, Thailand

The rhythm of Yaowarat

Bangkok’s Chinatown is a feast for the senses

By Kenny Mah

One tuk tuk after another fly by us. Street vendors push their carts of mangoes and pomegranates. The aroma and song of chestnuts being roasted in a large wok. A canopy of cables above our heads. Some shops sell gold, others shark’s fin. It’s nothing we are interested in.

But to be part of the masses, the throng flowing like river sludge, well, there is a steady rhythm to this. We are forced to slow down and when we do, we see more of what surrounds us. Mangoes and pomegranates. Chestnuts and tuk tuks. Shiny metal and dull cartilage.

For a brief moment, we are part of a greater world. How humbling, how sacred this is.

We continue walking, our rhythm matching that of the streets, the stalls, the sights and the sounds.

Yaowarat เยาวราช
Chinatown, Yaowarat Road, Samphanthawong, Bangkok, Thailand
Getting there
Bangkok’s Chinatown can be found along Yaowarat Road and its surrounding streets such as Charoen Krung Road and Phat Sai. To get there, take the MRT (underground train) to the Hualamphong station; from there, it’s an easy tuk tuk ride to Yaowarat.

Started more than a century ago, the Yaowarat Chinatown is home to Bangkok’s Thai-Chinese community. Food – such as roasted chestnuts (kao lat; เกาลัด) and freshly pressed pomegranate (tab tim; ทับทิม) juice – is a major attraction.