Text: Anders Pihl and TAT
Bangkok is one of Thailand’s most vibrant cities. You will never get dull in the city that never sleeps. After the awakening of the pandemic, Bangkok came back to life with so many new things happening. This is definitely one of the reasons why Bangkok retains “The Best City” according to DestinAsian magazine’s 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards.
Travelers are familiar with major tourist attractions in Bangkok including historical or religious sites such as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram (Phra Kaew), Wat Pho, Temple of dawn (Wat Arun),Grand palace and shopping centers as well as Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the world’s largest outdoor markets. But Bangkok has more new things to offer. Here is our guide to what you can do in Bangkok that you may not know before.
1. City run
Bangkok’s morning is already filled with life. Food stalls begin to set up and Bangkokians are out for their exercise. Benjakitti Park has a new large and impressive section resembling a natural wetland, a wonderful place for a morning jog. Unlike other public parks, this park is a unique blend of modern, minimalist and naturalistic. You can walk, run or bike on a bike lane path made especially for the riders. The highlights include a nearly two-kilometer long skywalk criss crossing path with a lovely view of wetland encouraging you to keep walking and explore. The park is just 15 minutes’ walk from BTS Asok station and Sukhumvit station of the MRT underground.
2. Thrifting and vintage markets
For vintage lovers either it is art, furniture or clothes, Bangkok is your heaven. Many people are familiar with shopping at ChatuChak (JJ) weekend market. Few are aware that in Zone 5 and 6 are where you can find vintage T-shirts, jeans, bags, army gear and even handmade re-new clothes. If you are looking for arts and antiques, then head over to Zone 26.
From Monday to Sunday there is a new shopping spot just opposite to Chatuchak market called Red building or Tuek Dang (Bangsue Junction). This air conditioning flea market is an ideal for all sorts of second hand items whether they are antiques or vintage things. You can find home décor, furniture, old books, and vintage clothes & accessories or even collectibles toys.
Just a little bit outside the city center is Patthavikorn Market where one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Here is where you can get a thrill from digging into a mountain of random products and picking out something to your liking. It could be clothes, cassette tape, used auto parts, kitchenware, Buddhist amulets, classic film cameras or old comic books.
3. Get lost in the metro forest
Just a little bit outskirt of Bangkok, 20 minutes drive from Suvarnabhumi Airport lies PTT Forest Station. A natural green wasteland has been rehabilitated for the city of Bangkok and is used as a learning center. Even though it was established in 2015 by PTT, Thailand’s state-owned oil and gas behemoth as part of their reforestation, it is still hidden to most foreign travelers. Visitors are welcomed to stroll down the floating wooden walkway through the property that offers a canopy view of the beautiful forest. Metro Forest is where diverse types of trees native to Bangkok can be found.
4. Bangkok’s new green park
As part of the projects to celebrate 250 years of Bangkok, the city just opened Chong Nonsi canal park, the first canal park in Thailand. It will have a total distance of 9 kilometers on both sides when the project completes in August 2022. It aims to bring people and the canal closer together like in the past. Bangkok has also been known as “East Venice” as the city life was surrounded by many of these small canals. The canal park resembles Bangkok as it once was but with a modern touch. A zigzagging elevated path connecting Chong Nonsi Skywalk to the linear park is a beautiful greenery sight particularly when it’s lit up at night. Easy getting there by taking BTS to Chong Nonsi station.
Another new green project in town is The Chao Phraya Sky Park, the first garden bridge park that connects Bangkok with its sister city Thonburi. The bridge is a beautiful pedestrian walkway, approximately 280 meters long. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of the river and surroundings. It is also a charming space for an afternoon or evening stroll.
5. High on cafe hopping
Digital nomad or not, Bangkok is welcoming you for a cup of coffee at various cafés around town. We recommend Piccolo Vicolo Cafe, a 50-year-old shophouse that’s decorated with wooden vintage decor and some greenery tucked away in a little alley in Ratchathewi area close to MBK mall. A couple of unconventional signature drinks are a must try on the menu.
