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The bus drove us through the body curves of a dragon. Wide, yellow banners hanging above us, signifying the time to anticipate vegetarian festivals is here. The chinese Thais use this opportunity to purify their bodies so if you’d like to experience the same, September is the best time to visit Bangkok’s Chinatown.

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The best thing to buy here is probably gold, if that’s what you (or your mother / grandmother) are interested in. Why? Because the prices you get will be more or less the same. And here is why that is a good thing:

The Thais aim to make the most profit so what they do, is hype up prices really high to make you believe that you’ve gotten yourself a great bargain when actually, they’ve made some damn good money.

The Chinese, on the other hand, rarely give any discount. Instead, they convince you to buy more for a better deal or give you free gifts on top of your purchase to remain the standard price of gold. To think about it, the latter is the right way of sustaining any business in the long run.

That is why the chinese business is very strong in this country. It also explains why 5-star restaurants and hotels are all so close to Chinatown. Thais, on the other hand, are better at agriculture, our tour guide explained.

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Chinatown in Bangkok consists of a rather shocking 95% chinese population. That is a huge number! Doesn’t it make you wonder how or why?

The early 19th century was when Thailand was introduced to the world. The Thai government actually invited chinese people to work and live in Chinatown, provided that they run businesses. Why; it took 20 months to get from Thailand to China in those days in order for both parties to trade teas and goods, yet they couldn’t communicate with each other! This smart move improves the import and export trade between two countries.

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We also talked about something called the ‘extended family culture’. If you take a closer look at the buildings in Thailand, you will notice that they are rather tall for shop lots. Why is that?

“Ground floor is for business and the rest is for accommodation”, said our tour guide. Basically, several families of 3 generations live together in 1 building – grandparents on the first floor, parents on the second and the married young couple on the third.

If there happens to be a fight between the in-laws, which usually occurs, the occupants from level 2 and 3 may swap floors. Apparently, this works because when their parents have to climb so high up, they get too tired to fight anymore!

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Captured along the busy streets of Bangkok’s Chinatown, this entry promises shots that come with mouthfuls of different tastes (provided you dare imagine) i.e. gold chocolates, pig heads, peanut kueh, chili soup drink, and not to forget; the phenomenal black grass tea I didn’t dare try at all.

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Are there any spots in Bangkok Chinatown you’d like to share?

 

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