Filled with local stores and street food, Soi Polo has a unique community feel, making it an ideal spot for those seeking to escape tired restaurant chains and glitzy expat bars.
Soi Polo is awash with vibrant streetfood stalls, serving a mouthwatering selection of Thai delights, at prices that are just as appealing. The main attraction of the soi has to be Polo Fried Chicken (137/1-2 Soi Polo, Sanam Khli Alley)—going strong for 39 years, fuelled by its legendary crispy-skinned, juicy fried chicken (B130) and other Isaan classics. For something a little more upmarket, let the aroma of fried chicken and buttermilk waffles (B275) guide you to Brooklyn Baker (51/7 Soi Polo), nestled just inside Retreat on Vitayu. For another crowd-pleaser, their eggs rothko (B240) serves up runny eggs on toast coated in a blanket of melting cheddar, baby tomatoes, smoked sausages and bacon. To quench your thirst, order an iced cappuccino (B90) or a lime iced tea (B110). For a real Thai treat, the hyper-local Kanom Pia Moo (65/1 Soi Polo 4) turns out crisp, aromatic and not-too-sweet bean pastries that will only set you back B100 for a box of 10.
As always, win motosais are conveniently available throughout the soi, with MRT Lumpini just minutes away by bike.
Although you may be hard pushed to find rental opportunities on this house-filled soi, a short two-minute drive away lies Soi Sanam Khli, which plays host to the 21-year-old Polo Park condo (19/1-53 Wireless Rd., 02-255-5600), with 19 floors, 47 units, and starting prices of B50,000/ month. It may seem a little steep, but the swimming pool, sauna, gym and kids’ playground are all amplified by the ultra-convenient location—the nearest store is two minutes away, while you could be munching on the best fried chicken in Bangkok (Polo’s) in just five minutes—dangerous? Yes. Delicious? Also, yes. Plus, Lumpini Park is just across the street, so you can walk it all off whenever you please. Alternatively, Polo Residence (20, 20/1, 20/15 Wireless Rd., 02-252-6731) lies at the end of Soi Sanam Khli, where rent starts from a marginally lower B45,000/month. With all the usual facilities, you can work off copious amounts of freshbaked goods from Brooklyn Baker in their gym, sauna, and swimming pool, or treat yourself to a relaxing spa treatment from Retreat on Vitayu, just around the corner.
There’s no need to travel out of town to get a taste of local life when you can experience it right on your doorstep. While graffiti decorates cement walls alongside street signs swallowed up by weeds and branches, kids play beneath the clothes lines that connect the nestling wooden houses. The cramped sub sois are packed full of local-run salons, somtam vendors and pop-up sidewalk shoe repair shops. Even if there are fewer restaurants, cafes and bars compared with other sois, the atmosphere breeds a close-knit community.
While roaming Soi Polo, you’re likely to come across the RSCB Polo Club (18 Sanam Khli Alley, 02-252-6731)— the original Royal Bangkok Sports Club (RBSC) since 1901. Here, you can take part in up to 20 different sports or relax in their dining room and bars. For the less athletically inclined, a trip to Talad Pho Luang will reveal a wide array of affordable Thai food and fresh ingredients.
What do you love about Soi Polo?
PAR TANGJAITRONG, OWNER OF BROOKLYN BAKER
“Twenty-four years living on the street have taught me that the shop opposite The Polo Club entrance on Soi 4 does the best sticky rice with banana and black bean stuffing. Also try the baked bean paste in flaky pastry.”
WIMON SIRIWANICHWONG, OWNER OF KANOM PIA MOO DESSERT SHOP
“This soi is so convenient—close to the park for exercise and with everything within walking distance. Sure, there are not a lot of restaurants around—we actually bring our own food when working at the shop—but the area is still abuzz thanks to the polo club.”
PHONGSRI SAPKETSOPHAR, OWNER OF POLO FRIED CHICKEN
“Soi Polo is small yet busy, filled with locals and workers. “Hia Buay” noodle store across from the sports center is legendary, so’s Kanom Pia Moo—and of course our shop. I like it here because everything is so affordable.”