Yaowarat Road

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China Town
Soi Wanit 1, The main market street
Yaowarat Road at night

Yaowarat Road (Thai: ถนนเยาวราช) in Samphanthawong district is home to Bangkok's Chinatown, which is centred on Sam Pheng Lane (ซอยสำเพ็ง numbered as Soi Wanit 1.) Chinatown's Sam Pheng Market (ตลาดสำเพ็ง) is an old business centre noted for a post-WW II visit by the young king Ananda Mahidol.[1] Modern Chinatown now covers a large area around Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road. There are many small streets and alleys full of shops and vendors selling all types of goods. It has been the main centre for trading by the Chinese community since they moved from their old site some 200 years ago to make way for the construction of Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace. Nearby is the Phahurat or Indian market, and the area is bordered by the Chao Phraya River to the south. Yaowarat Road is also well known for its sheer variety of food, and at night turns into a large "food street" that draws tourists and locals from all over the city.

History[edit]

Chinatown is located in one of the oldest areas of Bangkok. It represents the resettlement of Chinese on the Western bank of Chao Phraya river after Rama I moved the capital of the kingdom from Thonburi to Rattanakosin. From there Chinese traders operated maritime junk trade between (Siam) and China throughout the Rattanakosin period.[2] By the end of 1891, King Rama V had ordered the construction of many roads, including Yaowarat Road. Chinatown does not consist of only Yaowarat Road, but also includes others such as: Charoen Krung Road, Mungkorn Road, Songwat Road, Songsawat Road, Chakkrawat Road, etc. Yaowarat's Sam Peng Market is the center of the area. The path of the road is said to resemble a dragon's curvy body, making it an auspicious location for business. There are many shops selling gold, garments, textiles, stationery, souvenirs, second-hand parts and equipment, electric goods, computer parts, antiques, imported musical instruments and local delicacies.

Land prices around Yaowarat Road have always been one of the most expensive in Bangkok and Thailand due to limited land which is mostly owned by prominent Thai-Chinese families who are often leaders in their respective industries.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Banknotes, Series 15". Banknotes > History and Series of Banknotes >. Bank of Thailand. March 3, 2003. Retrieved March 3, 2012. "Back — The portrait of HM the King Ananda Mahidoll[sic] with the picture of HM proceeding to visit people at Sam Peng and Illustration of Rama VII Brid[g]e" 
  2. ^ Van Roy, Edward. Sampheng: Bangkok's Chinatown Inside Out. Bangkok: Asian Studies Institute of Chulalongkorn University, 2007

Coordinates: 13°44′28″N 100°30′30″E / 13.741136°N 100.508305°E / 13.741136; 100.508305