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posted by The Bangkok Consultant
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Chinatown is great. The area is based on, and around, Yaowarat Road; a long main road which contains the easily recognisable neon lights. The adjacent road, which is sometimes overlooked, is called Charoen Krung Road, and forms the other slice of our metaphorical sandwich of restaurants and shops. Between the two are some great little eateries catering to all kinds of shellfish demands, as well as some fantastic places selling takeaway roast duck, which is top class. A breast of duck (enough for two) will set you back about 90 baht and is great with some sticky rice and dip.
Spend an hour wandering the market where you can pick up pretty much everything from kiddies toys to decorative ornaments. There are some great health food stores, if you know what you’re looking for, and even a nostalgic little shop selling Western goodies like Jacobs Crackers and HP Sauce.
There's not much in the way of nightlife, aside from the after dark restaurants, or the occasional show during the Vegetarian Festival. There is an impressive selection of street vendors selling all kinds of appealing Chinese confectionary and cooked foods.
When arriving via the Hua Lamphong MRT station (exit 3); it's about a 5 minute walk to the top of the road, past Wat Traimit (which is worth a look), to the Chinatown Gate. It takes about 10-15 minutes to walk to the end, without stopping, until you see Mega Plaza Wangburapa.
When arriving by river taxi, you'll arrive at Rachawong Pier (Rachawong Road), which will have you about half way up Yaowarat Road. Sometimes it's easier to arrive via the subway and return using the river taxi and vice versa. Once you leave the pier, you'll see a market on your left called Sampeng Market, but unless you are interested in browsing, I wouldn't bother using it as cut through to Phaharut because it's slow going.
You can easily spend half a day in Chinatown browsing or a full day if you turn left at Mega Plaza, until you get to Phahurat Road, where you begin to enter the Indian enclave.