Sultry and engaging, Thailand's capital is a warm whirlwind of exotic sights, sounds, smells and tastes. The Venice of the East is criss-crossed with canals, thronging with traffic and brimming with temples, palaces, markets and malls, and the most exciting culinary scene in Asia. Bangkok is best in short doses and equally polarizing about how travelers feel about "the Big Mango," though travelers shouldn't hesitate to stopover for a day or two, or at least, as the song goes—one night in Bangkok.

Spiritual Bangkok

In spite of prolific commercialism, Bangkok retains a profound spiritual side rarely found in modern cities, and it’s not surprising to stumble upon a shrine as you trundle between shopping centers and high-rise office blocks. The best example is the famous Erawan Shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection, wedged between some of the city’s largest malls and five-star hotels. This highly revered deity attracts Thais who come to ‘make merit’; watch while they conduct prayer rituals (often with Louis Vuitton bag in hand) and marvel at the traditional Thai dancers.

Living Along The Canals

While most canals have long gone from the part of Bangkok that sprawls out eastwards from the river, the western district known as Thonburi still maintains an impressive network of these man-dug water ways. It is here that many traditional communities continue to exist to this day, maintaining their old ways of life along the canals that for centuries practically were the sole mode for transporting goods and people. It was not until the late 1860s that Bangkok received its very first paved street, today’s Charoenkrung Road.

The wooden houses are generally built on stilts above the canals to avoid inundation from rising water levels during the rainy season or high tides. While the front door usually is adjacent to a small alley, the back invariably features a wide veranda overlooking the canal. A wooden staircase more often than not leads down to water level, where one or several flat-bottomed paddling boats may be moored. The veranda itself is where the resident families’ daily lives pan out. It is here where children accomplish their school homework, housewives prepare the ingredients for dinner and elderly family members bask (and occasionally doze off) in the balmy afternoon sun. Although most houses feature bathrooms, it is not unusual to observe their residents undertaking their morning grooming standing in the shallow canal or seeing kids jumping in for a quick, cooling dip.

From a western perspective, the agglomerations of stilted houses, their dark-stained wooden boards and beams heavily weathered, may seem like impoverished slums, but that is not generally the case. Most canal houses nowadays avail modern amenities like air-conditioning and television sets, even a car or motorcycle out front. Many residents could indeed afford moving into a condo or apartment in the inner city, but they prefer to continue living within their closely-knit canal community, where the daily pace of life is less hectic and sterile than elsewhere. As long as the canals exist, this community spirit and preference for a more traditional lifestyle will prevail, making for an intriguing contrast to the glitzy skyscrapers that have taken over every square inch of downtown Bangkok.   ~Thomas Schmid 

From sumptuous day spas and exquisite dining to on-the-hoof street snacks or boutique browsing, gratification is never more than a moment away. Bangkok may have become a byword for exoticism, but the only word that matters in the City of Angels is sanuk – a Thai term that translates to ‘easygoing fun’.

A city of 10 million, Thailand’s capital is majestic, chaotic and intriguing. Once newcomers have recovered from the initial shock of the heat and the traffic, they discover an array of treasures, from spectacular temples huddling beneath glass skyscrapers to extraordinary cuisine. But perhaps the greatest pleasure is just sitting beside the Chao Praya River, watching the endlessly fascinating life of this uniquely colorful waterway. Stately rice barges make their way down to the Gulf of Thailand alongside purple rafts of water hyacinth, while brightly painted “long tail” water taxis forge upstream in a welter of spray.

Steamy, exotic, playful, hi-octane, a city that never sleeps, Bangkok is one of the best places in the world to savor life – be it shopping, dining, drinking, clubbing or partying – and there’s no better time to take it all in than at festival time.

Songkran, or Thai New Year, is undeniably the most anticipated and exciting annual event in Bangkok, as the entire city ‘shuts down’ to celebrate three days of water-throwing and fun parties, with Khao San Road at its epicenter. Apart from Songkran, Loy Krathong and Chinese New Year are equally exciting times in Bangkok. Other lesser known but no less impressive spectacles include the Trooping of Colors, Rama VIII Traditional Long Boat Races and the Golden Mount Fair. Cultural events have also become a major part of the Bangkok experience, as the city sees an increasing number of foreign expatriate communities. La Fete and Ploenchit Fair are the two best known events in this category.

