Known locally as Yaowarat, Bangkok’s bustling Chinatown is an experience not to be missed for foodies and adventurers alike.
Named for the Yaowarat Road which runs through its heart, Chinatown is located in Samphanthawong District at the core of old Bangkok near the banks of the majestic Chao Phraya river.
Entry to Chinatown is via an immense, elaborate gateway which leads into the hub of Bangkok’s Chinese community.
The atmosphere is wonderfully chaotic, the streets crammed with people and enticing sights and smells. Street vendors peddle their wares — Chinatown is known as one of the best places in Bangkok for street food — and exotic restaurants and frenzied markets abound.
Chinatown is home to some of the best restaurants, bars and coffee shops in the city.
The best way to get there is by taking the Chao Phraya River Express boat to Ratchawong Pier, and then walking from Ratchawong Road to Yaowarat Road.
Here’s our guide to the top places in Chinatown to tantalize your tastebuds and indulge yourself…
- 1 Coffee Shops and Tea Rooms
- 2 Bars
- 3 Restaurants
Coffee Shops and Tea Rooms
Double Dogs Tea Room serves fine teas in a serene ambiance — perfect for taking a break from the hectic streets outside.
Speciality teas are carefully selected and imported from all over Asia — including from Japan, China and Sri Lanka — and are presented in pretty ceramic pots.
This is also a good place to come for a quick bite to eat, as the rice and noodle dishes are excellent too, as well as the sweet treats such as cakes and ice cream on offer.
- Location: 406 Yaowarat Road
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 13:00 – 21:00
- Friday to Sunday 13:00 – 22:00
Located just outside Chinatown, BIY Coffee Bar offers an enhanced coffee experience.
A variety of hand roasted beans for drip coffee lovers are available here from countries all around the world including Ethiopia, Colombia and Brazil, as well as those home grown on Thai soil.
- Location: 2nd Floor Prime Central Station Hotel, 23/34 Trimit Road Taladnoi Sampantawong
- Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday 10:30 – 18:30
This super hip industrial chic style coffee shop is the place to come to sample some of the best coffee in Bangkok.
Quality speciality coffees are hand roasted and come with a choice of delectable treats such as Nutella Lava cookies and buttermilk pancakes to enjoy on the side.
- Location: 45 Rama 4 Rd, Pomprab
- Opening Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday 10:00 – 21:00
- Friday 10:00 – 22:00
- Saturday 10:00 – 20:00
- Sunday 10:30 – 18:00
Also featuring a modern industrial loft style decor — this time in calming nuances of grey — Wanderlust Coffee and Eatery is a great place to relax and drink artisanal Thai coffee away from the all the commotion.
It’s also a great place for some creative brunch and dinner Melbourne Style, with dishes including a juicy pulled beef tenderloin burger with Cajun sauce and 4 hours roasted pork belly on the menu.
- Location: 149 – 151 Rama4 Road
- Opening Hours: 08:00 – 20:00 Monday to Thursday
- 08:00 – 22:00 Friday to Sunday
For a taste of some truly traditional Thai coffee, Eiah-Sae tucked away on the back streets of Chinatown is the place to go.
This coffee shop has a history stretching back over more than 85 years, and it’s full of nostalgia.
The time honoured Thai black coffee — strong and sweet with condensed milk is the drink of choice here, and there is also a small selection of simple Thai sweet treats available.
- Location: 101-103 Yaowarat Passai Rd
- Opening Hours: 04:00 – 20:30 every day
Heady Thai style cocktails are a must try at this stylish little Speakeasy bar down a narrow lane in Charoenkrung.
The decor is cosy, and there’s even an in house Thai xylophone band for entertainment.
The extensive cocktail list is laced with drinks featuring Thai herbal liquors, such as ‘Like a Virgin’ — a heady mixture of white rum, homemade lemongrass syrup, and ginger. Snacks are served up tapas style, and include deep fried baby bamboo and sun dried beef with crispy Thai basil.
- Location: 69-71 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung, Pom Prap
- Opening Hours: 17:00 – 00:00 Sunday to Thursday
- 17:00 – 01:00 Friday and Saturday
If you’ve got a taste for mother’s ruin, head down to Teens of Thailand to try out some of the best gin to be found in Bangkok amongst a backdrop of saucy photos and traditional Thai furniture.
