I planned most of my tourist wanderings in Bangkok based upon destinations I could walk to. My Thai hosts found this very strange as Thai’s don’t walk much in Bangkok because it’s frankly too hot to do so. But, I was on vacation so it didn’t matter to me if I was sweaty when I got to my destination & I like to walk to orient myself in a new city.
Bangkok’s Chinatown was within reasonable walking distance … if walking an hour one way is reasonable to you. To me it was at the time, although it turned out to be decision I questioned on the way home. “Why don’t you take a Tuk Tuk, Kinga?” You ask, well I would have if the driver’s hadn’t wanted to over charge me by 300%, because they could & another tourist will their price anyways.
Photo Diary: A Solo Traveler in Chinatown
Did I like Chinatown? I liked elements of it. It was very different from the North American Chinatown’s I’ve seen, which made it fascinating, but it was also incredibly noisy, with too many cars, people & no place to sit, relax & people watch.
So, did I like Chinatown? Yes I did. It was different from the rest of Bangkok & the narrow side streets packed with stalls were fascinating to visit. A lot of the vendors had “no picture” signs, probably because they were selling counterfeit brand products.
Bangkok’s Chinatown is quite old & Chinese merchants were a key influence on the Thai economy. Today, the neighborhood has distinct chinese elements that set it apart from the rest of Bangkok & make it a fascinating place to visit.
The chinese influence is especially visible in the many temples scattered in Chinatown. There are quite a few to be found in Chinatown & I don’t even know which ones I found, as it was incredibly easy to get lost.
You would go down a side street or one the covered alleyway markets & end up somewhere where you weren’t planning on going. It was fun if you were in the mood to go on a journey of discovery.
Street signs are scares in Chinatown, which make it even easier to get lost. My guidebook warned me of this & it was obvious that most street signs were obscured by the street-side vendors who built permanent structures where ever they could find room.
The market alleyways were fascinating to wander through. Anything you could imagine was sold there. Spices, food, jeans, stuffed toys – anything you could think of.
I didn’t get too many pictures inside the maze of the alleyways. It was impossible to stop & take photo’s without stopping the flow of people traffic & people weren’t that forgiving when you did so.
Wat Traimit – Temple of the Golden Buddha
The main temple in Chinatown is Wat Traimit, where the Golden Buddha is housed. The temple is not as impressive as Wat Phra Kaew or Wat Pho, but the Golden Buddha was a sight to see. It’s an obvious stop for any visitor & has a good view of Chinatown.
I took a break at a 7-11 by the Chinese Arch before I started my walk home. The Tuk Tuk’s drivers were asking for an obscene amount of money & I was stubbornly sticking to my daily budget. It was here that I avoided being robbed. Nothing dramatic occurred, as I noticed the woman who was scoping me out as a potential target & put my backpack on my back before anything happened. Thailand is a safe country, but it is still possible to be robbed or scammed.
My walk back to the hostel was fairly uneventful. A day spent walking in Chinatown was fun, but exhausting. I was all too happy to take a nap & planned a slower day for my last day in Bangkok, before I started on my journey North.