Arrive in Bangkok where you follow in W. Somerset Maugham’s footsteps and spend two nights at the world famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel, staying in a river view room enjoying splendid views over the Chai Praya River. Take a morning tour to the Grand Palace or other destinations of your choice, from browsing fine silks and architecture at the Jim Thompson silk house to boarding a longtail boat for a cruise through the smaller klongs surrounding the city or a more sedate luxury barge with teak decks floating lazily down the Chao Praya, savoring views of Wat Arun and other temples against the backdrop of skyscrapers. As in the other destinations we travel, we can organize private artist encounters with the country's most renowned artist and designers.

The evening begins with aperitifs in the sky (above) then dinner where creamy coconut milk cools the tongue-tingling warmth of crab stir-fried with black pepper as you look out over neon glittering Bangkok from the world’s highest al fresco restaurant, or lounging on the decadent lotus-white sofas of an exclusive supper club sipping cocktails infused with freshly crushed rambutan fruit or at an informal boutique riverside bar, reclining on hand-embroidered cushions while savoring sweet lychees and fresh ripe mangoes delivered by barge.

Coming with the children? Read more on Bangkok with the Kids.

Don't be put off by Bangkok’s travails: no other city on earth offers such a staggering array of affordable pleasures (and we don’t mean in the notorious red-light district). From sumptuous day spas and exquisite dining to on-the-hoof street snacks or boutique browsing, gratification is never more than a moment away. Bangkok may have become a byword for exoticism, but the only word that matters in the City of Angels is sanuk – a Thai term that translates to ‘easygoing fun’.

In spite of prolific commercialism, Bangkok retains a profound spiritual side rarely found in modern cities, and it’s not surprising to stumble upon a shrine as you trundle between shopping centers and high-rise office blocks. The best example is the famous Erawan Shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection, wedged between some of the city’s largest malls and five-star hotels. This highly revered deity attracts Thais who come to ‘make merit’; watch while they conduct prayer rituals (often with Louis Vuitton bag in hand) and marvel at the traditional Thai dancers.

Indochina Travel Bangkok Favorites

- Unlike Hong Kong or Singapore’s modernity, fashionable and professional lifestyles, Bangkok remains a large cosmopolitan city of good natured, fun-loving locals with traditional charm.

- The world's best city for eating—from delicious street snacks to an incredible diversity of cuisine served by a global collection of top ex-pat chefs. Sample amazing street food in the night markets along Sukhumvit, St. Louis Soi 3 in Sathorn, and Chinatown's Yaowarat Road.

- The Chao Praya River—base and explore around the river area and small canals through outlying neighborhoods.

- Yaowarat Road: Bangkok's last Chinatown. As Austin Bush best says it, "Unlike other Chinatowns around the world, which often can seem like culturally-themed shopping centers, Bangkok's clings to its roots and continues to be a living, breathing, albeit gritty, community that has yet to succumb to gentrification"

- Rooftop dining (see Vertigo—see below) and world-class lounges (Maggie Choo's and J.Boroski Mixology below).

- Pak Khlong Talat Flower Market, one the city's most underrated sights.

- Shopping malls, uniquely Thai and cities unto themselves, Stroll through at least one during your stay (Asiatique, JJ Market or the Siam).

- The old mercantile communities between Wat Suthat and Wat Saket: this is the Bangkok cottage industry still at work making coffins, alms bowls, Buddha images, incense, wooden fixtures, silverware, etc. Period architecture featuring everything from the rare neo-classical curved shopfronts behind the Giant Swing, to Sino-Portuguese shophouses of old herbal medicine shops, to hidden mansions tucked away from yesteryear.


Avoid traffic and stay along the river. Bangkok has three renowned properties, all set on the Chao Praya River—the only location to consider staying—but offering distinct differences. We recommend considering the Peninsula first, simply for its stunning high-tower river and city views, the Oriental for legend and opulence, and the Siam for its chic, intimate setting.

Mandarin Oriental

The legendary Oriental was founded in 1876 on the banks of the Chao Praya River. A classic colonial building on the exterior, set amid tranquil tropical gardens. Two modern towers augment the atmospheric 19th-century “Authors’ Wing.” The busy lobby is a primary focal point for the city’s social and business life. Superb restaurants include Le Normandie for gourmet French cuisine and Lord Jim’s for the city's finest seafood.

