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  • The greatest Chinatowns in the world

    photo by Ricardo Martins

    Chinatowns, to put it very simply, are neighborhoods where a large number of ethnic Chinese people live, but anyone who has ever been to a Chinatown knows that this definition is not enough to describe the whirlwind of colors and lights that these quarters usually are.

    Chinatowns have been around for centuries in major cities where Chinese people settled down, and nowadays there are not only repositories of culture, but also important commercial and tourist centers. If you are looking for buzzing activity, here are the greatest Chinatowns in the world that you could visit.

    Sydney, Australia

    The Chinatown in Sydney reflects the sunny, cheery disposition of the city itself. The Chinatown is a colorful mix of Chinese and Asian culture, cuisine and shopping, with the unmistakable archways, buildings and lanterns.

    This Chinatown, like many others, is not exclusively Chinese, but East Asian, so you will find a comprehensive mix of food and things to buy. Check out the Market City and the Dixon Street mall for some great shops.

    New York, USA

    New York has not one, but three Chinatowns, but the one in Manhattan is the most spectacular. This Chinatown is actually the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western hemisphere, and one of the oldest Chinese enclaves in the world. As a historic district, the Chinatown has lots of things to see, not to mention buy.

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Not as far from the Chinese homeland as other Chinatowns, the Bangkok Chinatown still has a unique flavor that clearly distinguishes it from the rest of the city. The district is centered on Yaowarat, and it is a very old business district, with a huge number of shops, old and new. The main street is a heaven of street food, filled with stall and small shops selling delicious dishes.

    Paris, France

    Paris’s Chinatowns are well known to frequent visitors to the city, as they are quite a popular attraction. The older one, in the 13th Arrondissement, dates back to the 70’s, while the newer one is located in Belleville.

    The high-rise Chinatown in the 13th is a great place for Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, as well as lots of Asian specialty shops.

    San Francisco, USA

    Huge, lively and colorful, the San Francisco Chinatown is the oldest one in North America, one of the the biggest attractions in the city. This Chinatown is not really a district, but rather a city-within-a-city, with its own customs and traditions, over 300 restaurants, numerous temples, pagodas, and countless shops where you can find anything from herbal medicine to modern clothes.

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