5 Days 4 Nights in Bangkok

I finally visited “The Land of Smiles” early December of 2019, shortly after my close friend also had her first trip to Bangkok. Both at the age of 26 and we laughed it off after feeling ridiculously shameful for not setting foot in Bangkok when many (specifically referring to Singaporeans and Malaysians) would already have been familiar with the city by then.

My husband, V and I comfortably set our visit strictly within Bangkok to be 5 days and 4 nights. On the last day, I left wanting for more time to taste, to see, and to experience what this city has also been known for as the “Venice of the East”, “Big Mango”, “City of Angels”, and “Sin City of Asia”.

Writer Jeffrey Hou and Manish Chalana in “Untangling the “Messy” Asian City” describes how “the interplay and overlays of order/disorder, formal/informal, legal/illegal, local/global…crowded, bustling, layered, constantly shifting, and seemingly messy” is also reflected strongly in Bangkok city. (Hou & Manish, 2016) But these characteristics and such “order” functions locally in a manner that we shouldn’t simply dismiss as having the stigma of an underdeveloped city. Living in Singapore for a long period of time and when faced with a stark contrast on such “messiness” easily evokes a sense of rawness, of authenticity, fluidity, but sometimes discomfort too. I’d recommend this as a good read for those who are keen to see this notion in a new light, seeing and recognizing the correlation between the actors, locations, institutions, and processes behind these cityscapes.

I help laid some groundwork for this trip even though V already has a list of places in mind as this would be his fourth visit. By coincidences and unplanned encounters, we were able to enjoy much more than what we were expecting.
An empty billboard along the highway on the way to Suvarnabhumi Airport on the last day

A dear friend from Malaysia called me out in Don Mueang Airport, and we connected over meals to hear how he’s been doing working in Bangkok ever since graduating from high school. Born in Thailand but bred in Malaysia, he came back to Thailand to where he still calls home, worked in the property industry, now quitted and currently works in Taiwan. He took a boat from Asok Pier to Pratunam Pier instead of the BTS or taxi during peak hours and described how badly these khlongs smell over our fragrant meal.

V’s Malaysian ex-colleague who have stayed here for over 4 years has gone through life’s drastic ups and downs. He shared his stories while we explore the hustle and bustle of the Chinatown streets, to his house over Chinese tea and cracking chestnuts, to a pretty café on the day of the King’s birthday where many were dressed in yellow, to stalls that we would probably have missed had he not taken us there.

In all these instances, a personal connection to their stories interweaved with how our senses were engaged in this city. Be it a cramped, shared table at Chinatown, to a decent dining in the mall, most of which became beautifully intimate and memorable.

With all these being said, this humble journey of mine here are bits and pieces of what I have gathered and have personally walked through. Hope it is of some help to you!
A quirky local design found in Siam Centre
Our stay in Josh Hotel was fairly comfortable, and I was drawn there because of their modern vintage design, with colour palettes that jumps out of Wes Anderson’s movies. It is relatively convenient with about 10 minutes walking distance to the nearest Ari BTS station. A vibrant neighborhood with hipster cafes, bars, and not forgetting, markets and street foods day and night. Even by just wandering around, you’ll find plenty of interesting finds and food choices along Phahon Yothin Soi 7.

Josh Hotel
Address: 19 2 Ari 4 Fang Nua Alley, แขวง พญาไท Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Hero Izakaya
Address: 71, 6 Phahon Yothin 7 Alley, Khwaeng Phaya Thai, Phaya Thai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand
Feeling Bar
Address: 18 Ari 4 Fang Nua Alley, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Gump’s Ari Community Space
Address: 25 Ari 4 Fang Nua Alley, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
True Love@Neverland
Address: 153 Soi Ari Samphan 2, Phaya Thai Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Our agenda was to collect a queue ticket and go for our late breakfast once they are opened. After getting queue number 1 in the list, the lady from True Love kindly booked a tuk tuk for us as their place is quite a long way in. Although we did enjoy our morning walk around the residential area admiring all the huge mansions, we will have to walk back in again during the actual playtime.

What’s good about getting tickets first is that they will allocate “hot seats” nearer to the play area. As some of their dogs do not get along with huskies, they will introduce them batch by batch. For those who get indoor seats will soon stand around you during this section to get a closer look of these dogs. Before the introductory video starts, we enjoyed our complimentary drinks and cake, cleaned and sanitised our hands as we enter the play area.

And we, being anxious again, decided to queue in front of the area where they gather for photoshoots so we can get the first photograph done. I must say, the moment huskies jump and lay themselves on your shoulder and elbow, I could barely hold on to their weights.

Everyone seemed to have come ambitiously to take a series of perfect photos and the owner and caretakers made sure people leave feeling accomplished. They have managed to curate a seamless experience for all the dog lovers which I honestly am impressed. 
Chaari Spa
Address: 9/2 A-One Ari 2nd Fl. Soi Ari 1

When we asked the lady from True Love on a decent massage place near Ari, we were introduced to Chaari Spa. We went there again by Tuk Tuk from True Love and both of us enjoyed our full body massage package. I’d recommend their service especially for those staying around Ari.