High tea service at Bangkok Mandarin Oriental Author's Lounge

Two outdoor pools, tennis and squash courts, a sophisticated health and beauty spa, a children’s day care center and the renowned Thai Cooking School are among the numerous amenities. The standard of personal service is incomparable. Even if not staying the Oriental (conveniently located across the river from the Peninsula with direct ferry), we recommend afternoon tea in the author's lounge (above).


Modern 370-room luxury tower hotel on the west bank of the animated Chao Praya River directly across from The Oriental. The panoramic and oversize river view rooms feature every conceivable amenity. Superb dining choices include Mei Jiang for exquisite Cantonese cuisine, dramatic 200-foot outdoor tiered pool with Thai-style lounging pavilions, state-of-the-art fitness center and spa, plus convenient riverboat shuttle service to opposite bank of Chao Praya ideally located, with convenient boat dock for cruising to Bangkok's riverside attractions, including the Grand Palace, Chinatown, flower market, and temples.

Bangkok Peninsula pool area

The Peninsula is consistently rated a top-three property in all of Asia and with it's unique, high-tower balcony rooms with views over the river and city and provides The Oriental with genuine competition (however, Indochina Travel recommends the Peninsula for those with younger children over the more staid Oriental). For more active, older children, the nearby Anantara Riverside has larger resort grounds and swimming areas. Indochina Travel Tip: Not to miss with the kids, request a tour of the Peninsula's semi-secret aeronautical museum on the top floor with working controls from actual airplanes. Stunning views as well.


A relative newer arrival, the 39-suite luxury retreat Siam features individually designed rooms and pool villas with lofty ceilings, original turn of the century oriental artwork and antiques, and dedicated butlers. Location is ideal near the Grand Palace on the Chao Praya.

Pool area at the Siam hotel in Bangkok

Facilities include a fully equipped gym with Thai boxing ring, outdoor yoga terrace, luxury spa, riverside infinity pool, and private pier for river excursions. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Consider this property as a more intimate and much newer alternative to the Oriental, though location far up river is not as convenient and hipness can feel contrived.


Things To Do in Bangkok

Arrive by Helicopter

From you first moments on the ground at Bangkok International, let the adventure begin with expedited immigration and customs, then escorted to your helicopter taxi soon soaring over the sprawling metropolis, landing with a bird's eye view on the helipad 50 stories high over the Chao Praya River.

Sunrise on the River of Kings

If you're not staying at the Peninsula, which affords high-tower views, then admire a sunrise riverside spectacular from atop Thailand’s tallest temple, the aptly named Temple of the Dawn, or Wat Arun. The private boat cruise we will arrange to get there is half the pleasure, providing a chance to watch the city come alive.

The City of Kings — Ayutthaya

There is another more peaceful palace aside from the busy Grand Palace (below). Ayutthaya ("City of Kings," in Thai: อาณาจักรอยุธยา) is the ancient capital of the Thai kingdom from 1350 to 1767, once Southeast Asia's most powerful, until invasion by the Burmese. En route, stopping to visit Wats Phanancheng and Wat Yai Mongkol. Of the old city, the ruins of the royal palace are among the few that remain and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After exploration of the site, return to Bangkok by boat, pleasant cruising on the Chao Praya River with lunch on board arriving late afternoon in Bangkok. After transport to hotel, late afternoon and evening free. Note: Bang pa-in Palace dress code requires covered legs and shoulders.

High Tea
Forget sitting outside when the weather is sweltering hot: don your white linens, polish your Queen’s English and take afternoon tea in the Authors’ Lounge at the historic Mandarin Oriental hotel. Advance reservations required.

Pak Klong Talat Flower Market

Explore the busy flower market at dawn and after stroll over to nearby Wat Suthat to hear the monks chanting. There is also some fabulous street dining nearby, as well as the bustling old alleyways of Chinatown. Also a treat in the evenings.

Suan Pakkad Palace

Along with the Jim Thompson Silk House is a place to discover a glimpse of Bangkok long since vanished. The museum is a well-tended tropical garden with serene ponds surrounding eight traditional Thai houses, each of which brims to overflowing with fine arts, antiques and oddities belonging to Prince and Princess Chumbhot.

Suan Pakkad Palace

Along with the Jim Thompson Silk House is a place to discover a glimpse of Bangkok long since vanished. The museum is a well-tended tropical garden with serene ponds surrounding eight traditional Thai houses, each of which brims to overflowing with fine arts, antiques and oddities belonging to Prince and Princess Chumbhot.

