1. Chang Chui
Housing a variety of businesses, including restaurants and bars, a gallery, a drone flying school and a taxidermy museum that’s housed in an old Lockheed TriStar jet, the buildings in this unusual mall/market are made from upcycled corrugated iron, and old windows and doors.
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This down-to-earth eatery in a restored 1950s home serves up delicious contemporary dishes using locally sourced ingredients, such as the slow-cooked organic pork belly. However, locals flock here for the lazy weekend a la carte brunch, which has become a much-loved institution.
3. Ba Hao
This atmospheric Chinatown bar looks like a scene straight out of a Wong Kar-wai movie, all red mood lighting, bright neon signage, and Sino-inspired decor. The cocktail menu offers a superb selection of Chinese-accented cocktails, with an excellent menu of classic snacks like jian bing (savoury wheat crepes).
4. Ink & Lion
Bangkok is not short on great cafes, but this little place – hidden at the end of a nondescript lane in Ekkamai – just has a unique charm. Maybe it’s the whitewashed brick walls and the changing art exhibitions they play host to, perhaps it’s the Melbourne-esque chilled vibes, but mostly, it’s the amazing coffee.
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Talented local fashion designer Amphai Kerdhnongmon was selling her work at a discount fashion mall until she was spotted by Thai starchitect Duangrit Bunnag, who liked her minimalist looks (think Uniqlo separates). With his support, she now has branches of her clothing boutique in heritage complex Warehouse 30 and Gaysorn mall.
6. The Commons
With Bangkok already saturated with malls featuring ubiquitous shops, this venue broke all the rules, with its indoor-outdoor atmosphere, multi-layered spaces where free music performances are held, and emphasis on community. Locals can’t get enough of the eateries and shopping – not to mention the markets and fairs regularly held here.
Located at the southern, less-frequented end of gentrifying Chaoren Krung Road, this small gallery in a shophouse nevertheless has a strong local following for its experimental shows and forward-thinking exhibitions, which include live performance art, audio-visual work, and mixed-media pieces.
Until recently, this roughly 2ha wooded park – just west of Suvarnabhumi airport – was a dumping ground. Remarkably, it has been transformed into a natural habitat and wetland, which can be traversed by elevated walkways, and features informational exhibits on green living.
The Thai capital is not short on rooftop bars – some even featured in movies – in hotels around town. However, residents know that the best deals, and views, can be found along Sukhumvit Road; don’t miss Brewski, a superb craft beer pub on the 30th floor of Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok Hotel.
– TEXT BY SIMON OSTHEIMER
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.