More info on Ari can be found here:

Thong Lor
The Commons
Address: 335 Thong Lo 17 Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Thong Lor – Ekkamai

Wattana Panich
Address: 336 338 Ekkamai Rd, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
We got ourselves seated on the upper level in the air-conditioned room and our friends have ordered 2 main dishes. The first one is called “Nerd Pad Nam Man Hoi” (油炒牛肉,Oyster-sauce fried beef). To those who are fond of coriander leaves, (Thai: Park-chi), you may ask them to add more of it. On top of that, our friend prefers to control the level of doneness of the beef slices, so he ordered “Mo Fi Nerd” (beef hotpot) to go with our noodles. 

This was one of our best meal and they really do have very rich soup broth, smooth, juicy and tender beef slices. Definitely returning the next visit!
Yaowarat Road - Chinatown
While some stalls are a little overrated in my personal opinion, I am glad our friend actually picked out a few places selectively for us as we would be too spoilt with choices.  
Jek Pui Curry Rice
Address: 25 Mangkon Rd, Pom Prap, Pop Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100, Thailand
I first knew about it after watching “Street Food” on Netflix. They had just relocated back to their house when I visited and I enjoyed how simple the entire set up was. People could just easily sit down anywhere on those plastic stools right outside the shop on the street after ordering and collecting their meals, hold up their plates and casually eating, while enjoying their complimentary iced drinks. 

Lhong Tou Café
Address: 538 Yaowarat Rd, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand
Kway Chap Auon Pochana
Address: 408 Yaowarat Rd, Chakkrawat, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand

If you’re a fan of Singapore-style Bak Kut Teh, you’ll probably love this super peppery Guay Jub/Kway Chap (rolled rice noodle soup) with pork and innards. I myself am never a huge fan of peppery broth, and I find myself sniffling after this meal. But it sure is worth the queue and waiting to try them out yourself.
Other Street Foods and Eateries in Chinatown
Soufflé and me
Address: 417 Soi Wat Pho Maen, Chong Nonsi, Yan Nawa, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

A fancy eatery that is frequently visited even by the locals. Their servings are quite generous and you can surely count on them if you are craving for some café and Western food in Bangkok at a decent price.
Bang Kho Laem
Khao Tom Pla Kimpo (Porridge with Fish)
Address: 1897 Charoen Krung Rd, Wat Phraya Krai, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

We had a good 15 mins walk just straight down the road from Asiatique to where our friend brought us for supper. Known for their fresh fishes from the nearby fish market, served in boiled rice (porridge) in savoury broth cooked with pork and fish bones. You can get shrimp, oyster, pork bladder and kidney, fresh fish maw, and fish kidney all in a bowl. Many also ordered other seafood here such as crab meat.

Cabbages & Condoms
Address: 10 Sukhumvit 12 Alley, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
My husband brought back condoms the other time after having their company trip dinner at Cabbages & Condoms, Bangkok. Back then I wasn’t aware that they founded and was running it as a “Business for Social Progress” model. When I found out I immediately made up my mind to check this place out physically. It wasn’t really for the food as we were still full from the previous meal. We ordered some desserts, sat there for an afternoon break at their outdoor seating area, pondered and read into how they’ve pulled together a concept and awareness as such, and got ourselves amused by their restaurant decoration with massive figurines covered in condoms looking utterly distressed and worn out.
Social Enterprises in Bangkok
Before this trip, I had also researched on social enterprises in Bangkok itself. Even though I have not supported much, here are some information if you’d also like to look into it.

Khlong San
The Never Ending Summer
Address: 41/5 Charoen Nakhon Rd, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600, Thailand
We had our dinner here after a short walk inside IconSiam - now the biggest mall in Bangkok. Only 10 minutes’ walk from the mall, we arrived at The Jam Factory, where you’ll find a gallery space, architects offices with a variety of architectural models by the window display, book store, and cafe. We took a slow stroll after dinner around the area, and checked out the small exhibition space. 
Central World and other outlets

Laem Chareon Seafood
Other Visits

Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
You had probably heard of Mark Wiens on his very extensive food blog and food tasting journey. Check out his post here with more details on this market. 

Talad Rod Fai Srinakarin
It was more of sightseeing than shopping at Talad Rod Fai Srinakarin. The sales gallery of vintage items creeps and spooks me out a little, vintage cars and bikes that caught me on surprise, and I do find them fascinating over everything else at the market. A friend who is a frequent shopper in Bangkok did highlighted that Ratchada Rod Fai Train Nightmarket would have been better if you’re looking to shop all a girl wants.

Chatuchak Market
There were still plenty of makeshift stalls after the market has closed for the day. What was more interesting as we leave the market was to see how the police officers carry out their duties in asking the unregistered stall owners to pack up and leave in a seemingly gentle and polite manner. The stalls didn’t seem to be bothered much by the polices’ requests, and I thought that again was representational of how many of these street vendors and businesses work. They are temporal, constantly shifting, and they are there to stay amidst any developments. 
River Boat View
Depart from Sathorn Pier (BTS Saphan Taksin)
The Grand Palace
You’ll be surprised many would still turn up in shorts and sleeveless top at the entrance of the Grand Palace. And that’s where all the street vendors carrying their baskets come approaching aggressively, sometimes even in a stern and instructional manner to ensure you get your long loose pants, scarf, and even tour guide services from them.

It was the ex-king’s birthday on the day we went, and we only found out that it was free for all on this special occasion. Locals and tourists flooded the entire palace, and many locals  spent their time sitting around the palace under the shades, mingling with one another, eating, resting, and praying.  

Wat Arun
Read more about Wat Arun on Atlas Obscura.

Other parts of Bangkok through my lens:

A trip summary to me is often like a closure that leads to many more new beginnings.
Till the next!


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