese-Thai people in the area, is the emblem of the royalty and the great bond. It is the Chinese style arc with  two dragons respection the royal cypher on their heads which makes Odeon Circle unique.

Wat Trimitr Wittayaram

It is still uncertain when Wat Trimitr was built in Bangkok Chinatown. However, Wat Trimitr’s original name ‘Wat Sam Chine Tai’ stemmed from a local legend that the temple was established by the good faith of three Chinese comrades.

wat trimitr on Yaowarat Road

In 1939, the temple was given a new name which is ‘Wat Trimitr Wittayaram’ which was also known as ‘the Temple of Golden Buddha’. There is the main hall built with an exquisite blend of Thai and western architectural style which enshrines the graceful image of ‘Phra Buddha Totsaphonnayan’ or ‘Luang Pho Toh’.

On Phra Maha Mondop’s 3rd floor of Wat Trimitr is the place where “The Golden Buddha Museum” is. The Golden Buddha, the world’s largest golden Buddha statue measuring 3 metres tall and weighing 3.5 tons, is now housed at the pavilion’s top floor of Wat Trimitr. The museum does not only exhibit the Golden Buddha’s history but also traditonal Thai craftsmanship of metal casting for the Buddha statue’s construction.

wat trimitr

The 2nd floor of the pavillion is another museum; Yaowarat China Town Heritage Centre. This museum exhibits the history of Chinese people in Thailand from the beginning of the Bangkok era, the prosperity of Sampeng and Yaowarat, up until the present day when Yaowarat has turned in to ‘Thailand’s chinatown. The main theme of the exhibitons in the museum is “Prosper under Royal Patronage” in order to show their gratitude to the Chakri Dynasty.

Talad Kao (Old Market)

Bangkok ChinatownPhoto credit :

In Bangok chinatown, there are two markets that are worth exploring the way of life of the local people at the markets. The first one is Talad Kao or the old market and the second one is Talad Sampeng or Sampeng Marke.

Talad Kao is called ‘Lao Tak Lak’ in local Chinese dialect. The old market was built in Rama V’s reign by ‘Phra Sri Songyot’ who was commonly known as ‘Chesua Niam’ (Niam the Tycoon). He was one of the wealthiest business magnates in the early Bangkok era.

Photo credit : สายหมอกและก้อนเมฆ

The old market has been Yaowarat and Thai people of Chinese descent’s favorite market place for ages. Seafood, dried food, Chinese delicacies are available in the market. The market was open all day long in the past but now it has turned to a morning market.

Photo credit : สายหมอกและก้อนเมฆ

At the market, there is a century old Guan Yu Shrine where icons of Guan Yu and Chao Pho Sae Ma (Chinese Horse Master Diety) are housed. People come to the shrine to seek blessing for their authority and influence.

Sampeng Market

Sampeng Market is one of the oldest Thai-Chinese wholesale markets in Bangkok. The first immigrant community relocated from Tha Tien after Bangkok became the capital of Siam. Sampeng Market became the largest and the most flourishing land market in the reign of King Rama IV, when Bangkok was jam packed with shops and people from dawn until late night.

sampeng market close to Yaowarat RoadAtmosphere at Sampeng Market Photo credit :

Later, King Rama V ordered the construction of Yaowarat Road to ease the crowded area of Sampeng Market. Nowadays, Sampeng Market is a fascinating place where worldwide shoppers can find Thai street food carts, latest inventories and crafts, random trinkets, and a broad-range of goods for great wholesale prices.

sampeng market close to Yaowarat RoadPhoto credit : thaitbs news

By the way, from Sampeng Market, if you walk to the west, you will find a little Indian Town called “Phahurat Market.” The market is the largest wholesale and retail market for textile in Thailand.

Leng Buay La Alley

It’s sometimes called ‘Trok Isaranuparb’ where the ‘Leng Buay La’ is located. The market is lined with vendors selling savory and sweet food, such as traditional dumplings with cassava, pork and sweet filling, pickled vegetables, braised fish maw, gingko, lotus seeds, Chinese tea, chestnuts and more.

The Chinese Leng Buay La Shrine, an ancient shrine that is presumed to have been built in the Rattanakosin period, introduces a strong atmosphere of the old Thai-Chinese lifestyle through hundreds of years. Nearby is Guang Hang Seng, a hundred-year-old house with deliver box and window louver where tourists can peek through to the cashier between the first and second floor.

