Chinatown Markets – Sampeng alley, Klong Thom Market and the Sua Pa area , The Chinatown area in Bangkok hosts many colorful and lively markets where you can find almost anything you desire. The entire area is one big mess and it’s rather difficult to navigate and find your way there. Even local workers are sometimes confused as to where one market ends and the other one begins.
In another article, we reviewed the Saphan Lek market, where you’ll mostly find toys, car models, airplanes, and basically anything that flies, drives or sails, console games, photography equipment and more. In this article, we will review three more markets – the Sampeng Lane market, the Klong Thom market and the Sua Pa Plaza area.
For your convenience, I’ve attached a map where I marked the markets’ locations and other points of interest – simply click the map to zoom in.
Sampeng Lane Market in Bangkok: a very long and narrow alley, also called Soi Wanit 1 which parallels the main street of Chinatown – Yaowarat Street, and stretches next to it.
The Sampeng Lane alley (along with the intersecting alleys reaching out from it) is home to a big, chaotic market, which offers a wide variety of items and a unique atmosphere. In the market, you’ll find a vast amount of shops and stands selling almost anything you can think of – bags, purses, wallets, footwear, hats, fabrics, jewelry, belts, clothes, makeup kits and much more.
Most of the shops are wholesale shops selling to various stores and stands around Bangkok – where you’ll pay double for the same items. These shops also sell single items but usually, if you buy more than three items of the same product – you can buy it in a wholesale and cheaper price.
Please take into consideration that the market is quite crowded, even during the weekdays. Additionally, it gets even more crowded on the weekends, so you should probably think twice if you want to take young children with you.
Opening Hours: from 9 AM to 5 PM
Klong Thom Market: the market is in one of the alleys reaching out from the main street of Chinatown, the Yaowarat Street; its location is not too far from the Sampeng alley and the Grand China hotel, a significant point of interest in the area, which is hard to navigate in.
The alley in which the Thom Klong market is located, is wider than the Sampeng Lane market and more convenient for walking, even on the weekends. You’ll mostly find here shops and stands selling non-brand or fake watches in different qualities, sunglasses, electricity equipment, plane models, toys and more.
** not to be confused with Khlong Thom Center which is a nearby shopping center, and the Klong Thom Night Market which is only active on weekends.
Opening Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
Sua Pa Market: of all the Chinatown markets, the Sua Pa Plaza area is the least known among tourists, yet it is certainly known to locals – so you will rarely find English information about it.
The market is located near the Charoen Krung – Sua Pa junction, one block away from the Grand China hotel and a few hundred meters from the Sampeng Lane and Klong Thom markets.
The word “market” may not define the place very well, as only few stands can be found in the street. Most stands are in the surrounding buildings, which function as some kind of “shopping centers”.
This is your ultimate source for all the cellphones and smartphones accessories you can find in MBK and other places around Bangkok– phone cases, earphones, battery chargers, batteries and everything else related– yet here the variety is much larger and you’ll pay a lot less. In short – it is heaven on Earth for gadgets’ lovers, cellphones, tablets and smartphones enthusiasts.
Opening Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
Arrival and Navigation: The China Town area is one of the most intricate and chaotic areas in Bangkok. As it is very hard to navigate there, I hope that the accompanying map and explanations will make your life easier and assist you during your visit.
A very important point of interest is the tall, colorful Grand China Hotel in the Ratchawong and Yaowarat junction. All the markets that are mentioned in the article are located within a walking distance from the hotel, and it can also serve as a meeting and resting point in one of the coffee shops in its air-conditioned ground floor.
Arrival: you can arrive at the Chinatown markets area by using one of the following ways: simply by taxi – tell the driver you’d like to go to the Grand China Hotel and from there on, navigation should be easy, if you use the map I’ve attached. The second way, that also provides a lovely trip in the lively river view of Bangkok, is by public river boats. Take a public boat (orange flag) and get off at Ratchawong Pier – which will bring you to the center of China Town. When leaving the boat station, you’ll find yourself in Ratchawong Street.
*To your left, you’ll find a nice little café, where you can enjoy high quality coffee in a calm setting before entering the markets’ rush and chaos.
Continue walking along Ratchawong Street and you’ll immediately find plenty of shops and stands on both sides of the street, which will put you into the market mood. After some 300 meters, you’ll reach the Sampeng Lane alley which crosses the Ratchawong Street, where you can choose whether to turn right or left. Grand China Hotel should be standing right in front of you. If you pass by the hotel junction and keep walking straight ahead – you’ll reach the Sua Pa market; if you turn left at the junction – you’ll reach the Klong Thom Market after some 150 meters.
As usual – I’m attaching a video with various pictures and clips from the markets covered in the article, hoping to convey some of the atmosphere of these markets.