Thailand’s first cacao-centric bistro, 31 Degrees is another recommended café located in Sathorn. Here you can try Thailand’s origin cacao beans, sourced from their own estate in the north and growers across the country, allowing you to explore the varying flavors of the region. This place is not only for travelers with a sweet tooth but the bistro also offers organic light food as well.
Cannabis restaurants and cafés are also new exciting things happening in Bangkok. This is due to more relaxed government policies on the use of cannabis in the food and cosmetics industries. Parts of the plant containing less than 0.2% thc, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, could legally be used in cosmetics and food. If you’re hooked up on the new trend, head to Highland Café. You find not only delicious desserts but they also serve international and Thai food with a touch of cannabis.
6. New Taksin Area – the luxurious vibe
If you are looking for stylish riverside hotels in the new area, look no longer than the south of the Takin bridge. The Four Seasons at Chao Phraya River is located in this neighborhood with luxurious cafés, The BKK Social Club Bar along with two superb restaurants, the Italian Riva del Fiumi and 1 Michelin Star, Chinese Yu Ting Yuan. The Capella hotel is another brand new five-star hotel curating a local blend atmosphere. The hotel’s Greenhouse also grows organic herbs and vegetables right in the backyard for the chefs to star in a variety of drinks and dishes in their restaurants including a 1 Michelin Star restaurant, Côte.
7. Cozy feeling in Ari area
Just a few BTS stops form the city center, comes the part of town with a young and creative vibe of Aree. There are numerous cozy restaurants, bars, organic food shops, tea rooms and cafés which attract not only the locals but also foreign residents. Food stalls and small authentic Thai restaurants also open during the day. Small hotels and AirB&B can be found for young travelers. Overall, it is the relaxed ambience and low-key of the area that makes it so appealing.
8. Night walking street
Street night bazaar, Jodd Fairs is one of the new attractions in town. Located right behind the Rama 9 shopping mall and just a 5-min walk from Rama 9 MRT station. What you can expect is a variety of price-friendly fashion, gadgets, bars and a lot of street food. The market also features a new skating landmark where all skaters can show off their skills. The best thing is it opens daily.
Another night stop is Khlong Ong Ang Walking Street. The newest city’s walking street is located not far from Khao San Road and the Chao Phraya River. By just a three-minute stroll from the Sam Yot MRT station. Khlong Ong Ang Walking Street offers plenty of delicious food to enjoy ranging from local meals and meat on a stick to grilled seafood, and Thai sweets. Moreover, there are plenty of stalls that sell items from T-shirts, dresses and shoes to kids toys, plants, accessories and home decorations. The Walking Street takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 16.00 – 22.00 Hrs.
9. Meet for a drink at Soi Nana
Conde Nast Traveler listed Soi Nana Chinatown as one of the world’s five hippest neighborhoods of the year. The tiny historic alley between Maitrichit Road and Rama IV is one of Bangkok’s most vibrant nightlife packed with numbers of coolest bars in town. We recommend the one and only, Tep Bar. The concept is to be a Thai bar with authentic Thai food, interesting local liquors and cocktails. If you wonder where to find cool Thai music and instruments, this is it. Featured in Netflix series “Midnight Asia”, Teens of Thailand bar is one of the hottest gin house in the neighborhood. This small bar with only 15 seats gets packed very fast. Don’t forget to try their unique signature cocktail that is based on the season’s growth.
10. Art of Tattoo
Thailand has a long history and culture surrounding the art form of Tattoos. Plenty of people make their way to Thailand both intentionally and spontaneously to enjoy the body art and tattoo designs that the country has to offer. In recent years, there have been some wonderful artists emerging in a wide blend of styles and professional studios around Bangkok. Prices for getting tattooed in Thailand are often a lot lower than in other places whether you are looking for more traditional Thai “Sak Yant”, New/Old-school, Realistic, Minimal, Dotwork, etc. Just make sure to do your research and make an appointment ahead of time.