A Walk Through Talat Noi (Bangkok)
Talat Noi, situated within Bangkok’s bustling Chinatown, offers a window into the city’s storied past. This historic neighborhood features narrow alleyways adorned with vibrant street art, traditional shophouses, and a whole lot of vintage charm, making it ideal for an independent walking tour.
Name (Thai): ตลาดน้อย
Also Known As: Talad Noi
Address: 22 Charoen Krung Rd, Talat Noi, Samphanthawong
Length of Trip: 3-4 hours.
Trip Type: cultural / historical.
Age Restrictions: none.
Dress Code: modest and conservative (for shrines).
Talat Noi is ideal for:
It isn’t ideal for:
The best place to start your walking tour of Talat Noi is at the Chow Sue Kong Shrine. Built in 1804, it’s one of the oldest Hokkien-Chinese structures in Bangkok.
Inside, an image of Qingshui Zushi (清水祖師), is enshrined. Qingshui was a Buddhist monk who lived over 1500 years ago, that was believed to have gained supernatural powers. Til this day, worshippers visit his shrines to pray for divine blessings and protection.
Around the corner from the shrine, you’ll come across the infamous Antique Turtle Car, which has been parked here for decades.
Bearing the marks of time on its weathered exterior, this Fiat 500 carries an air of nostalgia, with its faded paint and well-worn appearance, evoking memories of a bygone era.
As a distinctive feature of Talat Noi’s urban scenery, the car offers a nice spot to snap a few Instagram photos – otherwise, there’s not much to see here.
For over 70 years, Sieng Kong has been Bangkok’s center for secondhand car part restoration.
In this area, you’ll come across streets lined with tons of discarded car parts sprawled in plain view. It’s a one-of-a-kind scene, especially as workers perform welding tasks along the roadside.
These auto part shops can be found throughout Soi Wanit 2 and its alleyways.
As you wander down Soi Wanit 2, you’ll come across San Chao Rong Kueak, a narrow alley that’s full of colorful murals and intricate graffiti, bringing the walls to life.
These artworks depict a diverse range of subjects, from Chinese cultural motifs to eccentric characters, offering a visual narrative that reflects the neighborhoods unique blend of history and modernity.
At the end of San Chao Rong Kueak is the Rong Kueak Shrine, which is well over 100 years old.
This riverside structure was built to enshrine the image of Hon Wong Kung, which was brought to Thailand from China by Hakka merchants during the early Rattanakosin period.
From here, we recommend heading over to an ancient church.
The Holy Rosary Church, also known as the Kalawar Church (วัดแม่พระลูกประคำ), stands as an iconic landmark in Bangkok. Constructed in 1897 by Portuguese settlers in the Gothic Revival style, the church showcases a distinctive European influence that provides a unique contrast to the omnipresent Buddhist structures within Chinatown.
Inside the church, you can admire its ornate golden arches, expansive stained glass windows, and intricately sculpted statues that depict the Virgin Mary and Jesus presenting a rosary to Saint Dominic and Saint Caterina.
When sampling street food in Talat Noi, consider these three popular options:
Kuay Teow Kua Gai: Delve into the savory goodness of stir-fried wide rice noodles. Watch as skilled vendors expertly prepare this dish on hot griddles, infusing the noodles with a delightful smokiness. With tender pieces of chicken, bean sprouts, and a medley of spices, this dish offers a satisfying blend of textures and tastes.
Khao Moo Daeng: Indulge in a plate of Thai-style barbecue pork served with rice. The succulent slices of roasted red pork, served atop a bed of fragrant rice, are accompanied by a drizzle of rich gravy and a side of crispy pork skin. This dish strikes the perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavors, making it a street food favorite.
Grilled Eggs: Prepared on open grills, these eggs acquire a smoky flavor that adds depth to their creamy texture. The result is a simple yet satisfying snack that’s ideal for a quick on-the-go bite.
The origins of Talat Noi can be traced back over two centuries, during a time when Bangkok was still known as Thonburi and served as the capital of the Siamese kingdom. This period saw the emergence of the neighborhood as a hub for maritime activities.
Talat Noi’s significance was largely attributed to its strategic location along the Chao Phraya River, which facilitated maritime trade and transportation. By the late 18th century, the neighborhood had grown into a bustling port that attracted merchants and traders from around the world. Chinese immigrants, drawn by economic prospects, formed a substantial part of the population and established their presence in the area.
The Chinese immigrants played a pivotal role in shaping Talat Noi’s maritime industry. With their expertise and business acumen, they established themselves as proficient navigators of the river and conduits of international trade. The neighborhood soon flourished as a port for international commerce, as they forged lasting connections with far-flung trading partners for the next several centuries.
If you’re using public transportation, you can start by taking the MRT (subway) to Hua Lamphong station. From there, you can either opt for a short tuk-tuk ride or walk for about 10-15 minutes to reach Talat Noi.
Alternatively, if you’re coming from the BTS Skytrain line, you can get off at a nearby station like Khlong San. From there, you can take a boat ride across the river, then walk another ~5 minutes .
After your walking tour of Talat Noi, we highly recommend visiting Wat Traimit.
This serene temple with its renowned Golden Buddha presents a stark contrast to the bustling streets you’ve explored. The shift from the lively atmosphere of the streets to the peaceful surroundings of Wat Traimit creates a well-rounded outing, allowing you to appreciate both the urban energy and the spiritual calm that Chinatown offers.
The best time to visit Talat Noi is during the morning and early afternoon. These timeframes allow you to explore the neighborhood when local businesses and historical sites are open.
The morning hours offer a glimpse into the daily life of the community, while the early afternoon provides ample opportunity to capture the charm of the neighborhood before it starts winding down in the evening.
Yes, Talat Noi is relatively easy to walk around. The neighborhood’s compact layout and narrow lanes make it conducive for leisurely strolls. The streets are pedestrian-friendly, and many of the key attractions, such as street art, temples, and historical sites, are within walking distance of each other.
The name “Talat Noi” translates to “small market,” reflecting its origin as a bustling commercial hub.