This one square kilometer of land has been the main center of trade between China and Thailand for several centuries. The first Chinese traders arrived in Bangkok in the 16 th century, pre-dating the founding of the Thai Capitol. They operated maritime "junk" trade between China and Siam (the older name for Thailand). Originally located a bit west of its present location, the Chinese community was asked to move to where it is now (one of the oldest areas of Bangkok) by King Rama I in 1782 so that he could begin construction of the Grand Palace. Today, Chinatown is packed with shops and market stalls selling such items as stationary, textiles, souvenirs, food, electronics, etc, along with a dense concentration of gold shops. The main road through Bangkok's Chinatown, Yaowarat road, was constructed in 1902 and is said to resemble a dragon's curvy body (considered a good luck sign).
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Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.