Before I came to Bangkok, my experience of “Chinatowns” back in Australia were small, fairly tacky malls with bad Chinese food and trinkets. If this is your experience, then leave any prior expectations at the door, because Bangkok’s Chinatown is a hot, sprawling, mess of alleyways full to the brim with working markets, both retail and wholesale.
You can buy pretty much anything here, but you’ll have to work for it, as there is not much rhyme or reason as to what you will find from store to store. Chinatown is not just outside stall either, there are many indoor boutiques, as well as whole mini shopping malls scattered throughout, so get your walking shoes on, and keep your wallet handy, because what you are looking for might be just around the corner!
If you find yourself in need of a toilet, they can be difficult to find, although they do exist. They are usually in one of the little shopping arcades or mini malls throughout the area, although there is also a nice little air conditioned cafe on Yaowarat Rd itself that has toilets as well.
Keep in mind that unlike a lot of Bangkok markets, Chinatown does close down at night as far as shopping is concerned, although it does come alive with some amazing food stalls and seafood restaurants which are also worth a visit.