February 5th, 2008, part 2
Another short ferry ride up stream from Wat Pho brings you to Chinatown.
The original Chinese settlement was up around where the Grand Place is now, but when the Siamese capital was moved after Ayutthaya was sacked and burned by the Burmese in the 18th century, the Chinese merchants who'd settled along the river were moved down a little ways and Bangkok was established.
Chinatown is home to about 250,000 Chinese, and though there's still a touch of Thai in it, it is very Chinese, with shark fin soup and bird's nest soup advertised everywhere, tea, herbs, Chinese snacks, and a fair share of con artists. My favourite thing to do in Chinatown is to slowly push along the thick mass of people making their way through one of the tiny markets in a covered alley way and have soup at Hong Kong Noodle. I thought the Bamboo Gardens restaurant in my hometown had the best wonton soup in the world until I came here!
Bangkok's Chinatown can does tend to exhaust you, though, so after a couple hours it's usually time to head back to the ferry. The ride back is a treat in the evening, as the temples and palace are lit up against the backdrop of open sunset.