This trendy bar whips up some very fine gin cocktails accompanied by a select playlist.
Highlights include the homemade gins infused with local ingredients and spices, and house special cocktails mixed with ginger and ume bitters, or rose water and citrus cream.
- Location: 76 Soi Nana (Rammaitree), Pom Prap
- Opening Hours: 19:00 – 00:00 Sunday to Thursday
- 19:00 – 01:00 Friday and Saturday
Everything Asian is available for your drinking pleasure at Rabbit Hill, a stylish little bar with sumptuous retro Chinese decor.
Japanese whiskeys and sake take their place on the drinks menu, alongside a good selection of Chinese beers.
Delicious Chinese snacks such as braised abalone and deep fried chicken are homemade, and there’s a live band at weekends playing Western and Chinese pop songs.
- Location: 1 Santiphap Road, Pom Prap
- Opening Hours: Daily from 17:00 – 00:00
As you might expect, this artsy two storey bar is also a gallery, and the walls are smothered in works of contemporary art.
The laid back vibe here is perfect for relaxing with an icy local beer or one of the many other drinks and cocktails on offer.
23 Bar and Gallery pulls in a young hipster crowd and the music is chilled with DJs often playing live sets at weekends.
- Location: 92 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung Road
- Opening Hours: Every day from 20:00 – 01:00
Píjiǔ means ‘beer’ in Mandarin, and Píjiǔ bar has one of the largest selections of craft beers in Bangkok — both local and international.
The simple retro Chinese decor is cosy and the atmosphere convivial. Choose from bottled beer or one of the seven beers on tap that change regularly.
- Location: 16 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung
Touted as one of the best ‘undiscovered’ restaurants in Bangkok, Jok Kitchen nevertheless draws in a big crowd thanks to the restaurant’s sensational food.
This tiny eatery can only accommodate a maximum of 16 people, and each day chefs create a mystery menu of Thai and Chinese seafood dishes for diners to enjoy.
Multiple unpretentious but delicious dishes such as steamed bass in soy sauce, spicy lemongrass salad with prawns, and steamed fresh crab make up the set menu.
- Location: 23 Soi Isara Nuphap, Phlab Phla Chai Road
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11:30 – 15:00, and 18:00 – 22:00
Lek & Rut Seafood
Situated right on the street slap bang in the middle of the frenzied chaos of Yaowarat Road, Lek and Rut might not be the most relaxed place to eat, but dining here offers a matchless experience — especially some of the best seafood in Chinatown can be found here.
Grilled fresh river prawns, fried curried crab, stuffed scallops, steamed fish with lime, and seafood Tom Yam are just some of the dishes on offer, or you can choose from a wide selection of fresh seafood and watch whilst it is cooked in front of you.
- Location: Intersection of Yaowarat and Padungdao Roads
- Opening Hours: Every day from 16:30 – 02:00
Cantonese and Szechuan cuisines are the focus at Siang Ping Loh, as well as some tempting dim sum.
This traditional Chinese restaurant is situated on the 8th floor of the elegant Grand China Hotel, and is highly regarded as one of the best places to eat authentic Chinese food.
Springy steamed pork dumplings, lightly steamed fish with soy sauce, deep fried fruit salad and decadent Peking duck are some of our favourites.
- Location: Grand China Hotel, 215 Yaowarat Road, Sampanthawong
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11:00 – 14:30, and 18:00 – 22:30
For some, a visit to Chinatown Bangkok isn’t complete without filling their belly at Hua Seng Hong. One of the most famous restaurants on Yaowarat, Hua Seng Hong has a reputation for hearty Chinese dishes — as well as some rarer but morally debatable recipes such as sharks fin soup.
Offerings are plentiful and tasty, with goose feet, crab noodles, oyster omelette and roast duck playing starring roles on the menu.
- Location: 371-373 Yaowarat Road
- Opening Hours: Every day from 09:30 – 01:00
Tang Jai Yoo
Without a doubt it’s the signature dish of achingly tender, crispy skinned whole roast suckling pig that is the shining star at Tang Jai Yoo. It’s so good in fact that it has made this otherwise unassuming Chinatown restaurant world famous.