Sui Yeng Yun, the traditonal Chinese medicine house has mild sunlight shining through the high glass roof. Trok Leng Buay la is considered the centre point of Chinatown amongst the fasinating shops and religious places. To get to the alley, you can acces the alley through Soi Isranuphap or Yaowarat Road Soi 6.

Wat Chakkrawat Ratchawat Wora Maha Vihara

Wat Chakkrawat close to wat trimitr Photo credit : กสิณธร ราชโอรส

Not far away from Wat Trimitr, there is another interesting temple to check out and that is Wat Chakkrawat. It’s believed that Wat Chakkrawat was built in the Ayutthaya period, with the orginal name ‘Wat Nang Pluem’ which was distorted into ‘Wat Sam Pluem.’ The temple once was the residence of Phra Bang, and the Buddha image brought from Viang Chan, in the early period of Rattanakosin.

Wat Chakkrawat close to wat trimitrPhoto credit :

In his reign, King Rama IV had the Buddha moved back to Lao because of the belief that the Emerald Buddha and Phra Bang should not be placed in the same city. Inside the temple is the statue of Chao Phraya Bodindecha, the restorer of the temple after the great fire. There is also the graceful ubosot and the crocodile, the descendants of ‘Bod Wat Sampluem’ (bod as blind)-the famous one in history, in the pond. The temple is located on Chakkawat Rd.

Wat Chakkrawat close to wat trimitr and sampeng marketPhoto credit :

Lao Pun Tao Kong Shrine

Lao Pun Tao Kong Shrine is located in Soi Isranuphap, Songwad Rd and is presumed that the shrine was built around 1777. Inside placed the statue of Pun Tao Kong, one of the gods the Teochew people revere, with the belief that the god would bless them.

The name ‘Lao’ of the shrine could tell us which family lives in the area the most. Therefore, we could say that Lao Pun Tao Kong Shrine on Thanon Song Wad is the sacred place of the Lao family. It’s also interesting that Pun Tao Kong shrines are discovered only in Thailand, Philippines and Penang. Furthemore, I also recommend you visit famous and holy Chinese temple and shirne located not far away from the shirne. They are Wat Mangkon Kamalawat and Tai Hong Kong Shrine.

The Old Buidings on Song Wad Road

Song Wad was one of the important roads that King Rama V had ordered constructed to cut across Sampeng Road. In that period, it became the important commercial avenue of Siam, storing the goods from Chinese vessels and transporting goods from Siam to Chinese vessels. The road then was full of the wealthy, whose prosperity is still visible today. The group of old buildings on Song Wad Road is the first building of Phra Nakhon that remains in good condition until today.

Photo credit : KorradolYamsatthm

The varied architectural style made them uniquely beautiful, especially ‘Akarn Pollamai’ (the fruit building) which was decorated with a stucco pattern of vines, flowers and fruits.

Photo credit : Kittipong Chararoj

Luang Kocha Ishak Mosque

Luang Kocha Ishak Mosque close to Yaowarat Road and sampeng marketPhoto credit :

Eventhough Bangkok Chinatown is the residence of Chinese-Thai citizen, there are also a group of muslim and Christianity living there as well.  Luang Kocha Ishak Mosque and Holy Rosary Church are hidden mosque and church that are worth to explore.

Luang Kocha Ishak Mosque is not close to Holy Rosary Church but close to sampeng marketPhoto credit : มัสยิดหลวงโกชา อิศหาก

Luang Kocha Ishak Mosque is named after the founder, Luang Kocha Ishak, a functionary of the Royal Port Department, who was the mosque’s site landowner. It has another name which is ‘Wat Koh Mosque’.

Luang Kocha Ishak Mosque is not close to Holy Rosary Church but close to sampeng market

As the only mosque in Bangkok chinatown area, it has served Muslims in this district and its vicinity since the reign of Rama Iv. The mosque’s uniqueness is its buildings’ European architecture. There is also a Muslim cemetery within the mosque’s area. The mosque is located on song Wad Road.

