Photo Tour of Bangkok’s Yaowarat Chinatown

By Mark Wiens 41 Comments
Bangkok's Yaowarat Chinatown - A Place of Never Ending Action
Bangkok’s Yaowarat Chinatown – A Place of Never Ending Action

Bangkok’s Yaowarat Chinatown (เยาวราช) is one of the most amusing areas of the city.

Every visit is an arousing overdose of all senses. The constant throbbing energy of shopping paired with the steam of delicious food being prepared street side is an irresistible combination.

Yaowarat hosts a number of annual festivals
Yaowarat hosts a number of annual festivals

While Yaowarat is a bustling part of Bangkok (video) each and everyday, it is also the epicenter of a few annual festivals such as Chinese New Years and the famous Thai vegetarian festival which makes things even more hectic.

Yaowarat, Bangkok, Thailand
Street food vendors are positioned everywhere

Despite the hordes of people that trek through the winding markets, street food vendors position themselves in highly inconvenient for shoppers, yet highly successful for sales, positions.

Human traffic jams are an inevitable part of visiting Bangkok Chinatown.

Classic Vespa Motorbikes Rule
Classic Vespa Motorbikes Rule

Vespas rule Yaowarat.

And though walkways and streets are continually clogged with shoppers and vendors, somehow motorbike delivery men seem to zip through the action without crashing into anybody (but coming frighteningly close).

Duck and Durian, now that's an attractive combo
Duck and Durian, now that’s an attractive combo

Smoked and dried duck and pig faces, and fresh high quality durian are among the mishmash of wonderful looking (and smelling) things to feast your eyes and belly upon in Yaowarat.

Chinese Temple in Yaowarat, Bangkok, Thailand
Chinese Temple in Yaowarat, Bangkok, Thailand

Chinese Buddhism mixed with lots of traditional Thai and Chinese beliefs is the dominating religion throughout Yaowarat. Within the area there are both Thai Buddhist temples and Chinese Buddhist Taoist temples.

Delicious street food is always available in Yaowarat
Delicious street food is always available in Yaowarat

Just as in any Chinatown in the world, Chinese food or a fusion of Asian cuisine is an integral component. Yaowarat has many restaurant dining options and an great selection of Bangkok street food hawkers.

Food tour Yaowarat Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand
A tantalizing selection of Yaowarat specialities

Whether you’re hungry for rice noodle rolls swimming in intensely porky broth (kuay jab), or a variety of Thai Chinese style dishes, Yaowarat won’t let you down.

It was a number of years ago that I enjoyed my first ever bowl of bird’s nest soup in Yaowarat (bottom left) – I could instantly feel the health and rejuvenation surging through my veins!

Night is when Yaowarat comes alive!
Night is when Yaowarat comes alive!

Daytime in Yaowarat is market time, but night is when the action of street food gets really popping.

Vespas make way for tuk-tuks that control the night.

Night food tour in Yaowarat, Chinatown Bangkok
Night food tour in Yaowarat, Chinatown Bangkok

Nighttime in Yaowarat is a never ending sea of foldable tables and plastic chairs, shadowed by bright Chinese signs and the dizzying flow of traffic that never comes to a halt.

A beautiful smorgasbord of exotic and tasty cuisine!
A beautiful smorgasbord of exotic and tasty cuisine!

But again, it’s the food that makes visiting Yaowarat at night one of the top things to do in Bangkok – there’s an enticing selection that never fails to entertain the stomach.

Seafood, noodles, bird’s nest soup, suckling pig and the creme de la creme of all durian, are all passionately represented throughout Chinatown Bangkok (video).

I particularly enjoy raw mantis prawns (top right) soaked in fish sauce, raw garlic and fiery chillies.

Possibly the luckiest dog in the world!
Possibly the luckiest dog in the world!

Though there’s a distinct durian season in Thailand, Yaowarat is one location in Bangkok where you can get durian of utmost quality year round.

The reason I like the photo above so much is because the vendor was feeding her little white dog pieces of durian – this is perhaps the luckiest dog in the world!

Even if you just have one day in Bangkok, the markets, the street food and restaurants, the constant energy and the hustle of business makes Yaowarat Chinatown an enthralling area to visit.



41 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Wong

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    I will be going to Bangkok few days time and will stay in China town for few nights, hope you could give me few tips around that area. It is my first time in Bangkok!

