Coolest Chinatowns Around the World

The Chinese Lunar New Year is right around the corner. Of course, there is nowhere better to celebrate the festivities than in local Chinatowns.

This cultural enclave is probably one that most countries have. But there definitely isn’t one type of Chinatown, or a classic Chinatown as one might describe it. Each Chinatown, no matter where in the world, has adapted and evolved with its city, infusing its culture as well.

Here’s a list of our favourite Chinatowns – from the largest to the oldest, to the oddest. Have you paid any of them a visit before?

1. San Francisco

San Francisco’s Chinatown covers 24 square blocks, making it the largest in the world. It also houses the third-biggest Chinese community outside of China (with Thailand being the first, and Malaysia second).

Be sure to pop by the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory where you will witness the workers prepare thousands of cookies a day by hand, and Tin How Temple – the oldest Chinese-Taoist temple in North America.

Experience the sights and smells of San Francisco’s Chinatown! Changi Recommends Stanford Court. Prices start from SGD$218!

2. Paris

Chinatown in Paris, France (a.k.a Quartier Chinois to the locals) is a fairly young enclave, sprouting only during the 70s due to the growing number of Chinese refugees fleeing Vietnam and making this district their new home.

This resulted in not just a Vietnamese, but also an Indochinese influence in the district. One will find endless eateries, mainly Vietnamese but Thai and Laotian cuisine spotting the streets as well.

Experience the sights and smells of Paris’ Chinatown! Changi Recommends Hôtel Des Beaux-Arts. Prices start from SGD$133!

3. Manila

Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown is recorded as the oldest in the world – establishing itself in 1594, which coincides with the Spanish colonisation.

Its intertwining saw the conversion of Chinese immigrants to Catholicism, and a beautiful mish-mash of Chinese and Spanish architecture in the district, namely the Binondo Church and Kuang Kong Temple. Start touring Binondo with street eats at Umbrella Alley and you might even come across an infamous bull testicle soup.

Experience the sights and smells of Manila’s Chinatown! Changi Recommends Ramada by Wyndham Manila Central. Prices start from SGD$103!

4. Bangkok

Bangkok’s Chinatown hasn’t changed much since its establishment approximately 200 years ago. Home to the largest Chinese community outside of China, it’s possibly the busiest Chinatowns in the world and has always been since its beginning.

The area was a trading hub, due to its location (Chao Phraya River is located nearby) and as with most Chinatowns, now sells garments, jewellery, souvenirs and antiques and even the famous one Michelin star street-side restaurant, Jay Fai.

Without a doubt, the noisy vibrant streets of Chinatown prove to encompass Bangkok at its best.

Experience the sights and smells of Bangkok’s Chinatown! Changi Recommends Shanghai Mansion. Prices start from SGD$87!

5. Singapore

Singapore’s Chinese community makes up about 76% of its population – so it’s no wonder its Chinatown is a well-loved district.

It’s home to one of the city’s best street shopping, eateries, and sights. Roam the streets and you might just find the quirkiest of things, including dried seahorses, dried meats on display and a local favourite – the durian fruit. Of course, tour the temples in the area and sample all the street food to your heart’s content.

Experience the sights and smells of Singapore’s Chinatown! Changi Recommends Ann Siang House. Prices start from SGD$300!

Disclaimer: All nightly rates mentioned in this article are based on bookings made before February 2023. The deals are subject to change according to the dates and availability of the hotel room.

The article was first published on 20 January 2020. Last updated by Discoverist Team on 27 December 2022.

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