Bangkok’s Chinatown is a vibrantly mesmerizing area of the Thai capital which never fails to enchant and captivate the inquisitive visitor. Crammed with roadside restaurants, stalls selling a variety of items, a vast array of gold vendors and Chinese medicine shops in a nostalgically charming atmosphere, Chinatown is one of the most fascinating attractions of the Thai capital.
This entrancing sector is one of the oldest districts of Bangkok, having been inhabited by many waves of Chinese settlers who made the area their home; traditionally many of these Chinese immigrants were traders, a profession many follow to this day.
The entrance to Chinatown is marked by a striking immense Chinese gate built in the traditional manner. The main roads in Chinatown diverge into innumerable small back streets and alleyways; these quaint old lanes offer a fascinating insight into the unique culture and background of the Chinese who have made Bangkok their home, and their identity and traditions which they have retained over the generations for more than two centuries.
Invariably one of the highlights of visiting Chinatown is the inimitable shopping opportunities it provides. A far cry from the modern malls of the city, the quaint market stalls of Chinatown will be a delight for the enthusiastic shopper in search of bargains. The principal commodities on sale include exquisite fabrics, gold and precious gemstones. Bartering is part of the local commercial culture, and the visitor is well advised to engage in bargaining before making a purchase; this is part of the unique experience Chinatown offers.
Unquestionably the culinary specialties on offer are one of the highlights of a visit to Chinatown; the area is renowned for its excellent and inexpensive delicacies. The delights on offer include such unusual items as shark fin, birds’ nest soup and goat meat. The seafood available in Chinatown is considered to be the finest in the city. Cantonese cuisine is most common, and the options on offer run the gamut from large costly restaurants to cheap roadside food stalls.
There are a number of cultural highlights in the vicinity of Chinatown that deserve mention. The Temple of the Golden Buddha, Wat Traimit is a popular attraction. As the name suggests the main attraction here is the solid gold Buddha statue which stands three metres tall and weighs no less than 5.5 tonnes. The adjoining Saphanthawong Museum offers historical depictions of the development of Chinatown. Numerous other charming Buddhist temples are to be found in the environs.
Source by Pushpitha Wijesinghe