Photo: Watch your heels.

Bangkok is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Bangkok as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Bangkok’s different areas.


Sampeng Lane

Our rating:

Sampeng Lane is a riot of people, colour, noise and smells. This is the place to come for unusual souvenirs, but be warned: It’s also the sort of place you come to buy one thing, but leave having bought a whole stack of other things you didn’t realise you needed.





The area was first settled by migrant Chinese traders around the turn of the 19th century, with Sampeng Lane conveniently running parallel to the Chao Phraya River, and little alleys connecting the two. The main lane became famed for its opium dens, gambling halls and brothels—it’s the capital’s original red-light district—but these days it’s all about the shopping once more.

Plenty of old-style shops remain lining Sampeng Lane. Photo taken in or around Sampeng Lane, Bangkok, Thailand by Samantha Brown.

Plenty of old-style shops remain lining Sampeng Lane. Photo: Samantha Brown

Sampeng Lane consists of a narrow footway that stretches for about a kilometre, with shops and their produce spilling onto it along both sides, plus little alleys running off the main lane, all of which are worth exploring as well. Interestingly, like Hanoi’s Old Quarter streets, some of these little secondary lanes (trok) have names that indicate what they are said to have originally sold. You really are likely to get lost, but that’s really part of the whole experience. It used to be absolutely stifling and sweaty and unpleasant to shop along Sampeng—we’d be in and out as quickly as we could—but a plastic awning now covers most of the main stretch of market, and with so many of the shops air-conditioned inside, the coolness spills into the little thoroughfare. Watch your achilles heels, as some things never change: The trolley-pushers stop for noone.

While it’s often referred to as a wholesale market, and wholesalers do indeed come here to snap up items they’ll sell elsewhere, we found most shops more than happy to sell individual items—just know that it’s possible some won’t, and you’ll get a better price, and be in a stronger bargaining position, when you buy more of a particular thing. If prices are marked though, don’t bargain. Sometimes there’s simply a retail and wholesale price, with no bargaining ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to Travelfish.org to read the rest of this article, or log in here.


Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


By .





How to get there
Sampeng Lane runs from Songwat Road to the east through to Chakraphet Rd in the west, parallel to Yaowarat Rd.

Sampeng Lane
Sampeng Lane (Soi Wanit 1), Bangkok
Open daily, around 09:00–17:00
Admission: Free

Location map for Sampeng Lane

Book a flight, train, bus, taxi or ferry in Thailand with 12Go Asia
From:
To:     


Start planning your holiday today

Sent every Monday, our newsletter is full of travel advice, news & special deals. Read past issues.

   

Popular attractions in Bangkok

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Bangkok.



Best places to stay in Bangkok

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Bangkok.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Bangkok.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Bangkok.
 Read up on how to get to Bangkok, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Bangkok? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.


See below for more sights and activities in Bangkok that are listed on Travelfish.org.


Top of page


Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Bangkok? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.


Top of page