Bangkok with the Kids

Despite first impressions, Bangkok offers a lot for kids (though not for strollers). Renew a belief in giants with an up-close view of the reclining Buddha’s 3 meter long feet at Wat Pho. Take in the world's largest show at Siam Niramit, featuring a cast of hundreds. Siam Ocean World ( is one of the largest aquariums in south-east Asia with 30,000 marine animals and a specialist shark tank. Visit an crocodile farm. Boat and bike through Bangkok's leafy suburbs. Souvenir shop in the city's legendary night markets. Take in a Thai muay thai boxing match. Let your under-14s loose in Funarium to burn off energy indoors.


Bangkok Arts and Culture



Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA BANGKOK) is the capital's premier art museum. The privately owned by business executive Boonchai Bencharongkul was opened in 2012.

The Thailand Creative & Design Center in the Emporium shopping center hosts regular contemporary design exhibitions.

338 Oida Gallery | Sathorn

Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) | Wangmai
Fresh and always changing but right on the pulse of the contemporary art scene.

Queen Sirikit Textile Museum
Her Majesty Queen Sirikit requested permission to use a then-vacant building on the grounds of the Grand Palace to house a new museum of textiles. In 2003, the 1870s Ratsadakorn-bhibhathana Building was graciously granted for this purpose.

Royal Barge Museum
A collection of elegant, gilded royal barges used in processions on the Chao Praya river, a pleasant stop along the river if you are touring by boat.

Muay Thai

Thai kick boxing is an obsession with natives and Thailand's most popular sport. Nightly matches take place at a number of venues all at 6:30 to 10:00pm:

Monday - Rajadamnern Stadium
Tuesday - Lumpinee Stadium
Wednesday & Thursday - Rajadamnern
Friday & Saturday - Lumpinee
Sunday - Rajadamnern

Traditional Thai Dinner and Dance

Traditional Thai dancer at dinner show in Bangkok
Traditional Thai dance Show at Mandarin Oriental
Held nightly at the Mandarin Oriental's Sala Rim Naam. Housed in a richly decorated pavilion built in the traditional Northern Thai style, Sala Rim Naam is the setting for a unique cultural experience — a classical Thai dance show performed every night. Sala Rim Naam offers a choice of traditional Thai dishes including Lon Poo Talay (sea crab meat cooked in coconut milk), Yaam Talay (spiced seafood salad) and Mussamun Nuea (southern style beef curry with sweet potato and onion). Sala Rim Naam adheres to a smart casual dress code for all guests, including children.

On The Wild Side
Famous nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy come alive at night with go-go bars. The nearby street markets are fascinating and there's more than eyeful to be had simply walking past the go-go bars. Bangkok’s large number of transvestites and transsexuals (katoeys, or ladyboys) are almost universally accepted by Thailand’s tolerant population. Some of the more flamboyant ladyboys take to the stages at Calypso Cabaret (above), which is all in good fun

Siam Niramat

"The largest show in the world" may feel kitschy, nonetheless will amaze one some level. With its rich history that reads like an epic novel, Thailand is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing Asian nations, replete with over 700 years of captivating culture, customs and traditions. But just how Thailand's spawning seven centuries are brilliantly captured into a 90-minute production, Siam Niramit has the answer.

"One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble | Not much between despair and ecstasy | One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble | Can't be too careful with your company | I can feel the devil walking next to me" —Chess, the musical

Housing the Ratchada Theatre, a miniature Thai village, Sawasdee Restaurant and a souvenir shop all under one roof, the Siam Niramit compound is decked out in contemporary Thai style, with small 'salas' (gazebos) and sculptures of Kinnaree, a mythical winged creature prevalent in many Thai fables. Here you can also feed the elephants, listen to a 'ranad' (Thai xylophone) band and take pictures with characters from the show.

Held in the colossal 2,000-seat Ratchada Theatre, the Siam Niramit show boasts an 11.95 meter proscenium - certified by Guinness World of Records as the world's highest stage. Occupying more than half of the entire theatre space, the panoramic Ratchada Theatre stage is built to accommodate the show's monumental set pieces and a legion of performers (including real elephants and goats) to recreate a realistic ambiance of Siam hundreds of years ago. The show is suitably structured into three acts: Journey Back into History, Journey Beyond Imagination: The Three Realms and Journey Through Joyous Festivals.

