Visiting Chinatown is often a must-do for visitors new to Bangkok. Bangkok’s Chinatown, one of the oldest in the world, is packed full of shops and vendors selling amazing bargains and some of the city’s best Chinese cuisine. But there is so much more to Chinatown than just Yaowarat Road. A stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Yaowarat lies a small, ‘forgotten’ community determined to make a mark of its own.
Talat Noi (literal translation: “little market”) is one of Bangkok’s longest surviving traditional communities. Many hidden gems lie in wait for keen explorers of this Thai-Chinese neighbourhood with the various hidden sois providing the perfect setting and atmosphere for the curious walker.
Here, you’ll find some of Bangkok’s oldest surviving trades, such as making hand-sewn pillows, old-fashioned Chinese sweets & delicacies and the city’s most prominent metal scrapyard businesses. You’ll be surrounded by 200-year old Thai-Chinese influenced architecture and an amazing ‘blast from the past’ Thai-Chinese food culture with many food stalls serving retro dishes that are hard to find elsewhere in Bangkok.
But Talat Noi offers much more than what meets the eye. There is so much history, tradition, culture uniquely immersed in its local jobs, architecture and food. Most of all however, all these important qualities are represented through the local people.
Many local Talad Noi residents are part of families that have lived in this area for generations. The older Talat Noi residents would have therefore seen first-hand the many changes done to their community over the past few decades. That is why there is no one better suited to show or talk about this community than they are – this trip with Hivesters will have you explore Talat Noi with local Talat Noi aunties, whose experience and knowledge of their own neighbourhood is second to none and their stories worth a value money can’t buy. They will show you around their homes, get you to meet their neighbours, offer you exclusive access to private areas usually off limits to the public and make you feel like a part of their community.
However this tight-knit community is facing an uncertain future. Most of Chinatown, including Talat Noi, are owned by wealthy Thai-Chinese conglomerates and are therefore in danger of being kicked out of their homes at a moment’s notice. After seeing a similar story being played out at Woeng Nakhon Kasem, Talat Noi and also nearby Charoen Chai residents understandably fear they may be the next victims. That is why the local community are working hard on boosting tourism in the area by sharing and passing on their knowledge and experience in order to raise awareness and support to preserve their long history, heritage and culturally rich neighbourhood for the next generation visitors and locals to witness.
So, the next time you plan to explore Bangkok’s less-well known and more authentic attractions, why not consider a great place to explore like Talad Noi? 70% of the profits from this Hivesters Talat Noi trip will go towards the “I Love Talat Noi Community”, a committee set up to raise funds for Talat Noi by Talat Noi residents. The committee ensures that the money raised will be used to improve community infrastructure amongst other local projects.
Learn more about our Talat Noi trip here!
Our Writer– Boom, Pavita Sangruengkit
Boom is a crazy, spontaneous and keen explorer of all things new! A former backpacker in her past life, she is now settled back in her hometown of Bangkok after some time away in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Boom is a lover of the arts and musicals, yet is an all-round sports fanatic. Her interests are in social entrepreneurship, education and promoting Thailand as a fun, vibrant and awesome place to live!