Photo: This is Chinatown.

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A walk around Chinatown

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Chinatown, known locally as Yaowarat, is arguably the most fascinating part of Bangkok. Exceptional food and cheap goods line the lanes, incense smoke coils from shrines and generational businesses persist in old shophouses. Seeing as it’s also crowded, hot and difficult to navigate, we’ve come up with a walking tour to help you explore with some strategy.

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This ambitious itinerary will take you on a roughly four-kilometre loop through Chinatown and its neighbour, Pahurat (or Little India), with stops at markets, shrines, temples and food stalls. Come ready to dodge pushcarts as you bend through tight spaces packed with people, and don’t fret if you get lost. The entirety of Chinatown, rather than individual sites, is the main attraction.

Scary eyes at Boonsamakan Vegetarian Hall. Photo taken in or around A walk around Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Scary eyes at Boonsamakan Vegetarian Hall. Photo: David Luekens

So without taking all of this too seriously, start with a Chao Phraya river ferry to Ratchawong Pier and walk straight away from the river on Ratchawong Road. Take a quick left (west) on Anuwong Road and then a right (north) into the second alley on the right, marked by Novltex Textile at the corner. Walk straight north from here, passing several other small textile shops, and you’ll find the red gate to Boonsamakan Vegetarian Hall at the end of the lane.

Meat is strictly prohibited at this small shrine that’s a focal point for the annual vegetarian festival. Decked out in ocher and red, it boasts beautiful woodcarvings, red-eyed dragons and an altar enshrining spirit images, and the lot out front is used for Chinese opera performances on occasion. From here, take the alley running west and hang a quick right and then left, which will deposit you on Maha Chak Road. Across the street from this point is the entrance to Wat Chakrawat, a 19th-century Thai temple best known for the three full-grown crocodiles that laze around as monks dutifully clean ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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