Billed as one of the largest stage productions in the world, Siam Niramit unfailingly brings back the glorious past of Thailand through its impressive facilities and professionally produced performance. Learn how Thai people used to live in different parts of the country at the highly-detailed recreated Thai Village, delight in a Thai and international buffet dinner (optional) before experiencing the magic of the spectacular Siam Niramit show. Thai crafts and a wide range of souvenirs from the show are also on sale. 

Shopping in Bangkok

Aside from the city's sprawling streetside markets, such as Silom and Sukhumvit, Bangkok's largest shopping center, more like a city unto itself, is the leviathan Siam Paragon . For edgier offerings, hop across the road to Siam Square district, an atmospheric warren of mini-boutiques and food stalls that’s Bangkok’s answer to Soho. Drop in on girly treasure trove It’s Happened to be a Closet (sic) on Soi 3 for retro-style clothes, shoes, a mani/pedi and slice of cake. If you’re magnetized by markets, don’t miss the massive Chatuchak Weekend Market, next to Kampaeng Phet Metro station, where Thais and foreigners alike flock to empty their purses and fill their bellies.

Jim Thompson House

is a pleasant setting with traditional wooden homes that hosts a remarkable collection of furniture, art and antiques.


During a short stopover, visit with a tailor as soon as possible after arrival so it may be done by your departure. Also consider allowing time if you are passing through Bangkok more than once during your trip. Silom and Sukhumvit are your best bets for finding good a Sikh tailor who have been famous for generations for their tailoring skills, although there are some upstarts such as Tailor on Ten below who are Canadians.. Pieces usually take 1-2 days but suits can take 1-2 weeks, with rush orders possible—ideal if you are arriving and departing from Bangkok. Below are a handful of the most experienced tailors in the Big Mango:

Tailor on Ten

Founded by two Canadians, Alex and Ben Cole. Finest fabrics. 93 Sukhumvit Soi 8.

Narin Couture

In a hurry? Male and female, with 2-day turnaround. 180 Sukhumvit, between Soi 8 and 10. 02-251-9237. Closed Sundays.

Rajawongse Clothier

Popular father-and-son team run this cozy Bangkok shop, tailoring exclusively for men. Open Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Between Sukhumvit Soi 4 & 6, close to the Landmark Hotel.


Customized suits for ladies and men since 1974. As with most high-end Bangkok tailors, the majority of fabrics are imported from Europe, including Dormueil, Ermenegildo Zegna and Loro Piana. Open Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. On Silom Road next to the BTS station, opposite Silom Complex.

July Tailor

The "royal" tailor—appointed tailor to H.M. King of Thailand for 50 years.  Almost all of the fabrics used are from Italian mills, including Marzoni and Ermenegildo Zegna, with the remainder imported from Britain. Open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 50 meters down Soi Saladaeng from Silom Road. on the right-hand side.


Premium English-style gentleman's shirts, both ready-to-wear and tailor made. On the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 49 and 49/3, 800 meters down from main Sukhumvit Road.

Empire Tailors

Famous suit makers in Sukhumvit for over 40 years. 124-126, Between Sukhumvit Soi 4 - 6 (Beside Nana Post Office), Web:

The Cotton House, OP Place

Located at Oriental Place, this is the go-to tailor for copying women's clothes of the finest quality. Take the Siam Boat to the Oriental Public Pier and walk 5 minutes to Oriental Place Shopping center, first floor on the left, ask for Mrs Reed. Once you have your initial designs done the tailor will be happy to come do your fittings at your hotel.

World Group Tailor

Located at the Oriental Public Pier accessible by boat. Since 1969 their philosophy has been to excel in the art of tailoring to its perfection. For more than 40 years, they have been serving world renowned royalties, statesmen, dignitaries as well as their valued long-time patrons who regard the art of dressing well as a vital part of modern living in style. Located behind The Oriental Hotel the shop is a quick boat trip from most river hotels.


We may make reservations at these restaurants in advance of your arrival to Bangkok if you please. Below are sampling of our favorite standout restaurants, though in Bangkok more than almost any other major city, features hundreds of casual street and mall cafes serving delightful and delicious meals throughout the city.

