Ban Chin Alley is a narrow 500 metre long alleyway in the Northern Thai town of Tak.
Ban Chin Alley, or Trok Ban Chin, is relatively undeveloped and undiscovered as a tourist attraction and other than some information signs in Thai no real attempts have been made to make this attraction more accessible to tourists, which in many ways adds to the charm of Ban Chin Alley.
About Ban Chin Alley
Ban Chin Alley is only wide enough for a small car to drive through. At each side of the alley are walls around residential houses and shops with wooden shutters.
What is special about Ban Chin Alley is that the street has been frozen in time, with pretty much all the houses built there at least 100 years old. A walk down Ban Chin Alley is quite literally a journey back in time to how Tak looked in the late 19th and early 20th Century.
The architecture of the old wooden houses on Ban Chin Alley reveals a lot about the people who live there. Many of the houses are traditional Chinese shop houses similar to the type of traditional shop houses you find in Southern China. The Ban Chin Alley was at one time a major commercial centre near to an important pier on the nearby river. Tak was home at that time to a large number of Chinese immigrants who were influential in the economy of Northern Thailand.
In and amongst the predominantly Chinese style houses the Ban Chin Alley has a smaller number of old houses with Thai style architecture indicating the street was not exclusively a Chinese enclave.
Not everyone who lived on Ban Chin Alley was a shop keeper. The street also has some grand Sino-Portuguese style mansions, clearly the residences of important Chinese people with enough money to build ostentatious houses incorporating European design features made fashionable by the growing number of European colonists in Asia in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.
The most photographed architectural feature on the Ban Chin Alley is the double staircase leading up from the street to the entrance gate of one of the older and grander wooden mansion on the Ban Chin Alley. This particular entrance way is very unique and to the best of our knowledge there is not another one of its kind anywhere in Thailand.
Just beyond the southern end of the Ban Chin Alley you come to the Taoist temple serving the Chinese community that still lives on this narrow road.
Pung Thao Kong Shrine is a small, simple temple which visitors are welcome to enter and look around. The temple is clearly well looked after and permanently staffed indicating that an active and close knit Chinese community still survives in Tak even though the town is no longer a major trading centre.
Location of the Ban Chin Alley
- Ban Chin Alley is located 2.14 km walking distance from Tak Bus Terminal.