Talat Noi: Bangkok’s hidden Chinatown
Whenever people talk about Chinatown in Bangkok, usually they will be referring to the Yaowarat neighborhood.
Today, however, WalkATif is going to take you to Bangkok’s other Chinatown, which is hidden in plain sight. This simple, yet very culturally Chinese community, is known as “Talat Noi”.
There’s no better way to explore Talat Noi than on foot, so you can take in the sights, sounds, aromas and scenery at first-hand. That’s why I’m so “walkative”.
Nestled along the East bank of the Chao Phraya River, Talat Noi is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Bangkok. The Portuguese were the first to settle here over 200 years ago, following the fall of Ayutthaya. They built a Portuguese church called the Holy Rosary.
As Bangkok’s first port, this place was where immigrants landed, including Hokkien and Hakka ethnic groups.
The Hokkien are master blacksmiths by trade, and their love of all things metal is evidenced by the piles of used car engines all over the area.
So, if you are looking for parts for old cars, Talat Noi is one of the best places to find what you need.
This Chinese neighbourhood is filled with historic shrines, charming shophouses, elegant colonial buildings, alleys bursting with street art and second-hand car parts.
Today, Talat Noi has been transformed into a hip and happening place, with stylish coffee bars, art spaces, trendy boutiques and restaurants.
This is the Shrine of the shoemaker, constructed by Hakka-speaking Chinese immigrants more than 100 years ago. It is one of only a few shrines erected by the Hakka.
So Heng Tai Mansion: This place was built in the 1800s in the Hokkien architectural style called “si tiam kim” or four golden points. The mansion is comprised of four houses around a large courtyard. Its wooden carvings and porcelain-embellished rooms alone are worth the visit.
Zhou Shi Kong is one of the oldest and most respected shrines among the Hokkien. It houses a statue of Zhou Shi Kong, a respected Chinese monk who lived in Fujian, Southeast China. Influenced by Qing dynasty architecture, the shrine is a heritage in itself, boasting woodcarvings, paintings and more.
You will also find a few old warehouses and shop houses, which have been transformed into stylish coffee bars with Instagram-worthy interiors.
Talat Noi is located between Captain Bush Lane and Yaowarat, making the Chao Phraya Express Boat a convenient way to visit this place. You can take the Yellow or Orange lines to the Marine Department Pier and Talat Noi is right next door.