Issaya Siamese Club Modern Thai | Sathorn

Where Bangkok's best chefs go for Thai. Modern Thai food in a luxurious Bangkok villa A glamorous 1920s villa surrounded by lush tropical gardens is the idyllic setting for chef Ian Kittichai’s flagship restaurant in Bangkok. Opened in 2011, Issaya is part-restaurant, part-lounge-bar with a stylish interior blending traditional Thai fabrics and antiques with a chic, modern color scheme. The menu is rooted in Kittichai’s childhood in Bangkok, but also draws on his experiences of working in restaurants in the US and Europe. There is a pleasant garden for dining. Website:

Bo.lan Traditional Thai | Sukhumvit (Closed)

This intimate, stylish eatery is owned by couple Duangporn Songvisava (known as Bo) and Dylan Jones who sharpened their chef skills at David Thompson’s London restaurant Nahm. An intriguing menu of traditional Thai food served in a contemporary manner has been wowing local and visiting gourmets alike. Try one of the seasonal tasting menus for superior palate stimulation. 42 Soi Pichai Ronnarong, Songkram Sukhumvit 26, Klong Toey. Website:

Green curry at the Mandarin Oriental's Sala Rim Naam restaurant in Bangkok

Eat Me International | Silom

Ex pat favorite Eat Me is a veteran of the Bangkok dining scene, but still feels fresh and exciting, thanks to its progressive approach. Doubling as an art gallery, the restaurant has a cool, laid-back vibe, attracting a young international crowd who like to party. Head chef Tim Butler, who hails from New York, exhibits genuine creativity in the kitchen, fusing influences from around the world. Dishes are characterized by daring flavor combinations, which showcase a kaleidoscope of international ingredients in starters such as Alaskan scallops with avocado, yuzu and pancetta, while a chicken salad is elevated to new heights by the addition of red papaya, toasted coconut and betel leaf. Butler also knows when to keep things simple, with classic dishes such as black truffle and Parmesan risotto and papardelle with rabbit ragù demonstrating a well-rounded understanding of flavor.

Le Beaulieu Fine French | Wireless Road at Plaza Athenee

Chef Herve Frerard’s classic French cuisine is simply the best in town. But Frerard isn't renowned for just creating perfectly executed, traditional food. He’s managed to stay relevant through his tireless promotion of the Royal Projects, using local produce whenever possible, while continuing to import the best of what France has to offer. So although you can always get a heavenly bouillabaisse with garlic bread and rouille sauce or Anjou pigeon in its jus, Le Beaulieu stands out for more than just its fine cuisine, handsome décor and polished service. Frerard also gets top marks for bringing his burning passion for food to the table.


Lounge in Potong restaurant in Bangkok.

One of Bangkok' most celebrated new restaurants, recently opened in 2022 and Condé Nast Traveler’s “The best New Restaurants in the world," while already garnering a Michelin award. A vintage Thai-Chinese style eating house within an atmospheric historical building in Chinatown that was formerly the family's multi-generational traditional Chinese herbal medicine practice, blending rustic and elegant modern décor from ground floor bar to rooftop lounge space. Chef Pichaya Soontornyanakij's (Chef Pam) progressive tasting menu featuring a decadent 20-course tasting experience is infused with family traditional influences and modern flavors. Seatings at 5:00 & 6:00 PM. Open Thursday to Monday – Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

Nahm Thai | Sathorn

Nahm consistently ranks as the city's top restaurant. Some say it’s like selling ice to Eskimos, but David Thompson is taking on the Thais at their own game at this elegant, warmly designed space. The food on the menu is designed to be as authentic as it can possibly be, considering it’s filtered through the eyes and taste buds of an ex-pat Aussie. Signature dishes from his award-winning London restaurant, including ma hor (minced pork, prawn and chicken on a thin slice of pineapple), make an appearance, but new additions will keep long-time fans equally content. Metropolitan Hotel, Sathorn Road.

Steve Cafe | Thai

A longtime, casual favorite on the riverfront. Very local with stunning views of the Rama 8 bridge, this restaurant has local charm, a relaxed feel and great food.  Best enjoyed sunset through dinner, avoid lunch as the restaurant faces the western sun and can be hot.

Madame Musur | Thai, for dinner and drinks, by boat

Northern Thai food are served at this thatched, um-in-the-jungle restaurant. Try the house cocktail named after the place: a twist on a mojito with Thai-style liquor, lie back in your wicker chair surrounded by greenery and listen to the gentle hum of the walking street. Whether you are alone, in a pair or even part of a group this bar and restaurant offers perfect respite from busy Rambuttri walking street. Supper local and makes you reminiscent of your post-college backpacking days. This is one of my favorite place with a proprietor that once managed food & beverage for Four Seasons. This is a great place to eat or drink before exploring the nightlife of Rambuttri Street and Khao San road. Its a short walk from the Pra Athit Pier which is only 10 minutes by boat from The Siam.


