Top 10 Shopping in Chinatown
Best Places to Shop in Chinatown
Shopping in Chinatown has a timeless quality to it and offers the perfect antidote to the modern mega-malls that are springing up in other areas of Bangkok. Here, tradition prevails and it possible to get lost down alleyways with traders selling the same specialist merchandise as their forefathers did generations ago. Prices are probably the cheapest you can find in the city, but bargaining is necessary and it can certainly get too hot and hectic for some, so we recommend taking it slow, stopping frequently to snack and drink, and enjoying the craziness of shopping in Chinatown with our Top 10 Guide.
Sampeng Lane is a long narrow street intersecting Chinatown selling a jumble of goods. Much like the rest of the area, Sampeng Lane is cluttered, chaotic and a lot of fun. The dimensions of this street are so limited, in certain parts, you could stretch out across the alley and grab a pair of flip-flops in one hand and a Christmas tree in the other, yet unbelievably this was the original high street of Chinatown when the Chinese community first moved here. You can find everything and anything on Sampeng Lane, although locating it might be a problem.
2Old Siam Plaza
- Open: 09:00 - 18:00 (every day)
- Location: Chakraphek Road and Sampleng Lane, Chinatown
- How to get there: Running parallel south of Yaowarat (the main street) walk south along Sampeng Lane.
Old Siam Plaza is a shopping arcade in a lovingly restored European-style building. Sitting on the western edge of Chinatown shoppers will find an eclectic mix of shops and food stalls here. The two domed atriums are split between fashion items on one side and traditional Thai snacks on the other. Upstairs there are several speciality wedding tailors and accessory boutiques while on the outside of the shopping centre there are several weapons and ammunitions shops selling guns, knives and hunting gear – you must have a license to buy weapons. Nevertheless, this is an excellent (and air conditioned) shopping experience.
- Open: 09:00 to 18:30
- Address: on the corner of Charoen Krung Road and Triphet Street.
Itsaraphap Lane is a narrow, partially covered walking street which runs from the Chao Phraya River up to Leng Noi Yee Temple, the most important Chinese temple in Thailand. Along this street you will get a fascinating glimpse into everyday trading of all manner of dry goods: nuts, herbs, spices... and many more things you can only guess about! The most hectic stretch of Itsaraphap Lane is between Yaowarat and Leng Noi Yee Temple and is highly recommended. The cardboard cars, phones, and clothes are made especially for funerals so that family members might have them in the next life. For a great souvenir, we recommend buying some tea from around here.
- Open: 09:00 - 18:00 (every day)
- How to get there: The easiest way to find Itsaraphap Lane is to look for the large Tesco Lotus Supermarket on Yaowarat. The lane runs next to it up to Leng Noi Yee Temple.
It’s not the most welcoming name for a market – perhaps why they changed the official name to Nakon Kasem – but seriously intriguing, Thieves Market doesn’t actually sell stolen goods anymore, instead it is full of second-hand curios like antique cameras, Buddhist amulets, and even old shoes! It’s far more interesting for photographers than for shoppers, but you really never know what you might find. Thieves Market is between Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road on the western edge of Chinatown.
5Flashlight Market (Khlong Thom)
- Open: 08:00 – 17:00
- Location: Thieves Market, between Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road
Best known for secondhand goods and assorted knick-knacks, Klong Thom Market sees action every Saturday from 17:00 onwards, and continues going until Sunday's early evening. Formerly known as 'Flashlight Market' due to the fact that buyers will need a flashlight to see the goods, this market is especially crowded on late Saturday night. Covering areas of Luang, Worachak and Charoenkrung, Suar Pa Roads, Klong Thom has everything from car spare parts, DVDs and CDs, electronic devices to clothing items and toys. Besides the roadside stalls, there's also a three-storey Klong Thom Centre (close to Worachak Road) where car accessories and toys are on sale. If you want to avoid the crowd, best time to go is Sunday morning from 8:00 until 11.00.
6Pahurat (little India)
- Open: Saturday 17:00 until Sunday 17:00 (a few traders open every day)
- Location: corner of Worachak Road and Chao Kamrop Road
Also known as Little India, this market is frequented by few tourists but is nonetheless bustling with locals. Once crossing Chakraphek Road you will enter Pahurat. Within these first few blocks lay Pahurat's textile-selling action, so choose one of the many small alleyways and dive into the heart of it all. The labyrinth of narrow lanes gives way to plentiful rolls of textiles such as silk, cotton, wool and cashmere in all kinds of colours, each to be brought at a good rate.
7Saphan Lek Market
- Open: 09:00 - 18:00 (every day)
- Location: Running parallel south of Yaowarat (the main street) walk south along Sampeng Lane.
- Address: Chakraphek Road and Sampleng Lane, Chinatown
It is thought that certain customs duties haven't been paid on most of the items here, and therefore bargain hunters can save up to 40% off department store prices. Bootleg software, pirated videos, unlicensed cassette tapes; these are just some of the things that you can find crammed into the aisles that make up Bangkok's Talat Saphan Lek. Just to the west of Chinatown, The 200-metre-long aisles, which run along both banks of the canal, stretch from Charoen Krung or New Road south to Yaowarat Rd.
- Open: 09:00 – 18:00
- Location: Iron Bridge Market. The market itself is built on a large metal bridge over Ohng Ang Canal in the Wang Burapha
Talat Kao is a 200 year old market and was the original fresh trading area for the first Chinese settlers to this area. These days everything is still far more modern, with a walking street vibe (although plenty of motorbikes and tuk-tuks will be beeping their way through the foot traffic). At the beginning of the market area there is a congregation of fruit stalls where you can buy seasonal fruits at some of the cheapest prices and deeper into the market you will find an array of dried goods for sale and some hard to find snacks, such as pak mor, a steamed coconut snack.
- Address: Itsaraphap Lane (south of Yaowarat, opposite Tesco Supermarket)
Balanna Plaza is neatly tucked down the narrow shopping area of Samepeng Lane and is solely dedicated to shoes. Brands such as Nike, Converse, Vans and Campus can be picked up here for a fraction of the 'normal' price and there is the wholesale option too. Other styles of shoes include ladies' sandals and flip-flops. Bartering is common, especially if you intend to buy several items. Do beware of fakes though.
10Hua Seng Heng
- Open: 382-386 Vanish Rd, Sampeng
There is no better place to buy gold in Bangkok other than Yaowarat Road, and one of the best options along this road is Hua Seng Heng. This 50-year-old shop trades in high quality gold ornaments, believed to be 96.5% pure, and has built up a reputation as a trustworthy gold dealer. It is worth noting that there are hundreds of gold shops
- Open: 09:30-16:00 (closed on Sundays)
- Location: Yaowarat Rd
- Address: 401 – 407 Yaowarat Rd and Pang Name Rd.
- Telephone: +66 (0) 225 0202