Chinatown, also called Yawolat after the neighborhood’s main street, has been a Bangkok shopping destination for decades and has everything from wholesale shoes to fresh markets to Thai silk. If you can handle the crowds, heat and confusion, this is the best one-stop shopping neighborhood in the city!
- Pace yourself. Chinatown has everything but it takes time to find it and time to work your way through the crowds.
- Don’t miss Sampaeng Lane. The covered market area between Yawolat Road and the river is worth a visit even if you don’t want to buy anything.
- Explore. There are many little markets and shops hidden in the neighborhood's small streets.
What to Buy:
Everything. Shoes, clothing, fabric, hair ornaments, jewelry, toys for kids, souvenirs, packaged food products, herbal medicines. The list goes on!
Ask for small discounts if you're buying in bulk but don't expect to get a huge discount.
Taking a Break:
Chinatown's food scene lights up at night, so if you're there shopping during the day, stick to the many street stalls along Yawolat and Charoen Krung Roads.
There are plenty of ATMs but few public bathrooms. Stop into one of the larger hotels on Yawolat to use their restrooms if necessary.
How to Get There:
Traffic in Chinatown is as bad as it gets in Bangkok (and that's really bad) so either take the subway to Hua Lumpong and walk five minutes to the center of the neighborhood or take the river ferry to Surawongse, which is just a few minutes from Yawolat Road and the entrance to Sampaeng Lane.
Most vendors open by around 10 a.m. and close up shop by 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Selection is best during midday.