Not only that, but the rest of the food here is excellent too – particularly the seafood – from the juicy fried oyster omelettes, to the crabmeat fried rice.
- Location: 85-89 Yaowarat Road
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11:00 – 14:00 and 16:30 – 22:00
It might seem strange to go to Chinatown just to eat a sandwich, but at 2nd Yard Sandwich and Bar the sandwiches here are so good you’ll be pleased you made the effort.
The menu may not be vast, but it is filled with tempting suggestions such as freshwater eel with grilled green pepper and Ponzu sauce, and the parmesan crusted smoked bacon grilled sandwich with scrambled eggs, gooey mozzarella, mustard sauce and caramelised onions.
- Location: 763 Charoen Krung Road
- Opening Hours: Daily from 16:00 – 23:00
Offering unparalleled views across Bangkok from its dizzyingly high vantage point, the revolving restaurant Sky View 360 at the Grand China Hotel offers up multiple cuisines including Thai, Indian, Japanese, Chinese and international with live music to accompany the spectacular city vista.
- Location: Grand China Hotel, 215 Yaowarat Road
- Opening Hours: Daily from 18:00 – 01:00
This cute little cafe is filled with the owner’s handicrafts, including characterful vegetable shaped cushions and adorable crockery decorated with smiling alpacas.
Polka Dot milkshakes with vanilla ice cream and marshmallows are an example of the equally cutesy beverages available, and rainbow spotted iced doughnuts are some of the sweet offerings.
There are savoury options too, such as nourishing homemade soups and salads.
- Location: 78-80 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung Soi 22
- Opening Hours: Thursday to Tuesday from 10:00 – 21:00
For a taste of Spain in Chinatown, El Chiringuito is the place to be.
Cosy and chic and authentically Spanish in style, the restaurant and bar has the perfect ambience to enjoy some fabulous tapas dishes such as patatas bravas, pinto bean tortillas, and Spanish omelette — all washed down with some refreshingly tangy Sangria.
- Location: 221 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung Road
- Opening Hours: Thursday to Sunday from 18:00 – 00:00
Situated in Bangkok Chinatown’s oldest residential building — an architect’s apartment to be exact — Nang Gin Kui presents an elegant private dining experience with panoramic views out across the Chao Phraya river.
Food is a multi-course Thai fusion set menu inspired by luscious Thai Royal cuisine as well as international cuisine and dishes from all over Asia.
Dishes are beautifully presented and beautifully flavoured, and the warm and welcoming ambience makes for a perfect dining experience.
- Location: 868 Soi Vanit 2., Charoen Krung Soi 20,
Be transported back in time to the glory days of 1930s Shanghai at Cotton restaurant, where the impressive decor is rich and sultry and the dim sum is second to none.
An excellent all you can eat dim sum buffet is served at lunchtimes, and the indulgent a la carte menu boasts opulent dishes such as squid ink egg noodles with Chinese kale and crab claws and soup with sea cucumber, abalone, dried scallops, ginseng and Chinese herbs.
The cocktails are pretty amazing too.
- Location: Shanghai Mansion Hotel, 479-481 Yaowarat Road
A long standing player on Chinatown’s food scene, Yim Yim’s modest surroundings hide a jewel in the crown amongst Bangkok’s Chinese restaurants.
Mouth-watering elaborate Chinese specialities such as ham with crispy goat’s skin and piles of giant crab claws steamed with ginger vie for attention amongst simpler and more humble — but equally good — dishes like stewed goose feet noodles and oyster omelette.
- Location: 89 Padsai Road, Sampanthawong, Yaowarat
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11:00 – 22:00
Kuay Jab Nai Huan
No visit to Bangkok’s Chinatown would be complete without sampling some street food, and one of the most quintessential street food dishes is Kuay Jab — a peppery, lightly spicy soup of rice noodles with fresh herbs, garlic and either pork or tofu.
One of the best places to chow down on some Kuay Jab is at Kuay Jab Nai Huan, where the chef is famous for his pork noodles. It’s a truly authentic — and tasty — Thai street food experience.
- Location: 442 Yaowarat Road at the corner of Yaowarat Soi 9
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 18:00 – 00:30
What would you add to our Chinatown Bangkok guide?
Featured image is by Marco Nürnberger (CC BY 2.0 licence)