Once a forgotten area between hipster Ari and touristy Chatuchak, Saphan Kwai (Thai for “buffalo bridge”) is home to humble yet stylish cafes, rooftop bars and restaurants. Here's what it's like living in the neighborhood.
Coffee & Breakfast
Lunch & Dinner
Just a few steps from BTS Saphan Kwai is Nua Noodle House (1511/9 Phahon Yothin Rd., 084-652-3052), famed for their homemade roasted chili paste tom yum noodles with generous portions of meaty pork (B50). For some good old Thai classic dishes, late-night establishment Krua Pradiphat (Pradiphat Soi 16) is especially renowned for its ”Super Soup” (spicy goji berry soup with chicken feet, B100) and pla gra-pong tod nam pla (deep-fried snapper with sweet and sour sauce, B370). Meanwhile, the modern, two-story kopitiam-style shophouse Jong Dim Sum (524/4 Phahon Yothin Rd., 089-048-6908) serves Betong-recipe dim sum. Continue your Asian fix at nearby Jakkapat (466/4 Phahon Yothin Rd., 083-923-3334) for their specialty bak kut teh (from B150) or venture a little bit further to Sasori Izakaya (39 Phahon Yothin Soi 11, 02-042-7797) for meaty specialties like chicken thigh with a hit of yuzu kosho (B45) and a refreshing pint of draft Sapporo beers (B160). For something fusion, Raan Keng (Pradiphat Soi 14, 02-279-1555) offers blue shrimp tempura (B189) served alongside dishes like somtam “Isaan-kaya” (B599), a big brass tray loaded with papaya salad, fried shishamo (willow leaf fish), salmon sashimi, crispy pork rind, spicy fried chicken, and raw octopus with wasabi. While you’re in the area, don’t miss Dalad Vietnamese Restaurant (195 Pradiphat Soi 19, 02-271-2109) for authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Start with grungy ‘90s Helter Skelter (312 Saliratthawiphak Rd., 084-008-8876) for a vinyl-only soundtrack. Next, sip a San Miguel (B100) at New York-themed rooftop Dumbo Jazz & Vinyl Bar (6/F, Inn Office, Phahon Yothin Rd., 094-560-7222). Cat on the Roof (4/F, Everyday Sunday Social Hostel, Phahon Yothin Rd., 095-046-8824) serves Schneider Weisse Tap 6 (B260), while sassy Baby Bar (1/F, Craftsman Hotel, Phahon Yothin Soi 11) is the new number one in the ‘hood for cocktails.
BTS Saphan Kwai is just five minutes’ walk from where most of these gems are located.
By the BTS, 31-story The Signature by Urbano (1543 Phahon Yothin Rd., 02-798-353) has 253 units from B19,000-65,000/month. Meanwhile, Life@Phahon-Ari‘s (1415 Phahon Yothin Rd.) 357 units run from B13,000-35,000/month. One of Bangkok’s tallest buildings, 53-floor Rhythm Phahon-Ari (1377 Phahon Yothin Rd., 02-279-8390) has 809 units and a rooftop pool from B18,000-46,000/month.
Community mall Aqua (490/15 Phahon Yothin Rd.) is a lively watering hole and dining area, while Buffalo Bridge Gallery (490/5 Phahon Yothin Rd., 02-616-6669) is a true arts hub. Check out Mo Museum & Objects That Matter (Pradiphat Soi 14, 095-989-5992) for minimal, stylish bags.
What’s special about Saphan Kwai?
Noppadon Suttikarnkosol, owner of Helter Skelter
“People used to know Saphan Kwai for its seedy nightlife but that has all changed. There are new restaurants, cafes, bars and hostels that are attracting more people to this neighborhood. It is becoming one of Bangkok’s most interesting areas.”
Savita Chongratanakul, owner of Baby Bar
“One of Saphan Kwai's charms is the unique blend between the old and the new—’hipster’ modern and serene, close-knit community. You won’t find anything like it outside of Bangkok.”
Jetpruek Lapnarongchai, owner of Jong Dim Sum
“This neighborhood has a charm that’s different to our neighbor Ari. You can still find old shop-houses, markets, delicious local restaurants and community vibe. Hip cafes stand next to old shop-houses and modern hostels hide in tiny sois.”