Malls like Bangkok feature dining areas which are a favorite place for locals to grab lunch. Some on the top floor with views or multiple courts, such the ICONSIAM, which has seven eating sections. It's known throughout Asia that Bangkok has the best street food in the world with one street stall even garnering a Michelin Star (Jay Fai). and for more adventurous meals, head to the markets, streets and alleys. Sukhumvit is a major throughfare with blocks of street food served up hot from woks right in the open. In Sukhumvit, Thanon Mahachai (Pratu Phi) and Sukhumvit Soi 38 have absolutely everything that locals love in their street food. If you're a fan of Indian-Arab food, the main scene is in Nana area, off of Sukhumvit Soi 3. Yaowarat Road in Chinatown is another premier street food area.

Err | Thai, dinner, access by boat

The famed founders of the now closed Bo.lan bring you "urban rustic Thai food" (aka Street Food) with a menu focused on in-house preserved food made from quality Thai ingredients in a casual setting. Err Maintains a close relationship with local farmers and artisans within Thailand, with a mission to show off the best of what Thailand’s got to offer. Vegetables are handpicked fresh from the farm by the chefs themselves. Curry pastes are hand-pounded, coconut cream pressed, and fish sauce fermented, all in-house. Getting there: Err is Located in one of the older area’s of town a stone throw from Wat Po and the Flower Market with an old shop house on one of the many soi’s that connect Maharaj Road with the River. The closest Pier is Ta Tien Pier. From the Pier, walk down until you hit the Maharaj Road. Then turn right walking toward Wat Po (Wat Chetuphon). Pass Wat Po on your left and keep walking down, turn right into Soi maharaj road (it’s the one before Soi Pansuk), Then walk down toward the river. Err will be on your left.

BAAN KLANG NAM | Thai seafood | Chao Praya River

If you are staying on the river, just down from the Peninsula and Oriental is the popular local's cafe on the banks of the Chao Praya, the famous mostly locals seafood restaurant Baan Klang Nam. Grilled river lobster, extra-large size, a signature dish here – which are giant blue river prawns simply grilled to perfection. Read more about Baan Klang Nam.

THE DECK | Thai & International | Wat Po and Grand Palace Area

With pleasant views of the river and Wat Arun. The Italian espresso machine may be a welcome sight after your morning's touring.

Chote Chitr | Traditional Thai | Grand Palace Area

One notch above a street stall, Chote Chitr may have made its way into guide books and even the New York Times, The menu is tourist friendly with most missing the mark, but the authentic and delicious mee krob (crispy noodles) and wing bean salad are perhaps the best in town. The yum makua is delectably smoky and tangy. and another crowd-pleaser is the banana flower salad with its blend of zesty tamarind, hot dried chilies and sweet and creamy coconut milk. Go with your guide, this 3rd-generation family-run spot with only a few tables can be hard to find. Perfect if you’re ravenous after the Grand Palace, but lunch and dinner times can be hectic. 146 Phraeng Phutorn, off Tanao Road

Nasir Al-Masri Egyptian | Sukhumvit

Bangkok is brimming with culinary surprises and none more so than this family-run Egyptian restaurant in the small Arab quarter, just off Sukhumvit Road. Find the shisha pipes outside and you’ll also discover an OTT interior and awesome lamb shish, hummus and flat bread. 4/6 Sukhumvit Soi 3/1 North Nana.


Chinese & Thai | Yaowarat Road

One of the World’s great street food destinations. Here is the heart of a two hundred year old community, rich with Thai-Chinese traditions and delicious cuisine.

Surasak Street Thai | St. Louis Soi 3 (Sathorn)

In this upscale neighborhood packed with street-food stalls. The sois and alleys around St. Louis Hospital on Sathorn Tai Road are a well-known haven for street food, but if you venture further down Sathorn Soi 11 you’ll find even more rewarding stalls and shop-house restaurants.

Bars, Lounges & Nightlife

Maggie Choo’s | Silom

Bangkok's newer and trendiest. Located at the end on Silom road, underneath the Novotel Fenix Silom and near to the famous 'Sky Bar' at Lebua, Maggie Choo's is both a restaurant and a bar, a place like nothing we have seen before in Bangkok or beyond. If no one told you where it's located, Maggie Choo's is really hard to spot, just a small old wooden Chinese door outside the Novotel. The entrance, a tiny Cantonese restaurant reminiscent of the prohibition era of 1930s Shanghai, reveals a massive underground space that was, from 1947, the East India Company Bank underground vault.

