A tuk-tuk in Bangkok

Where to stay

  • Ad Lib Bangkok, 230/5 Suhkumvit Soi 1, Watthana; +66 2 205 7600; The rooms at this lush boutique hotel are accented with plenty of natural wood and concrete. Bathrooms come with rain showers.
  • Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road, 81 Wireless Rd, Lumpini Pathumwan; +66 2 207 4999; This hip, design-centric hotel draws inspiration from its surroundings to provide guests with a distinctly hyperlocal experience. For starters, its walls are adorned with colorful murals that depict the history of the neighborhood, while an art installation of wireless radios in the lobby alludes to the area’s past as a broadcasting hub.
  • Malaysia Hotel, malaysiahotelbkk.comThe family-run hotel, now operated by its third-generation owners, is one of a dying breed of Bangkok hotels from the GI era. In short, it’s something of a treasure. The property recently got a facelift that’s given it a sharper edge. 
  • Park Saladaeng, parksaladaeng.comThis boutique spot capitalizes on its quiet location by only hosting guests aged 18 and above. All 15 rooms are designed with Thai accents. 
  • Old Capitol Bike Inn, 609 Pra Sumen Rd, Pra Nakhon; The rooms at this homely boutique hotel are decorated with beautiful heirloom furniture. The hotel also organises free bike tours for its guests.
  • OneDay Hostel, 51 Sukhumvit Soi 26, Khlong Tan, Khlong Toei; +66 2 2108 8855; This stylish, brick-walled hostel has several communal spaces, including a coworking space, an air dining room and a mini library, all of which are furnished to a Pinterest level of flair.
  • Sala Rattanakosin, 39 Maharat Rd; +66 2 622 1388; Sitting on the bank of Chao Phraya River, this charming converted 18th-century shophouse offers 17 guest rooms, restaurants, an outdoor deck, indoor bar and a roof-top bar. With floor-to-ceiling windows in every room, guests can enjoy the view without even getting out of bed.
  • Salil Hotel Sukhumvit, 53 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana; +66 85 833 7883; www.salilhotel.comThis three-star hotel is located in trendy Sukhumvit, which is home to a multitude of cafés, restaurants and bars. It’s also a short walk away from Thonglor BTS station.
  • Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 13-15, Watthana; +66 2 126 9999; One of the best five-star hotels in the city, with sleek, updated rooms boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, and an impressive buffet breakfast.
  • The Heritage Bangkok, 198 Soi Narathivas 3, Narathivas Rd, Silom; +66 2 235 2888, A hip, minimalist-chic hotel conveniently located between bustling Silom and Sathorn Road
  • U Sathorn, uhotelsresorts.comRight around the corner from Yen Akat, this hotel feels like a sanctuary. The French colonial-style property sits in a tropical garden, with its 86 guest rooms wrapped around a centerpiece pool. 

