Top 10 Chinatowns

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With Chinese New Year approaching (Feb. 3), preparations are being made for celebrations not just in China, but anywhere that the Chinese diaspora calls home.

Cheapflights.com presents our top ten Chinatowns for those wishing to mark the day abroad or a little closer to home.

Top 10 Chinatowns

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With Chinese New Year approaching (February 3), preparations are being made for celebrations not just in China, but anywhere that the Chinese diaspora calls home. Cheapflights.ca presents our top ten Chinatowns for those wishing to mark the day abroad or a little closer to home.

London
London

London

Although it may not be as large or as long-established as others, having only become a centre for the Chinese community during the post-war decades, London’s Chinatown is a perfectly formed little firecracker that knows how to see in the year with a bang. Customarily festooned with red lanterns, previous years have seen parades with lion and dragon dances through its streets and onward into the rest of the West End as well as acrobatics, martial arts, dance and opera displays nearby.

Paris

Paris

Located in the southern part of the city centre’s 13th arrondissement, the Quartier Chinois (Chinese Quarter) is known as Europe’s largest Chinatown. Furthermore, Paris also has another, smaller and more recently established in the Belleville area to the north, as well as others dotted around the city, so visitors are spoiled for choice.

New York

Manhattan’s Chinatown, found on the Lower East Side of New York, has been a major centre of the city’s Chinese community for more than a century, with records of new arrivals setting up shop as early as the mid-19th century. In fact, the neighbourhood is known as one of the oldest ethnic Chinese enclaves outside the continent of Asia and such is its significance that the area encompassing it and bordering Little Italy has been designated a historic district on the USA’s National Register of Historic Places.

San Francisco

Claimed to be the largest of its kind outside Asia and the oldest in North America, San Francisco’s Chinatown is perhaps the most famous in the United States. The city was the main entry-point for Chinese who had crossed the Pacific to the USA during the mid-19th century. Between the more tourist-oriented Grant Avenue – where the signature red gate may be found – and the ostensibly more authentic Stockton Street, this historic area is a local treasure, attracting more visitors per year than the Golden Gate Bridge.

Honolulu

Honolulu

Honolulu’s Chinatown is one of the oldest in the USA; its beginnings can be traced back to two ships that docked here in the 1780s. Today, Chinatown is one of the must-sees on the island of Oahu – great restaurants and food stalls, markets groaning with fresh, local produce and lots and lots of local colour. The historic area with well-restored buildings transports visitors back to the bustling late-19th century.

Toronto

Downtown Toronto’s Chinatown runs along Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue although the Greater Toronto area has half-a-dozen Chinatowns. In years past, this area served as the focal point for the Chinese men who helped to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. It thronged with grocery stores, restaurants and laundries. It throngs today with shops and produce markets and a multitude of eateries (stalls and restaurants) that serve several, mouthwatering, cuisines such as Hunan, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Vancouver

This Chinese enclave in the Vancouver centres on Pender, Main and Keefer streets, having grown from a small community centred around the Canton Alley and Shanghai Alley of the late-19th century to become Canada’s largest Chinatown. Trendy restaurants and boutique hotels stand side-by-side grocery shops, bakeries and, in the summer months, a night market. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden at Carrall Street offers the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle for a few moments.Search and compare:cheap flights to Vancouver

Bangkok

Bangkok

Taking in Yaowarat Road and its surrounding area in the Samphanthawong district, the Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the oldest parts of the city and contains a labyrinth of street-stalls offering all manner of trinkets, tasty treats, clothes, toys, domestic products and antiques. Sunday market days are particularly bustling and so a good time to get the full flavour of the neighbourhood. The area is also known for its gold dealers, whose shops line the road, and it has long been associated with commerce and prosperity.Search and compare:cheap flights to Bangkok

Mauritius

Found on Rue Royale in capital Port Louis, this Mauritian Chinatown illustrates the island nation’s rich multicultural diversity. Established in the early years of the 20th century by settlers from China, its tiny shops and restaurants serve locals and visitors. During the Chinese Spring Festival, the most exciting sight is the Dragon Feast when Chinese musicians and dancers perform the traditional Lion dances through the streets of Mauritius.

Melbourne

Melbourne

In 1851 Chinese prospectors flocked to the State of Victoria, drawn by the lure of gold. Melbourne’s Chinatown extends along Little Bourke Street between Swanston Street and Spring Street and is known by a couple of superlatives – the oldest Chinatown in Australia and the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world. The lodging houses for miners are long gone, replaced by restaurants (much visited by local university students and workers), shops and the Chinese Museum, which tells the stories of Australians of Chinese descent.

(Images: London – nechbi / Paris – drinkingsnapple – / Honolulu – love?janine / Bangkok – ruben i / Melbourne – Jonathan O’Donnell / Paris: Photophilde)

Author: Pleasance Coddington (2511 posts)

Pleasance is a British travel writer and online content specialist in travel. She has written for numerous publications and sites including Wired, Lucky, Rough Guides and Yahoo! Travel. After working for six years on content and social media at VisitBritain, she is now the Global Content and Social Media Manager for Cheapflights.