The archway marking the main entrance to Bangkok’s Chinatown precinct is an easy stroll from Hua Lampong rail and Metro stations. Although the district is noted for the massive gold Buddha at Wat Traimit and the diversity of its dining venues, there is plenty more to see and do.
Sampeng Lane runs parallel with one of the main roads through Chinatown, Thanon Yaowarat. Apart from the cars parked along the street, Sampeng is a throwback to more than a century ago. Most of the buildings along the street date from the time after the first Chinese settlers arrived. Merchants run shops that offer herbal remedies, gold and traditional household products and ornaments. Eateries selling noodle dishes are interspersed with street vendors offering fried delicacies.
Wat Chakrawat is a temple with a group of very unusual inhabitants. Ponds at the temple are home to a bask of crocodiles and visitors are always advised to keep their hands away. The temple also features a collection of buildings that illustrate how the designs of religious structures have evolved over the past 200 years.
At Wat Tramit, the Samphanthawong Museum is a must for culture vultures. Exhibits and displays at the museum, some with English language signage, trace the history of the first Chinese pioneers to settle in Bangkok and follow the lives of their descendants and heritage. The 1Stop Bangkok attractions guide lists the main highlights for tourists.