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Bangkok Travel Guide - with Wired Destinations
Discount Hotels in Bangkok : Sukhumvit, Silom, Siam Square, Ploenchit, Riverside, Sathorn, Pratunam, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Ratchadapisek, Petchburi, Banglumpu, Don Muang Airport, Yawaraj (China Town), Nakorn Pathom, Huamark, Saphankwai, Nonthaburi, Pattanakarn
Bangkok Highlights - Yawaraj Attractions
The area of Bangkok named for Yawaraj road, appropriately following the curve of a dragon's body, is also known as Chinatown. One of Bangkok's oldest neighborhoods, it dates back to the late 18th century when Chinese immigrants were resettled here from Rattanakosin.
More than two-hundred years later, the inhabitants of this area have been fully integrated into Thai society, many do not even speak Chinese anymore. Yet the area retains a strong Chinese flavor, evident in its shops and market-crammed alleyways, gold and medicine stores, Taoist temples, traditional festivals and Cantonese restaurants.
Yawaraj is famous for it's Bangkok shopping.
Wandering around you'll discover that this part of town has the highest concentration of gold shops in Bangkok, instantly recognizable by flashes of glistening gold against red backdrops. Sampeng Lane, just south of Yawaraj road is mainly a pedestrian lane crowded with shops and stalls selling anything from rubber flip-flops and bags to Chinese snacks like roasted chestnuts. It's manic, but well worth a browse.
Sights in Yawaraj are not only limited to the consumerist. It is also home to the world's largest seated golden Buddha image, weighing 5.5 tons, at Wat Traimit. The area's most famous Taoist temple is Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, accessed via a decorated passage from Charoenkrung road. It dates back to 1872 and becomes most active during festival times.
Yawaraj becomes a hive of excellent vegetarian food options during the annual Vegetarian Festival around early October. During this nine-day purification festival, the faithful abstains from eating meat products and partake in activities such as fire walking and self-piercing. Chinese New Year is also celebrated with traditional pomp and ceremony. It can be a great place to experience lion dancing and the loud explosions of firecrackers.
Some of the best and most expensive Chinese cuisine in the city is to be found here. The restaurants lining Yawaraj road offers delights like dim sum, noodles, mooncakes and more exotic offerings like bird's nest soup and the very controversial shark's fin soup. By night, numerous informal noodle stands and seafood stalls open up on the streets and sois.
For something completely different, head south on Sampeng Lane to the area of Pahurat, also known as Little India, and get lost in the Pahurat Textile Market amongst mountains of fabric, or enjoy the wealth of Indian restaurants and sweet shops at this Indian neighborhood in Bangkok.
The best way of getting to Yawaraj is by Chao Phraya riverboat taxi. Get off at Ratchawong Pier and walk up the road to Sampeng Lane and Yawaraj Road. From Hualumphong MRT station (by the main train station) board bus #40 heading for Pahurat and Chinatown or take a taxi or tuk-tuk. It's also possible to walk the distance from the station, just follow your nose to the smells of the old medicine shops.
Remember to go early and take it easy once you're there. Yawaraj can get pretty hot and busy if you're not staying at one of the nearby hotels for a break. But do come and explore this intriguing historic neighborhood, still as exciting and bustling as it was at the turn of the 18th century.