Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization)

Chak Ngaew Chinese Market: A Cultural Walking Street

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          “Chak Ngaew Chinese Market”, an old market with an outstanding stretch of wooden shophouses, has opened its door to welcome visitors and tourists to experience Thai – Chinese cultures and ways of life.

          Although “Chak Ngaew Chinese Market” is located in Pattaya, its name has sometimes been forgotten. The majority of the residents in this market are senior citizens and children. Most of adults and young adults in the community have moved to find jobs in Pattaya, Bangkok, and other cities, leaving their grandparents, children, and grandchildren home.

          The Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization) or DASTA has recognized a precious history of Chak Ngaew Chinese Market and; therefore, has coordinated with the community and other related local agencies to bring the market back to life. The old community has recently been developed into a walking street which showcases the local ways of life of Thai – Chinese people. The walking street is open for the visitors to visit on every Saturday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

          Chak Ngaew Chinese Market is located in Huay Yai subdistrict, Bang Lamung district of Chonburi province. The distinctive characteristic of this market is that it is a 100-year-old market inside the Thai – Chinese community.

          Mr. Sutarak Sunthornwipat, manager of the designated area office 3, has mentioned that traces of the prosperity of Chak Ngaew Chinese Market in the past still remain and can be seen through a 50-year-old cinema, an opium factory, a number of old shops, and Chao Mae Tubtim Shrine or “Ama Chak Ngaew Shrine” which is highly respected by people in the community. It is believed that Chao Mae Tubtim is a Chinese goddess who protects all the sailors and voyagers as well as making the rain fall in its season.

Mr. Sutarak Sunthornwipat

          There is no solid evidence indicating how long the image of Chao Mae Tubtim had been found. To the local people’s knowledge, they have been paying respect to the goddess for about 100 years ago. It is said that a group of local fishermen had found a floating timber in the sea and it had then been carved into the image of Chao Mae Tubtim as seen nowadays. Every year, there will be a festival to pay respect to Chao Mae Tubtim. There will be mediums and a traditional Chinese-style merit making ceremony called “Tay Krajard” among other activities. This festival is a local tradition that has been conducted from generations to generations and it is also considered as a spiritual anchor for people in the community.



            Additionally, there is a Ban Chak Ngaew Community Tourism Club which has been working on developing the market and the community to become a traditional Thai – Chinese cultural walking street. The remaining traditional Chinese-style houses and ways of life can still be witnessed. The examples would be an ancient pond and a long line of over 300 wooden shophouses built along the street and around the community.

          One of the charming characteristics of Chak Ngaew walking street is that everyone in the community has made an agreement not to allow vendors from outside the community to set up shops or stalls in the market. Also, the local merchants will only sell locally-made products and food in order to present the community’s uniqueness. The visitors will get to enjoy a myriad of local dishes which are made with original recipes passed down from generations to generations. The must-try delicious menus are “Hoi Jo” or deep fried crab meat rolls, pork floss, Chinese pastries, fish maw soup, crispy rice vermicelli, fried mussel pancakes, fish noodles, chicken and duck braised in Chinese five-spice broth, Chinese rolled noodle soup, Vietnamese crepes, “Ba Chang” or Chinese steamed wrapped glutinous rice in bamboo leaves, Thai-style steamed curry with snakehead fish, and Chinese chive dumplings.

          DASTA has not only helped revive the market and make it more lively and attractive to the visitors, but these positive changes also make the senior citizens proud of themselves while the children and grandchildren can come back home to help with the family’s businesses.

          “One thing that is much more important than preserving the local ways of life and increasing earnings to the community is a picture of a happy family where everyone – grandparents, parents, and children – are spending time together because that is a true and long-lasting happiness,”