On our third day in Bangkok we decided to visit the famed Chinatown, the oldest area of Bangkok. A taxi ride from our Sukhumvit area to Chinatown cost 100 Baht. When you are in Bangkok make sure that your taxi is using a working meter before you get into the taxi. We had to stop 3 or 4 taxis this night before we found one willing to do things properly and switch on his meter. All the rest offered us fixed prices of not less than 150 Baht (one even asking for 400 Baht, clearly a tourist ripoff).
We knew we were in Chinatown because of the red-themed decor and flashing neon lights, but we weren’t that prepared for the assault on the senses that greeted us as soon as we stepped outside our taxi.
As you can sample in the short video below that we’ve made for you, Chinatown is a concoction of food, fruit and smells. Venture into the side streets only if you’re ready to experience some not-so-hygenic conditions, and the occasional rat and cockroach scurrying ahead of you.
After walking around the whole area, we topped the evening with a nice meal at Shark Fin, a restaurant on the main street which apparently specialises in shark fins, although we didn’t try them ourselves. It was quite a decent restaurant and our Pad Thai was well cooked. Alyona had a watermelon juice and I had a pineapple one, both were absolutely delicious. We’re really enjoying the fresh fruit juices here, although we haven’t yet tried all of them (there are quite a lot!).
We had a bit of a travel fail at the end of the night, when we realised we only had 71 Baht left in our wallet. Our trip to Chinatown had cost 100 Baht, and since it was around midnight it was even more difficult to find a taxi or tuk tuk willing to take us back for less than 100 Baht, let alone 71 Baht. We tried bargaining a fixed price with some tuk tuk drivers but they would have none of it, 80 Baht was the least they would go for.
In the end we decided to find a taxi with a working meter and see how far it would take us. Luckily our 71 Baht got us within a kilometer or so of our hotel, and the area we had to stop in wasn’t so dodgy. Although tired, we walked the rest of the way without any problems, so the story had a happy ending. Well, maybe happy ending might not be the perfect phrase to use when talking about Bangkok, but you get the idea!
And what do you think about Chinatown? Take a moment and leave a comment below!