Where to eat and drink

  • After You Dessert Cafe, various locations, including G/F Siam Paragon, Rama I Rd; +66 2 610 7659; Specializes in Shibuya-style thick toast drenched in honey, in delectable flavors like ferrero, nutella, sticky toffee and matcha.
  • Ba Mee Sawang, 336/3-4 Thanon Rama IV, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon. Locals frequent this unassuming eatery for ba mee (egg noodles), which is served alongside barbecued pork, wontons and fresh crabmeat.
  • Cactus, The first proper cocktail bar to open in Yen Akat. Drinks (from THB250, or about P410) come from famed mixologist Joseph Boroski. 
  • Casa Lapin x49, Sukhumvit Soi 49; +63 81 261 2040. A trendy, intimate cafe serving up coffee from single origin beans, brewed fresh with an espresso machine, drip or French press.
  • City streets. Sample cheap and delicious street food like pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles) and mango sticky rice.
  • Doy Kuay Teow Reua, Ratchawithi Soi 18 (Wat Makok), Thanon Ratchawithi; +66 81 619 1925. Serves arguably the best boat noodles (Thai-style noodles with pork and beef) in Bangkok.
  • Greyhound Cafe, 1/F Siam Paragon; +63 212 944 0910; Must-tries at this hip, fashion-themed café (run by fashion label Greyhound) include the Greyhound famous fried chicken wings, and fresh lasagna salad.
  • Mr Jones’ Orphanage, various locations, including 7/F Central World, 999/9 Rama I Rd; This Instagram-worthy cafe, which is festooned with numerous teddy bears, serves up an array of decadent cakes, brownies, waffles, mud pies and more.
  • Roast Coffee, 251 Thong Lo 13 Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana; +66 2 185 2865; This casual all-day eatery is deemed by many to be one of the best cafes in the city. Try the popular Iced Espresso Latte, where espresso is served in the form of ice cubes, which you then pour milk over.
  • Rocket Coffeebar S49, Sukhumvit Soi 49, 21/13 Klang Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana; A sleek, industrial-style cafe with a wide menu of brunch items (eggs, salads, sandwiches, pastas) and excellent artisanal coffee.
  • Sky Train Jazz Bar, 46 Rang Nam Alley, Thanon Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi; +66 89 895 4299. A hip, fun-spirited pub, where each floor is adorned with both Thai and Western artwork.
  • The White Flower Bakery Restaurant, 678/4-7 Bamrung Mueang Rd, Wat Thep Si Rin, Pom Prap; +66 2 225 2749. A favorite with locals, this simple restaurant serves up authentic Thai fare.
  • Thip Samai, 313 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon; +66 2 221 6280. A famous institution serving up what many claim to be the best pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles) in the city. Go early as the queues can be long.
  • Toh-Plue Restaurant, Chatuchak Market, Section 27, Chatuchak Park; +66 81 272 5712. Refuel at this restaurant, which serves up simple but tasty Thai fare, if you’re shopping at Chatuchak.

