Bangkok: Too Hipster To Handle
No, this isn’t going to be a list telling you to visit Chatuchak, Pratunam, or any of Bangkok’s other been-there-done-that traveller districts. When one quick gander at your overseas surroundings suggests a bigger population of naive tourists than savvy locals, you know it’s time for a new hangout spot. Or 10.
With this list of all new places to explore, prepare to rediscover BKK in ways you’re hearing about for the first time. Whether you’re planning your much anticipated grad trip or a quick weekend getaway, we urge you to keep this guide handy.
And shove it in the face of anyone who questions your 5th trip to the land of smiles.
1. Bangkok Tree House – retire daily to a sanctuary in the wilderness
Most tourists would find joy in spending a day out in the cramped concrete city before heading back to the comfort and convenience of a hotel. But not too far away from civilisation lies Bangkok Tree House, a way to get reacquainted with Mother Nature on a whole new level.
Looking like a scene straight out of The Jungle Book, the gorgeous high-rise cribs at Bangkok Treehouse allow you to nestle among the trees and sleep under the stars.
Within the eco-friendly resort that even boasts a chlorine-free pool, guests would rely on bicycles to get around. But fret not, for you can still enjoy air-conditioned comfort in your room, and the tranquil sounds of the river flowing as you try and spot all the adorable critters in the wild.
A surefire way to recharge your soggy batteries and, surprise! They even have a wi-fi signal.
2. True Love Cafe – frolic with 20 pups in Husky wonderland
Whether you’ve had it with the onslaught of cat cafes or you never were a feline person to begin with, don’t miss True Love cafe in Bangkok. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced cafe-hopping on our sunny shores.
Aptly named True Love Cafe, get ready to fall head over heels in love with this pack of badass-looking but ever-affectionate huskies. Huskies are often mistaken to be a savage breed, but they are in fact one of the most affectionate breeds around.
Unlike typical cat cafes, you’d have to step into these huskies’ play area to interact with them. Take one step into their joyous sanctuary, and you’d find that these playful pups are brimming with love.
Brace yourself, they’re known to get so excited upon seeing a new visitor that they’d sprint towards you in swarms! You hear that? That’s the sound of your heart melting.
Address: 153 Soi Ari Samphan 2, Phahon Yothin Rd, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, Bangkok, Thailand 10400
Opening hours: Tues to Thur 12.30 pm – 4.30 pm, Fri to Sun 12.30 pm – 7.00 pm
Contact: +66 90 101 9669
*Note: Showtimes are scheduled at 12:30pm, 3:30pm and 6.30pm. Make plans in advance so you don’t end up waiting in the cafe for 2 hours!
3. Little ZOO Cafe – get up close and personal with exotic pets
What do you get when you combine the cuddly critters of a petting zoo and the exotic creatures of the wild from a regular zoo? A miniature wildlife sanctuary where you can frolic among the likes of foxes, meerkats and raccoons.
Following the lead of True Love Cafe is Little Zoo Cafe, a new addition in the Muangthong Thani vicinity where you can play with exotic pets that are strictly banned in Singapore. I don’t know about you but after catching the box office hit Zootopia, my desire to get up close and personal with a tiny fennec fox has hit all-time highs.
Realise your fantasy here and bask in the sunlight together with them as you dig into a dessert or two. Not to steal attention from the obvious stars of the show, but their cafe offerings do look mighty delicious as well!
Disclaimer: Irresistibly adorable as they may be, do make sure that you observe all the cafe’s rules and behave properly when you visit!
This means properly sanitizing before making contact with the critters, interacting with them only during stipulated play times and not disturbing them during their rest sessions, as well as treating them with lots of gentle care on a whole.
4. Airplane graveyard – relive a scene out of the Lost TV series
Paying a visit to these abandoned aircrafts is sure to be an eye-opener for everyone, from an aeronautical engineering student, to basically any human who’s ever set foot on a plane. That would mean you, since you flew all the way to Bangkok.