Holy Rosary Church (Calvar Church)

Situated on Chao Phraya River bank, Holy Rosary Church was built on the site then a Portuguese Catholic community named after the Holy Rosary. Holy Rosary Church was established in the Ayutthaya Period.

Holy Rosary Church not close to sampeng market

At the beginning, there was no permanent site to perform religious rituals in the community until Bangkok period when Rama I donated land to build an church in 1797. Due to the crosses in the cemetery behind the chruch’s site, the name ‘Calvario’ (Portuguese for Calvary) was chosen for the newly built church, and the name eventually becomes Calvar Church among Thai people.

Holy Rosary Church

The current Holy Rosary Church is the third church ever built. It was built in Neo-Gothic architecture with old technique without a deep foundation nor reinforced concrete. Holy Rosary Church’s celing is painted with a celestial map. The church itself is decorated with stained glass depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Now the church is the Department of Fine Arts’ preservation area.  The church is in Soi Vanit 2, Yotha Rd.

Wat Pathumkongka Ratchawora Vihara

Wat Pathumkongka is not close to Holy Rosary Church

Beside Wat Trimitr,  another temple I recommend is Wat Pathumkongka. It is originally named ‘Wat Sampeng’ which was built in the Ayutthaya period in traditional Thai architecture style. After several reconstructions since the reign of King Rama I, the temple was appointed to be a royal monastery. Wat Pathumkongka was once an execution place of Thai royalty in the early Rattanakosin period and also a place to water scatter the cremation ashes after the royal funeral ceremony.

Wat Pathumkongka is not close to Holy Rosary ChurchPhoto credit :

The mural of Indra’s throne is magnificiently crafted inside the temple. There is the ‘Buddhadasa’s study hall’ which was built to pay homage to monk Buddhadasa who once studied Thamma in this temple for three years before moving to Suan Mokkh. The study hall contains Buddhadasa’s study room, library, Thamma room, and Buddhadasa’s biography exhibiton.

Wat Pathumkongka is not close to Holy Rosary ChurchPhoto credit :

Talad Noi (Noi Market)

Talad Noi is close to Holy Rosary ChurchPhot credit :

It is whereas the diverse phenomenon of Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and Western culture has impressed visitors from around the word. Once a prosperous area. There are still signs of it’s opulent past such as traditonal warehouses, ancient residneces of many wealthy Thai-Chinese magnates, and temples, of many different religions built side by side in harmony.

Another attraction in Talad Noi that you should explore is “Ban Sow Heng Tai” the 250 years old ancestral home of the Paisayachinda family. Moreover, Talad Noi’s stream-like Soi provides many delicious traditonal menus from duck noodle, fried noodle with shrimp, water mimosa food stalls to classic restaurants.

Ban Sow Heng Tai is close to Yaowarat Road but 10 minutes walk to sampeng marketPhot credit :

Ban Sow Heng Tai is close to Holy Rosary Church but 10 minutes walk to sampeng marketPhot credit :

Siam Commercial Bank in Talad Noi

Siam Commercial Bank, the first bank in Thailand, was established by the Father of Thai Banking, H.R.H. Prince Mahisara,  who had an innovative vision and determination to improve the Thai monetary system. Thje building shows a beautiful combination between Neo-Classic and Beaux-Arts architectures with a Feng Shui way of harmonizing people with the surrounding. The Bank is locaated in Soi Vanich 2, Yotha Rd.

Krung Thai Art Gallery

This is the place of cultural and art learning centre amidst the heart of Yaowarat. The art gallery is renovated from the Sino-Portuguese styled Krung Thai Bank building to make a perfect location for a historical art centre.

The gallery keeps paintings, sculptures, photographs and more than a hundred multimedia items.  There are rotating exhibitions and the library of Yaowarat art and community. Krung Thai Art Gallery also offers art activities and Chinese cultural class for children which totally makes the place in harmony with the local lifestyle. The gallery is located on Yaowarat Road.

In short, Bangkok chinatown is very diverse in term of culture. Visiting all these attractions will allow you to learn its unique local history and culture about the largest oversea Chinese community in the world. I am certain that you will enjoy Bangkok chinatown’s charm that is like no other chinatown in the world.

If you need assistance in planning an itinerary with these Bangkok chinatown attractions, let our team at Explorenique helps you with our custom private tour. The custom tour where you design your own travel experience.