The 10 Most Authentic Chinatowns in the World

by Paul Joseph  |  Published January 23, 2017

With the Chinese New Year just around the corner, it seems an opportune time to cast our eye around the world and present to you our pick of the 10 most authentic Chinatowns based in city locations.

Authentic Chinese lanterns hanging on a street in Bangkok's Chinatown (Photo: Feroswelt via Flickr)

Authentic Chinese lanterns hanging on a street in Bangkok’s Chinatown (Photo: Feroswelt via Flickr)

The history of Chinatowns dates back to the mid-19th century, when emigration from China to urban centres across the globe began to accelerate thanks to the Treaty of Peking, which afforded freedom of movement to Chinese natives. Before long, enclaves of Chinese communities began to form, each becoming home to shops, restaurants, markets and entertainment venues specialising in Chinese goods, produce and cultural output.

Today they represent some of the most vibrant and colourful districts of the cities they inhabit, much loved and cherished both by those with Chinese heritage and outsiders too. Tourists, in particular, tend to gravitate towards Chinatowns in great numbers, though custodians of the districts themselves can often feel mixed emotions about their neighbourhoods being treated as sight-seeing fodder for wide-eyed interlopers.

And so without further adieu, we bring you what we consider the 10 most authentic city-based Chinatowns, all with their own distinctive characteristics, defined by the people who created and continue to uphold them.

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