Roaming among the Boeing jumbo jet’s wreckage will stir some pretty intense feelings within you. The sheer size of these metal birds, how dilapidated they’ve become as compared to their heydays of transporting lives by the hundreds and thousands. Make sure you don’t leave without capturing a whole album’s worth of epic new profile pictures!
Address: 100 – 200 meters past Ramkhamhaeng Road Soi 101
Entrance fee: 100 baht (approx. SGD$3.80)
5. The Commons – hang at the local hipsters’ ‘it’ place
Your initial reaction would be to marvel at The Commons’ architectural excellence. Sleek structures of glass and wooden planks with metallic finishes, the breathtaking building is home to an array of artisan cafes, a playground and a market.
Separated into various zones across 4 storeys, expect to find award-winning dessert cafes, wine bars as well as gourmet restaurants. And when you’re done with all that indulgence? There’s even a yoga studio on their “Play Yard” level to help you torch some of those calories!
Address: 335 Thonglor 17, Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Opening hours: 8 am to midnight daily
Contact: +66 89 152 2677
6. Artbox – the elusive market housed in shipping
Out in the open on a breezy summer’s day, this is hipster heaven at its finest. This seasonal art market is constructed entirely out of shipping containers, peddling an offbeat variety of fashion, crafts, and street snacks. There’s also a dedicated space for you to enjoy live music performances!
Compared to the night markets littered around Pratunam, things are a little more expensive here. But that’s a small price to pay for novel creations you can’t get anywhere else, like mango sticky rice sushi and over-the-top desserts. Expect to find western and Japanese fare here too, like chargrilled sausages and salmon sashimi.
The focus on aesthetics at Artbox is strong, with local brands and individual creators selling original crafts and art pieces. There’ll be artisanal creations you won’t find anywhere else, so grab a treasure or two to deck your living quarters with back home.
They also make for some quality souvenirs that will be appreciated much more than the standard tourist-y keychains and I ❤ BKK tank tops.
Address: 238/7, Soi Thonglor 8, Sukhumvit 55 Road, Klongton Nua, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Opening hours: Selected Fridays to Sundays, 3 pm – midnight
7. Talad Rod Fai – vintage markets in a 3-part series
Bangkok may have become synonymous with night markets, but there’s no reason to waste precious time on your vacation at overrated tourist traps. If you wanna shop, chill and just bask in some positive vibes in general, the Talad Rod Fai markets are unmissable.
Also known as the Train Market due to its history of originating right next to the train tracks, Talad Rod Fai transforms to the ultimate shopping spree after dark. With countless little stalls as far as the eye can see, the myriad of colourful canopy tops they’re housed under makes for quite a sight to behold.
Breaking away from the sea of people, there are also a series of Instaworthy store fronts and vintage set-ups for the perfect photo op. Nothing like snapping a couple of #OOTDs before you resume the mission to shop til you drop!
Getting the cab driver to take you to Talad Rod Fai can be a hassle, most of them don’t seem to know its location. To resolve the confusion once and for all, there are 3 Rod Fai markets in Bangkok. They all sport similar vibes and themes, but vary in terms of size:
Talad Rod Fai Srinakarin
Address: Sri Nagarindra Soi 51, Khwaeng Nong Bon, Khet Prawet, Krungthep Mahanakorn 10250
Talad Rod Fai Ratchadapisek Road
Address: Behind Esplanade Cineplex, Ratchadapisek Road, MRT Thailand Cultural Centre, exit No. 3
Talad Rod Fai Kaset-Nawamin
Address: Kaset Nawamin Ratchada Soi Nuan Chan Road, Bueng Kum, Bangkok 10230
Opening hours: Thurs to Sun 5 pm – 1 am
8. Chocolate Ville – Step into the pages of a fairytale
This is the stuff fairytales are made of. Chocolate Ville is the name of a restaurant that lies in a quaint, old-timey village completely separate from the rest of the bustling city.
Bursting with European style influences, expect to see accents like windmills and pavilions, vintage telephone booths and brick cottages enrobed with ivy.
You’ll even spot some ducks waddling around in the clear river, looking pristine enough to star in Swan Lake. It’s official, this is a real-life wonderland that’s almost too magnificent to be true.
