Travel Diary – Bangkok
Bangkok – the capital city of Thailand. In olden days it was called Siam, today it is a modern, energetic destination filled with pockets of local heritage and culture- think gilded and intricate palaces, colourful temples and amazing street food with complex flavor. The city is such an intriguing contradiction that keeps you going back for more.
You can wander in the dingy streets of Chinatown (the buildings here all carry a past of more than a hundred years) or take a boat down the Chao Praya river to experience an array of delicious local food at the morning markets, or indulge in some modern Thai cuisine, whichever your fancy – old or new – there’s always this balance in the city that makes you think there’s a surprise at every corner.
Read on to find out our recommendations.
Bangkok’s airports are Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport, with Suvarnabhumi newer and more modern. There’s also a direct link to the trains. If you do fly to Don Muang, you have the option of catching a bus (A1) that takes you to Mo Chit BTS Station.
The skytrain and MRT is the easiest way to get around Bangkok. Metered taxis are also reasonably priced, however peak hour traffic is impossible, so do avoid during morning and after-work hours.
The Siam Hotel
3/2 Thanon Khao, Vachirapayabal, Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand
For a sublime luxury stay, consider The Siam hotel along the Chao Praya River. It is located in the historic Dusit district and around 30 minutes from the city’s shopping centres.
The Cabochon Hotel
This hotel is located in the Phrom Phong district, (one stop away from Thong Lo and Ekkamai) which is home to foreigners (or farangs in Thai language), Japanese expats and wealthy Thais. It is a good place to stay if you want to be in a central location within reach of shopping and restaurants, but yet desire a somewhat secluded spot to wind down. Turning into an alley on Sukhumvit Road, you’ll be greeted by this white, Victorian-style mansion exuding a mysterious charm and sense of history. With the luxe décor and warm hospitality, this boutique hotel will make you feel like you’ve transported to the 1920s.
110 Wireless Road, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
A beautiful serviced apartment that’s close to the skytrain station.
EAT & DRINK
46/12 Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok, Thailand
Easily one of the most adored brunch spot in Bangkok. We love how fresh and wholesome the food at Rocket is, thanks to the Swedish owners sourcing their produce from local farmers such as organic eggs from Thai hill tribes.
ON LOK YUN
72 New Road, Wangburapha, Pra Nakorn District, Bangkok
This 80-year-old restaurant serves bread with Thai-style kaya, and American breakfast. It’s an old-school atmosphere that keeps us coming back each time.
For Thai food:
233 S Sathorn Rd, Yan Nawa, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Housed in a colonial-style mansion, Blue Elephant is well known global Thai restaurant brand. Chef Nooror Somany Steppe and her team serve up royal Thai cuisine with exquisite presentation. We also recommend their cooking class!
Supanniga Eating Room
160/11 Sukhumvit Soi 55, Bangkok, Thailand
A small restaurant located in Thong Lo serving Eastern thai food. It’s great for lunch where you can try a variety of authentic dishes made with recipes handed down by the owner’s grandmother.
65-67 Paholyothin Soi 7, Bangkok, Thailand
Located in the Ari district, this nondescript restaurant serves classic Isaan food mixed with seafood touches inspired by the island of Hua Hin. Food is fresh and delicious.
24 Sukhumvit Soi 53, Bangkok, Thailand
One of our favourite fine dining restaurant when in Bangkok with a cosy ambience. Combining trusted recipes with fine European flair, the menu here still remains rooted in Thai cuisine. Dinner is served from a choice of set menu while a la carte is available during lunch.
Sra Bra by Kiin Kiin
991 Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Thailand
If you’re up to indulge, go for Sra Bra – modern Thai cuisine made by Chef Henrik Yde-Andersen who runs the Michelin-starred restaurant Kiin Kiin in Copenhagen. Expect dishes that play with the tastebuds. It’s truly a surprise for the senses.
