‘How to Travel Like a Local’ Series

Thailand – the land of smiles and home to a great array of culture, entertainment and beautiful beaches. As a tourist in Thailand it can be very difficult to know which places to go to and how not to get ripped off. Of course, there are the touristy places that everyone has to visit such as the sandy beaches of Koh Samui, the temples and the Grand Palace in Bangkok. However, there are some things locals do that tourists should pick up as well. In these series of posts, Aashi Morakhiya will write about some of the top things to do if you plan to travel to Bangkok, Koh Samui and Phuket.

Bangkok’s China Town

The streets of YaoRat are as busy as ever. The morning sun begins to shine in all its glory, while people bustle about shopping, selling and eating. The China Town (YaoRat) of Bangkok is on almost every tourist’s to-do list when they visit this city. Bangkok is known for its cheap shopping areas and exquisite quality the YaoRat market proudly boasts very authentic and ‘real’ fakes at astonishingly cheap prices. Other than shopping, the road-stall coffees,drinks and foods are other aspects that keep everyone coming back for more.

China Town © bangkok.com
China Town © bangkok.com

In the 87°F (30°C) heat, it is best to start off by buying a cold rejuvenating drink from one of the abundant street stalls. Perhaps a cold fresh fruit juice or the sweet Thai tea which comes in an orange color and is made of sugar, tea and evaporated milk – served in a cup of ice. With the refreshing drink in hand, make your way down the main road past all the gold shops until you reach a small lane on the right hand side. The lane is filled with bright oranges, beautiful kiwis and other exotic fruits such as dragon fruit, lychee and rambutan. On the corner of this lane stands a man with a machine which roasts delicious chestnuts. As you walk down to the end of the fruit lane, there are two roads that you can to take. Each one will lead you to a shopping adventure of a kind.

Nevermind the route you decide to take, the Shampeng market will roar to life. The streets, cluttered with street vendors, seem even narrower than they are. A complicated twist of turns make up this market, and no matter which turn you take you will find another street filled with vendors competing in negotiations – Who will sell you the cheapest product?

Accessories, stuffed toys, plastic toys, nail art tools, stationery, gifts, bags, shoes and clothes. It is impossible not to find something here. I especially love the stores selling accessories. At a wholesale price of 100 Thai baht (~2.5) you can purchase  6-12 pieces from the colorful array of bracelets, necklaces and rings – enough to grab any woman’s eyes. Whether you are into pretty girl accessories or more chic and trendy fashion, there is room for any taste.

Shopping around YaoRat can be very time-consuming as it is impossible for one not to be drawn to its fragrant food stalls, cheap shopping and vibrant and inviting colors. As the afternoon sun starts to set and you emerge from the meandering streets with (probably) many bags, you can make your way to Cotton Restaurant at Shanghai Mansion Hotel or Himali Chacha’s Indian Restaurant to enjoy a relaxing meal after your long shopping trip. To end the day, you can engage in an aromatic foot or body massage to completely wear down your tiredness from your busy, but hopefully fruitful shopping trip.

To be continued…

Aashi Morakhiya

Feature image rights go to Mike Behnken/Flickr.


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