Wanna know the real kicker? Entering to roam around the scenic premises is allowed for FREE and you won’t have to pay a single cent unless you order something from the restaurant!
Address: 351, Khan Na Yao, Bangkok 10230
Opening hours: 4 pm to 12 am daily
Contact: +66 83 077 3738 or +66 81 921 2016
9. Jatujak (JJ) Green Night Market – Chatuchak market’s best-kept secret
A small portion of world-famous Chatuchak, the significantly less tourist-populated Jatuchak Green Night Market offers more than just vintage goodies and paraphernalia from a past generation. Nicknamed JJ Green, the venue also acts as a hub for all things arts, music and design related.
Unlike Chatuchak market which specialises in having 10 repeated stores within the same compound, the offerings at JJ Green are “limited edition”. Expect retro finds like vinyls, old car models, antiques and even collectables. How many can you recognize from this selection of childhood relics?
Source JJ Green’s famous Summer Monster ice cream!
In true night market style, there are plenty of street food stalls and refreshments to keep you going through the balmy evening. JJ Green prides itself as both a vintage flea market and a watering hole, so be sure to soak up the atmosphere and hop from one concept bar to another.
Address: 1 Kamphaeng Phet 3, Chatuchak, Bangkok
Opening hours: Thurs to Sun, 5 pm – midnight
10. Scala Cinema – a peek into the history of film
For the first time in your cinema-going life, be blown away even before the movie starts rolling. Boasting a rich history that dates back almost half a century, the high ceilings adorned with giant bronze flowers just spell regality, through and through.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this cinema only caters to the artsy-fartsy crowd, but they actually screen just as many Hollywood blockbusters as they do Asian and European indie films.
From the old-school theatre marquee to the tickets that are scrawled with your seat number and ripped from a booklet instead of printed out. Even the usher looks dashing and dapper with a full bowtie-and-jacket combo. This is the perfect opportunity to escape reality and transport decades back in time.
Address: Scala Theatre, Siam Square Soi 1, Rama I Rd
Opening hours: 10 am to midnight daily
Contact: +66 02 251 2861
11. Floating market buffet – Thailand’s trademark at 75 stories high
Because going to an actual floating market is too mainstream.
In Bangkok’s tallest building which towers at a whopping 88 storeys, the floating market buffet is situated on the 75th floor and provides a spectacular panoramic view of the entire city. A mix of both local and international food is served in “floating” boat displays, with chefs firing up Thai cuisine classics like pad thai and fried quail eggs right in front of your eyes.
Novel as it may be, you just can’t deny the sheer joy of stuffing yourself silly with the skyhigh buffet while feasting your eyes on the stunning landscape views as well.
Address: 222 Ratchaprarop Rd., Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand 10400
Opening hours: 11 am to 10 pm daily
Contact: +66 2 656 3000
12. *Bonus* Get onboard the Death Railway and immerse yourself in its dark history
This one’s for the history buffs who don’t mind venturing to the outskirts of Bangkok.
Home to the Death Railway, the idyllic town offers a hefty dose of history, mainly because it was once a World War 2 hotspot. Over 100,000 people gave their lives to build the railway. Their graves are organised according to country at the Allied War Cemetery which you can pay a visit to commemorate.
Yes, the Death Railway is as epic as it is named. Experience the thrill of an ancient railway ride against rocky mountains on one side and lush greenery on the other. A single ticket will cost you only THB100. That’s just slightly under USD$3!
Address: Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Opening hours: 24 hours, open only on weekends (Sat & Sun)
Contact: +66 93 194 2202
Bangkok, Like You’ve Never Seen Before
It doesn’t matter whether you’re making your virgin trip to Thailand or you’ve journeyed there so many times you’ve practically earned dual citizenship. Ask any seasoned traveller and they’d tell you that you haven’t really experienced a foreign land til you see it through the eyes of a local.
As lovely as the Land Of Smiles may be, it is sometimes regarded as a rather infamous tourist spot. Don’t let any seeds of doubt hold you back from discovering one of the most wondrous countries in the world. Any fears and worries can be taken care of with a solid Travel Insurance policy locked in before you take off!