What to do

  • Amphawa Floating Market, Amphawa District, Samut Songkram. At Bangkok’s second most popular floating market, you can snack on grilled seafood and shop for souvenirs, before hopping on a longtail boat to explore the surrounding rivers and canals. You can even get a massage on a boat! Consider visiting at night to experience shopping under a blanket of friendly fireflies.
  • Ayutthaya, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya; Located 80 kilometers north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya was once the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai, before it was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Its ruins have now been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Bangkokian Museum, Charoen Krung Rd Soi 43, +66 2 234 6741. Glimpse the life of a typical middle-class family during the mid-20th century at the simple but charming museum. It’s like stepping into a time machine — you’ll get to wander around immaculately preserved bedrooms, dining rooms and bathrooms, all adorned with antique furniture.
  • Chao Phraya River. Hop on a boat and cruise along the river to see the city’s most famous attractions from a different perspective.
  • Chatuchak Weekend Market, Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd, Khwaeng Lat Yao, Khet Chatuchak; One of the world’s largest weekend markets, with more than 15,000 booths selling everything from clothes to handicrafts, and even live animals. The market’s narrow lanes can get pretty stuffy, so reward yourself with a refreshing coconut ice cream (or two!).
  • Grand Palace, Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon; +66 2 623 5500. Take a tour of this ornate complex of buildings, which was the official residence of the King of Siam and his court, as well as the entire administrative seat of government, for about 150 years. Do note that you have to be modestly dressed (i.e. no singlets and short skirts etc) to enter the palace.
  • Jim Thompson House, 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Rd; +66 2 216 7368; Visit the home of the self-made American entrepreneur who revitalized the Thai silk industry.
  • JJ Green Vintage Night MarketKamphaeng Phet 3 Rd; +66 86 567 9959. Just round the corner from the famous Chatuchak Market, JJ Green (or Jatujak Green) is a treasure trove of antiques, vinyls, pre-loved clothes, upcycled household items, cameras and more. 
  • Kanchanaburi. Take a day trip to this western province for activities like river rafting and elephant riding. It’s a great experience away from the city, and gives you the chance to see Thailand’s mountain views.
  • Khao San RoadA veritable backpackers’ haven, crammed with hostels, food stalls, massage parlours, Internet cafes, bookshops, bars, clubs and more.
  • Lek Massage House, 887/1, Rama 1 Rd, Wang Mai, Khet Pathum Wan; +66 2 214 1141; Get an invigorating Thai massage at one of the better massage parlours in the city.
  • Lumpini Park, Pathum Wan. The city’s green lung is home to Lanna and Chinese pavilions, a clock tower, a library, diverse flora and fauna, and more. Rent a swan-shaped paddle boat to get a different perspective of the park.
  • Pahurat Textile MarketChakraphek Rd/Sampleng Ln. If you’re looking for new curtains or bedding, or want to tailor your own Thai silk dress, then Pahurat is the place to be. Here you’ll find silk, cotton, cashmere, buttons, zippers, appliqué, dressmaking patterns and more.
  • Pak Khlong Talat. Visit this wholesale flower market late in the evening to watch the daily delivery of colorful blooms like jasmine, orchids, lotuses and roses.
  • Pantip Plaza604/3 Ratchathewi; +66 60 003 1950; pantipplaza.comThis is the mothership for affordable IT gadgets, from laptops to music players. Besides the sea of small stores, there are two anchor tenants selling gadgets (at a slight premium) with manufacturer warranties — always a safe bet.
  • Paragon Cineplex, 5/F Siam Paragon Shopping Center, 991 Rama 1 Rd; +66 2 129 4635; Catch a 4D movie, an entirely immersive experience with simulated effects such as wind, water, vibration and smell.
  • Patpong. This world-famous red-light district boasts night markets, food stalls, and go go bars that offer one-of-a-kind pole-dancing entertainment.
  • Phra Athit Road. Chill out at this stretch of shophouses, which is home to several cafes, bars and restaurants.
  • Platinum Fashion Mall, Petchburi, Ratchathewi; +66 2 121 8000; Shop till you drop at Thailand’s largest fashion mall (with over 2,000 shops!), where you can find a mind-boggling array of apparel and accessories at wholesale prices. Haggling is a must.
  • Pratunam Market, Ratchaprarop Rd, Phayathai, Ratchathewi. You’ll find everything from T-shirts to formal evening gowns at Thailand’s largest clothing market.
  • Siam Paragon, Rama I Rd; +66 2 690 1000; Bust your credit limit at this sprawling shopping center, which is anchored by the flagship stores of European fashion houses. Besides international names, you’ll also find local designer labels like Disaya and Flynow, which have won global acclaim.
  • Talat Rot Fai, Srinakarin Soi 51, Nong Bon, Prawet. The merchandise sold at this open-air bazaar is unashamedly retro. The young and hip hang out here, digging for treasures in old warehouses brimming with boutiques, restaurants, tattoo parlors and Vespa motorbikes.
  • Taling Chan Floating Market, 324 Chakphra Rd. At this traditional floating market, merchants on old-school wooden boats from neighboring villages congregate at the water’s edge, selling home-made handicrafts, food items and more.
  • The Artist’s House, Soi Wat Thong Sala Ngarm, Phasi Charoen, +66 83 034 9858. Also known as Baan Silapin, this restored 200-year-old wooden house and community hangout is where you’ll find art exhibitions, installations, craft demonstrations, printmaking and more.
  • Wat Arun. 158 Wang Doem Rd; +66 2891 2185; Also known as the Temple of Dawn, this iconic temple is an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology.
  • Wat Mahathat, 3 Thanon Maharat, +66 2 222 6011. The temple, which is one of the oldest in Bangkok, functions as the headquarters of Thailand’s largest monastic order, and also offers free meditation classes.
  • Wat Pho, 2 Sanamchai Rd, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District; +66 2 225 9595. The oldest and largest temple in Bangkok, Wat Pho houses a 46m-long reclining Buddha with mother-of-pearl inlays on the soles of it feet. Weekenders can unwind with a session at its esteemed massage school.
  • Wat Phra Kaew, Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon; +66 2 224 3290. Admire this grand temple and its resident religious relic, the jewel-encrusted Statue of the Emerald Buddha.
  • Wat Saket, 344 Chakkraphat Diphong Rd, Bang Bat, Pom Prap Sattru Phai; +66 2 621 2280. An imposing Buddhist temple that sits on a hilltop overlooking the city.
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