Soul Food Mahanakorn
56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55
This is a Thai-style izakaya which innovates street food with artistic flair.
69 -71, Yi Sip Song Karakadakhom 4 Alley, Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100, Thailand
Our favourite bar experience in Bangkok goes to Tep Bar for how unique this place is. Take for instance the Thai music they play using traditional instruments in the bar – it’s a breath of fresh air from the usual cluttered bars, and draws our attention to local heritage. Their love for tradition can also be seen in their beverage menu, which focuses on cocktails made with Ya Dong (a Thai moonshine forgotten or not known by many). Food is also local delights made in a modern tapas fashion. To get there, you’ll have to traipse behind a dimly lit alley in Chiantown to find this hidden gem.
331/4-5 Sukhumvit Soi 55, Bangkok, Thailand
Cocktail bar in Thong Lo district for the cool and edgy. Go past the entrance and you’ll find a backyard garden that exudes a laidback vibe where you can sip some Thai-inspired cocktails.
320 Silom Rd, Bangkok
Located in Silom area, the bar takes inspiration from a Shanghainese cabaret owner who fled to Bangkok in the 1930s. The owner, Ashley Sutton is no newbie to Bangkok’s bar scene, with The Iron Fairies, Bookshop and Bangkok Betty under his wings. This very stylish new bar boasts a old-school noodle stall and oriental touches like vintage parasols, leather sofas and hostesses decked in oriental dress.
THINGS TO SEE
The Museum of Floral Culture
315 Samsen Rd. Soi 28, Yaek Ongkarak 13, Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand
Sakul Intakul’s Museum is an old colonial mansion transformed and now dedicated to flower culture in Thailand and Asia. See the traditional ways flowers are used, as well as modern and ingenious creations by the floral artist himself.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Lat Yao, Chatuchak District. Bangkok 10900, Thailand
For the art-lover, visit this museum housing five levels of modern fine art from paintings to sculptures.
WAT PHO and WAT ARUN
Catch a train to Saphan Taksin station, then buy a boat ticket to visit the temples located along the Chao Praya river. Each and every one is a sight to behold.
OLD TOWN, CHINATOWN
Spend a day exploring this old district where the Chinese locals flock to. We love looking at the heritage shophouses here – beautiful architecture – but interestingly, you’ll never know what kind of shops you’ll come across just by walking about. Everything from Chinese food, spice, liquor to vintage wares. In recent years, the young generation have been refurbishing and gentrifying the area. For example, a beautiful florist, Onedaywallflowers, has taken up residence here as well as an events space/art gallery, Cho Why.
THE EM DISTRICT
The EM District is located at Phrom Phong BTS station, and basically consists of two mega luxurious malls – Emquartier and Emporium mall. Emquartier Mall has many levels and interesting architecture – think a large plant wall and waterfall. We’d recommend checking out made-in-Thailand products like Panpuri and ERB as well as the mall’s local fashion designer section.
No trip to Bangkok is complete without a visit to this mega wholesale and flea market. You’ll need one full day here, and may not even cover every single stall.
TREASURES at The Commons
The Commons Thonglor Soi 17 (Level 1)
A beautiful vintage shop specializing in evening gowns and party dresses.
Heritage Craft and Café
35 Bamrung Muang Road
This shop promotes local, social enterprises in Thailand. It’s perfect for finding organic and handmade products that are made by artisans around the country.
148 Nakniwas Road
An oasis for the health-conscious, you can find goods for beauty, home and a range of organic produce and ingredients.
30/1 Sukhumvit Soi 24, Bangkok Thailand
Karmakamet Diner is part-restaurant part-aromatherapy boutique located in a gardensque house. You can dine here and also explore their candles, room diffusers and soaps in their apothecary-style store.
Object of Design Store
3/F Siam Discovery
Located inside Siam Discovery mall, you’ll find lifestyle and home décor items from emerging Thai designers. Think handmade ceramics, design-conscious furniture and homewares.