J.Boroski Mixology | Sukhumvit

Where Bangkok's culinary professionals congregate, and an institution at this point. Boroski—'World's Greatest Mixologist'—has trained and done the cocktails lists for many of the five-star hotels in town and each cocktail here is handcrafted for you only, there is no menu. The setting is stunning, rich and dark, yet with a level of comfort and intimacy rarely encountered anywhere in the world. Tel: 02-712-6025 | Sukhumvit Soi 55.

Vertigo Moon bar, Bangkok, from above

Vertigo & Moon Bar | Banyan Tree Silom

Stunning panoramic views 61 floors over Bangkok (above) make this a standout place for drinks at the Moon Bar and dining at Vertigo, which features steak, seafood, and vegetarian fare.

Bed Supperclub | Sukhumvit

A bit past its prime, nonetheless The Bed Supperclub ignited a new era in the Bangkok nightclub scene a few years ago and like viewing a museum, consider having a drink. Like A Clockwork Orange re-imagined by Eero Saarinen, the white pod interiors and soft blue neon lights of this iconic Bangkok nightspot offer a choice of beds or low-slung chairs to lounge on. Top international DJs often play sets here, and the bartenders are considered the best in Bangkok. >26 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Klongtoey-nua, Wattana.

Blue Velvet

Taking its design cues from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, Blue Velvet serves an interesting fusion of Japanese, Thai and Western food up until 10pm, but it’s the cocktails and dance music that attracts a well-heeled fashion crowd late into the night. 105/2 Thonglor Soi 5, Sukhumvit Soi 55.

Iron Fairies

This teeny-tiny bar on Thonglor won’t fail to bewitch. Made almost entirely from soldered iron it’s decorated with hundreds of miniature fairies – you can buy one from the bar with its own amulet of fairy dust. It’s an imaginative and highly popular spot for drinks and be prepared for impromptu live music, performance and even magic shows.394 Thonglor, Sukhumvit soi 55, Wattana, North Klongton.

Long Table

Skip the inside table (and the food for that matter) and head straight to the sprawling terrace for sensational sunset views over Queen Sirikit Park. Killer cocktails and ambient house music make a perfect warm-up for a night out. Level 25, 48 Column Building, Sukhumvit Soi 16, Klong Toey.

View over Bangkok from Vetigo Moon Bar

Sky Bar | Silom

Located 250m above the busy city streets and a stone’s throw from the river, Sky Bar offers some of the most amazing views in town. Definitely one of the most romantic spots to sling a martini. Lebua State Tower, 1055 Silom Road, Bangrak.

Books on Bangkok

Bangkok Eight BookThe nuances of Thai popular culture are laid bare in Phil Cornwel-Smith’s highly entertaining Very Thai. Christopher Moore and John Burdett’s detective thrillers, Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo are pulpy and engaging. Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap is a popular newcomer (2021) of modern fiction that captures the Thai experience from the eys of teenagers. Private Dancer is a gritty and engaging novel about a foreigner (farang) looking for love in Bangkok, but ending up in a relationship of nightmares. Michelin-starred David Thompson’s guide to local cuisine, Thai Food, is an essential gastro-publication. Note: The Siri Paiboun Mystery Series (15 books) is set in Laos, but the best novels written about the region, with rich immersion into local culture set around situations in the spirit of Poirot. Highly recommended.

Bangkok Calendar

Chinese New Year is extravagantly celebrated by Bangkok’s Thai-Chinese population and Chinatown is awash with festive color. 

Dozens of Thai designers send their creations up the catwalk for Bangkok International Fashion Week. 

Visakha Bucha Day celebrates the life of Buddha; a major highlight is the candlelit evening procession around Wat Benjamabophit. 

Every river and klong glitters with a romantic flotilla of tiny candlelit craft for the Loy Krathong celebrations. 

Tap toes and snap fingers at the Bangkok Jazz Festival – one of Asia’s biggest.

Bangkok Current Shows, Events, & Media

BK Asia Magazine: comprehensive information on Bangkok, including dining reviews, shopping and more.

When to Visit Bangkok

Temperatures are just on the cooler side of roasting from November to February during the country's high season, but between April and July, the mercury can shoot up dramatically, to over 100F° (40ºC). The rainy season runs May to October but does not typically deter sightseeing.

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