    Thanks in advance

    Regards

    Wong

  • John Ng

    5 years ago

    What can I say? Those pictures are excellent products of photography….and the food it blows the mind. It is a pity that I didn’t try the night food of Yaowarat this year but definitely do it in 2014 when I go to BKK again. Thanks for sharing, Mark!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thank you very much for the kind comment John! Glad to hear you’ll be coming back to Bangkok to devour all the wonderful food in Yaowarat in the evening!

  • Simon Tan

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    Enjoyed your post. Will be Thailand next 2 weeks with my family. Will definitely try out your recommendations.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Simon, thank you very much for checking out this post and hope you have a great visit to Thailand soon!

  • Nico

    5 years ago

    Some great photos. Can’t say I’m a big fan of Durian though…

  • ciki

    5 years ago

    If you want to get to the heart of the matter and know the people, go to Chinatown market.. or any city’s market for that matter! That’s were the pulse of the metropolis is ! Lovely post Mark!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      I fully agree Mei, thanks for checking this out!

  • David @ That Gay Backpacker

    5 years ago

    Inexplicably, I love all kinds of ridiculous tat like Hello Kitty balloons. And I love street food. So I’m pretty sure, I’m going to fall in love with Bangkok’s Chinatown HARD. Excited to visit!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Yes David, I think you’ll love this area, always something amusing and something tasty to sample!

  • Matthew Karsten

    5 years ago

    So much color & motion! I can only imagine what it smells like too… Can’t wait to visit later this winter!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Matthew, when will you be visiting Bangkok? I know you’ll take some stunning photos!

  • Sirinan Robkob

    5 years ago

    I love all the photos…..Yaowarat has always been one of my favorite places in Bangkok… always busy and restless..your pictures show exactly what it’s like with all those movements… Good photographer indeed 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Awesome, thank you so much Sirinan, and great to hear you also love Yaowarat!

  • Marius

    5 years ago

    I love this post of chinatown Bangkok.

    Looking at the pictures brings back good memories.
    I realy love Bangkok but my next holiday in 2013 will be China.
    Already see myself sitting with a bowl of Guilin noodles in front of that lotus pond.

    Keep up the work with tasting all that great food, so i can enjoy this great website, all over again.

    Greetings Marius

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Marius, thank you so much for your support. Great to hear you’ll be going to China next holiday, there are so many interesting things to do and see and eat. Those Guilin noodles are awesome, hope you can get that same meal!

  • Arti

    5 years ago

    What a photo tour! You have captured the essence of the streets perfectly, it felt like I was there roaming around with you!!
    Have a nice day Mark 🙂

  • Maria

    5 years ago

    Scroll down, scroll up and back through again… I’m getting every sound, scent and vibration from the energy pictured here. Fantastic.

  • Agness

    5 years ago

    I was in China Town in Bangkok last week 😉 We had a great fun and had a wonderful food. The best place to dine out on a budget in Bangkok, that’s for sure. Great photos Mark!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Agness, great to hear you were in Bangkok and experienced Chinatown. Great food and awesome atmosphere too!

      • BRIAN JACKSON

        5 years ago

        HELLO MARK,
        ENJOY WATCHING YOU AND READING YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT THAIFOOD AND THAI LIFE. I BEEN TRAVELLING TO THAILAND FOR 25 YEARS AND ALSO WORKED THERE. I AM HUGE FAN OFF LARP GAI, WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE EATING THE BESTS LARP GAI IN THAILAND..

  • Jodi

    5 years ago

    Well it was a huge mistake to read this prior to eating dinner. As always, your posts make me both nostalgic for Thailand and extremely hungry. Still dreaming of curried crab from the last time I was there. Nom.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Jodi, thanks for taking a look and glad it brought back some positive Bangkok memories for you. I just saw your post about heading to Vietnam, so maybe we’ll get to enjoy some food together in the future!

  • Turkey’s For Life

    5 years ago

    A fab set of photos. Really enjoyed this post. Passed your blog to a couple of friends who are off to Thailand in the New Year. They’re gonna love these photos! 🙂
    Julia

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed, thank you so much for sharing!

  • Lauren Heineck

    5 years ago

    Great photo summary Mark! Really captures the feeling of the area, I particularly love the photo of the tuk tuk. Having spent two nights and one morning of our six days in Bangkok wandering up and down and eating along Yaowarat, I can testify to your recommendations!! We loved the cockles, Chinese sweet dumplings and durian.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Lauren, thank you very much for the comment. Wow, you got all the good stuff, cockles and durian. Glad you had a wonderful time in Bangkok!