An Insider’s Guide to Bangkok
The best places to eat, sleep, shop and party until the wee hours in the increasingly glamorous Thai capital, with expert advice from four Bangkok trendsetters
Michelle Jana Chan |
GIN PALACE // A.R. Sutton & Co. Engineers Siam. Ashley Sutton opened several memorable bars across Asia, but at this one, he distills his own spirit, Sutton’s Iron Balls Gin. G/F, Park Lane Ekkamai, Sukhumvit Soi 63.
MOSTLY REGIONAL RELICS // House of Chao. My favorite antiques store in the country, it’s filled with eccentric artifacts and furniture from Thailand, Burma, China, even France. 9/1 Decho Rd., Silom.
DOG DAY // The Barkyard BKK. My family just bought a pug, and this place carries the vibe of New York’s dog parks but has a cool restaurant with terrific Thai boat noodles [on weekends] and beer. 65 Sukhumvit Soi 26, thebarkyardbkk.com
TRENDY STRIP // Soi Nana. This lane in Chinatown is a hub of galleries, guesthouses, bars and restaurants. My favorite is Tep Bar, which serves adventurous Thai food and hosts live music. Tep Bar: 69-71 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung Rd.
PINKALICIOUS // Chant’s Cafe. It serves strong, sweet, Vietnamese-style coffee with special ingredients including egg yolk and honey, as well as Jum-Ba, a dessert of iced pink milk on toast. Sukhumvit Soi 58.
MIDNIGHT OIL // Galleries Night. The French Embassy hosts a two-day festival (Feb. 3-4) when many galleries open until midnight or later. facebook.com/galleriesnight
RIVER RENDEZVOUS // Riva Surya. Located by the river in an arty district, this boutique hotel is a great place for casual meetings, and the restaurant serves a delicious mixed seafood dish. From about $120 a night, 23 Phra Arthit Road, Phranakorn, snhcollection.com/rivasurya
STATE OF ART // The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. One of the city’s best curated art spaces, with a focus on interactive media and technology. 939 Rama 1 Rd., Wangmai, Pathumwan, en.bacc.or.th
MUSICAL COMEBACK // Nok Bangkok HiFi. Vinyl shops are popping up all over the city, but this one is my favorite. It sells jazz, 1980s records and other vintage LPs. Pradipat Rd. between Soi 12 and 14.
SOUP UP // Nai Lek Uan’s food stall. On Yaowarat Road, in Chinatown, Nai Lek Uan’s hawker stall sits in front of the old cinema. I order his carefully crafted clear soup, kuay jap, made with pork and noodles. At the corner of Soi 11.
SUPERMARKET // Chatuchak. Also known as JJ, this weekend market is legendary. You can buy clothing, food, art and well-designed trinkets—it would take more than a weekend to see everything. 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, chatuchakmarket.org
BANGKOK BOITE // SoulBar. In the heart of Chinatown, this tiny music club has a varied lineup of bands who play jazz, soul and sometimes funk. 945 Charoen Krung Rd.
OPEN BOOK // Think Space B2S. A big new bookstore, it’s a great place to browse books on travel, art and music. There’s also a reading area and cafe designed by Tokyo architects Klein Dytham. Central Festival Eastville, Lat Phrao.
TRUE NORTH // Kumpoon. This restaurant serves Issan cuisine from Thailand’s northeast. I order tum siew, a mixed papaya salad, with pad mee korat, a stir-fried rice noodle dish. CentralWorld Plaza, Ratchadamri Rd.
MEGAMALL // Central Embassy. I come to this glossy shopping mall to get my hair done at Hive salon, grab a bite at Eathai food court and then shop at multibrand space Siwilai.1031 Ploenchit Rd., centralembassy.com
HOUSE TOUR // Nai Lert Park Heritage Home. On the Saen Saeb canal, this 1915 house also has a delicious restaurant. Try the crispy vermicelli soup, then walk in the garden. 4 Soi Somkid, Ploenchit, nailertparkheritagehome.com
Plus, Don’t Miss…
Freebird Opened in August, Freebird, from Australian chef Dallas Cuddy, serves inventive, international dishes in an artful space. Sukhumvit Soi 47, freebirdbkk.com. // The Ferry Gallery This floating gallery, launched by artist Kawita Vatanajyankur on a commuter vessel, plies the Chao Phraya river between the famous temples Wat Arun and Wat Pho. Tha Tien Pier, theferrygallery.com // J Boroski Mixology This well-concealed cocktail den (look for the small plaque on the door) doesn’t have menus. Tell the barman what you like. Sukhumvit Soi 55, josephboroski.com // The Siam The stylish riverside hotel, with its art-deco-meets-Thai architecture and beautiful courtyards and antiques, is a firm favorite of the city’s well-heeled visitors. From about $450 a night, 3/2 Thanon Khao, thesiamhotel.com
Source: The Wall Street Journal