You could spend a weekend—and your whole savings account—in this neighborhood and still have barely scratched the surface. Here are all the places that make Bangkok’s most jam-packed neighborhood so much fun to be in.
Phrom Phong is stacked. Known for glitzy malls, high-rise condos, and Japanese food, it’s also loaded with awesome bars, trendy art galleries, and globe-spanning restaurants representing everything from fine dining to Aussie, Tibetan, and Chinese-American cuisine. Here’s how to spend a day (or more) in one of Bangkok’s most happening neighborhoods.
Image: Hello Strangers Cafe
Recharge your batteries with a flat white (B100) at Ceresia or an orange mocha (B140) at artsy Sometimes I Feel. Instagrammers can go to art-filled Hello Strangers for the Monkey Brain Latte (B90) served in a skull-shaped glass. For more than coffee, visit Fics 31, a cafe made for and by movie buffs, with old-school movie posters for sale and a vintage photo booth to boot.
If you want a light bite, there are loads of bakeries here, including a new branch of BKK Bagels. Die-hard croissant fans go to Amantee for their plain croissant (B60), while dolled-up options like nutella and banana croissants can be had at Tiengna Viennoiserie. Truly Scrumptious will satisfy your sweet tooth with their signature black beer cake (B170), but for more wholesome food, go for a healthy spirulina-spinach bowl (B250) at Brekkie.
Image: Lazy Panda
Image: Lele by Le Mai Anh
The area was home to the Embassy of Japan until 2010, and the Japanese expat community formed around it over the decades. That explains the abundance of excellent Japanese restaurants, including several new ones, like Mensho Tokyo, which offers tori paitan ramen (B250), and Bankara, with its satisfying tsukemen (B210). Sustaina, meanwhile, serves unique Japanese veggie and seafood dishes, like eggplant and tuna gyoza (B130) and multi-dish sets (soba noodles, tuna, and tofu rice bowl, grilled squid and veggies, winter melon soup; B390).
It’s not all Japanese here. Northern Thai at Gedhawa, eastern Thai at Sri Trat, American-Chinese at Lazy Panda, momos at Tibet Kitchen, Sichuan at Le Hot Chinese Hotpot, pork knuckle at Bei Otto, dak galbi at Ko Kung, naem nueang at Lele by Le Mai Anh, pork belly rice at Taiwanese joint Hoja. The neighborhood has a little of everything. That includes plant-based options. Veganerie Concept has earned a loyal following for dishes like their vegan waffles (from B165), Vistro for its plant-dappled setting and globe-spanning bites, and Veggiology for its fresh juices and smoothie bowls.
Street eats might be gradually disappearing, but you can still find some excellent spots. There’s great chicken noodle soup at a nameless stall on the right side of Sukhumvit Soi 41, Heng Heng serves queue-worthy chicken rice in the shadows of Emporium, local favorite Rungrueng Pork Noodle offers loaded tom yum noodles on Sukhumvit Soi 26, and decades-old Thong Lee on Sukhumvit Soi 20 deals in Thai-Chinese dishes like moo pad kapi.
Image: SAC Gallery
Check out emerging photographers at RMA Studio and Thai artists at SAC Gallery before catching classic flicks with a craft beer at the Friese-Greene Club (membership costs B400/person). Health freaks can treat themselves to rejuvenating therapies at Infinity Wellbeing (B1,200 for a 60-minute aromatherapy massage) in the meantime.
Looking for groceries? J Cafe, the Israeli restaurant, bakery, and supermarket, specializes in kosher food (mushroom hummus, B209; cheese bourekas, B189), and El Mercado Calle 35 stocks loads of goodies.
If the hour is right, visit Naturalista Wines to get bottles of natty grape to go, or shop at Co-incidence House, a coffee kiosk-turned-lifestyle store (both straddle the line between Phrom Phong and Thonglor). The district is also home to Tew’s, one of Bangkok’s best men’s barbershops, where you can wait for your cut with a beer from O’Shea’s below.
Again, you have it all here. If you’re all about Indian eats, stop by Saras for vegetarian comfort food like aloo methi (potatoes and methi leaves sauteed in garlic and spices, B230). For Italian, order the calzone with fior di latte, baby spinach, mascarpone, and cooked ham (B450) at Peppina, or the classic pizza margherita (B250) at Bella Napoli. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Crab deals in 1.1kg jumbo crabs (B3,600) and giant prawns (B620 for 200-250g); Cocotte serves awesome wagyu tenderloin (B2,790); and Odtomato goes Aussie with its signature beef wellington (B1,645). Fans of Middle Eastern fare can get their fix at Beirut or Berlin’s Doner Kebab (Australian beef and lamb doner set, B330).
Image: Mutual Bar
Beer drinkers should head to The Last Drop for generous daily happy hours (4-8pm; Asahi B120/Guinness B220), or Hair of the Dog for well-stocked fridges and 13 taps. The Royal Oak and Robin Hood are British pub mainstays, where you can grab a pint or two with the hoi polloi. Cocktails? Phrom Phong’s got them. There’s retro speakeasy Mutual Bar, the always on-point Sugar Ray, creative Japanese den Salon du Japonisant, high-flying ABar and Vanilla Sky, gin palace Iron Balls Parlour, minimal Bar 335, and soon-to-open Thaipioka Upper Deck.
The nightlife is just as exciting when it comes to live music. Jazz fans flock to Alonetogether and The Woodshed, while salsa hotspot Flamenco and Escape offer upbeat music and DJs. Bootleg Brothers are opening a microbrewery at Escape soon, too. After that opens, not much else is missing.
Phrom Phong has a wide range of hotels, including a bunch of international four and five-star spots ideal for staycations. The massive, five-star Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park overlooks Benjasiri Park and the Mall Group’s expanding collection of luxury shopping centers (from B2,000/night). It also offers a wonderful Sunday brunch. The relatively new, 34-floor Carlton Hotel is perched right on Sukhumvit (from B1,500/night). The 185-room Skyview Hotel houses one of the better-value rooftop bars in town in Mojjo. It also offers plush rooms (from B1,500/night). And there’s the upscale Hilton Sukhumvit (from B1,500/night).
When the Eugenia closed, the area lost what might have been its most unique hotel. But for a stay with a little more character, there’s the uber-chic 137 Pillars Suites & Residences (from B6,500/night) and the Cabochon (from B3,000/night).
Note: all rates are current, aka pandemic-reduced.