Pattaya is able to surprise hard-core travellers with its diversity. Culture lovers will find the historic quarters of the Chinese settlers for themselves. They still live in the same rhythm as a hundred years ago. Such places are unusual for their atmosphere of authentic antiquity amid the hustle and bustle of the “city of sins”. In the Naklua area near the fish market, the Bang Saray Beach neighbourhood boasts wooden structures reminiscent of the provincial town of Chiang Khan or the Chinatown of Bangkok in the 70s. And the most interesting thing you will find is in the village of Chak Ngeu.
Chak Ngeu became famous 200 years ago. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Thai poet Santon Phu glorified the place in his work. 100 years ago, the town was chosen by Chinese settlers. They built several traditional streets, a cinema, wooden shops with balconies, restaurants and Chinese shrines. In 2012, the town was named a cultural landmark of the province. Every Saturday, a Chinese-style fair is held near the main temple.
Residents of the town every Saturday arrange a real holiday for themselves and their visitors. Girls dress up in red dresses, men wear Chinese shirts. A food, souvenir and antique fair unfold on a street among wooden houses. You can buy drinks and snacks directly from the stalls or drop by one of the atmospheric cafes.
The fair is specially decorated with red lanterns. From time to time a rickshaw with passengers passes along the street. A street artist paints portraits and cartoons. On Saturdays, there is a drumming procession with kids in Chinese costumes. Annual ethnic holidays are celebrated in grand style. During the Chinese New Year, there is a lion and dragon dance parade. Other holidays include the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Hungry Ghost Festival.
You can even look into one of the houses of the locals. A picturesque courtyard with a well, a living room interior from the 50s of the last century, an authentic cinema, old photographs, posters with stars of the past, graffiti on the walls – the market is full of photo spots.
There are a lot of souvenirs at the fair. Here they sell vintage things like photographs, postcards, posters, paintings, boxes, mugs, plates, toys, model cars. Nowhere and without goods in the Chinese style: bells, garlands, masks, panoramas, Feng Shui products. Several vendors have displayed stalls with traditional clothing: T-shirts, silk dresses, red blouses.
The variety of Thai-Chinese snacks and dishes is so great that it is better to see everything first and then choose. Try the tender Ho-Mok soufflé, grilled seafood with hot and sour sauce, or pork fried with sesame seeds. Then move on to traditional Chinese snacks: dim sum dumplings, fried wontons, salapao buns.
Don’t miss the fresh pork rolls, noodles and peanut soup. For dessert, try coconut pancakes, pandanum toffee, or triangular pies with rice and red beans. And be sure to try the sugarcane juice served in a bamboo stem glass.
The difference between the Chinese fair in Chinatown and others is in its uniqueness. There is no place like this in Pattaya. The market in Chak Ngeu is full of history. The residents of the area sell goods, prepare snacks and come to chat with their neighbours. There are no casual visitors, everyone is our own. The atmosphere is very homey. Most Thai tourists come here to get acquainted with the local culture and take selfies. The Chinese market is not yet known to the guides, there are no excursions here.
Chinatown Market is located 17 km from Pattaya. Public transport does not go to Chak Ngeu. The best option would be to visit the China Fair after a self-guided tour of local attractions. Nearby are the Love Art Pattaya park and the dolphinarium. A little further – Swiss sheep farm, Wat Yan, Upside Down House, Silverlake Park.
Coming from Pattaya city centre, take Sukhumvit Highway south and turn onto Soi Na Jomtien 13 (Road 1063). After 5.5 kilometres you will reach the centre of Chak Ngeu and Huay Yai Chak Ngaew Street. Turn left and look for a parking lot. Finding a place for a motorbike is easier.
Opening hours: Saturdays from 17:00 to 23:00.
Coordinates: 12.947841378907057, 100.88973249126025
Klang Villa residents can receive help when wanting to arrange a little expedition to this wonderful location.
China Fair At Chak Ngue: Pattaya Sai Song 1 Alley, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri 20150
Hours: every day from 8:00 to 17:30