In part one of my 48 hours in Bangkok guide, I talked about my travel essentials and how to make most of your short stay in the city. Part two covers where to stay and the new foodie joints in Bangkok so you’ll feel a little more like a local, through sampling the cuisines that have influenced the local culture. Read on to discover the not-so-secret-secret stall and a Michelin-worthy emerging cuisine, as well as where to get your green juice fix and something a bit healthier to offset the indulgence.
Where to stay
We stayed in the Oriental Residence Bangkok, in a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen and washing machine/dryer, which is incredibly useful if you’re actually staying longer than a weekend. There’s also something comforting about having a kitted out kitchen and a living space with a dining table. I’m a street food fan but prefer eating it in the comfort of my own home (or service apartment). When we went, it was priced at around £170 a night and it was the perfect option for bigger groups or travelling couples that want more service and assurance than an Airbnb can provide. There was also a 24 hour gym and large pool with beautiful cabanas, and a chic and perfectly photogenic Cafe Claire offering French cuisine. It was like a mini resort in the middle of the city. Although it was a bit further out of the Pathum Wan area, where Siam square and many luxury hotels reside, it was a convenient location to shuttle around the vast city, especially to the locations I visited.
Not Just Another Cup, 10:30-11:30pm
Relying on social media to hunt down the best places to brunch in Bangkok was successful. This particular place has a discreet exterior on a quiet side road. Inside, it looks much more like a cozy contemporary home than a photogenic cafe. It’s perfect if you work on-the-go and need to catch up on some emails, with an acai bowl and green juice by your side. Food here was good, healthy and with lots of options but it doesn’t come with the typically ‘cheap’ Thailand price tag. If you’re after something savoury, go for the seared tuna with chimchurri sauce or the egg white omelette. From my experience, even trending coffee joints don’t have many non-dairy alternatives but you won’t find yourself subject to just tea or espressos here. The soy mocha was the perfect balance of chocolate and that much needed taste of caffeine.
This is where I tasted the sweetest raw coconut I’ve ever had and at only 35 baht. Despite the name, Chinatown also offers Thai cuisine and the typical touristy street food attractions like entomophagy. Before finding your next meal, take time to explore the avenues packed with quirky keepsakes and souvenirs, and take in the chaos. If you’re taking a cab, it’s best to be dropped off outside of Yaowarat road and to find your way into the crowds by foot.
Another stellar ‘street food’ cafe is Odean, which specialises in crab claw noodles and crab meatballs. Here the staff speak English and prices aren’t as low as you’d think, although considerably less than Jay Fai – we paid about 1000 baht for two people. Portions are flexible by price to take the opportunity to try as much of their signature dishes as possible. A shoutout to the quality of their noodles is also well deserved.
Gaa is the newest restaurant from the chef behind Asia’s best restaurant and seventh in the world, Gaggan. Challenging stereotypes of Indian food and introducing street food culture to fine dining, the nine month old arm presents a lighter tasting menu and opportunity to sample truly progressive cuisine. Read the full review here.
It’s been a while since I’ve visited a city and even before I’ve left, wished I had a ticket to come back. There’s still so much I want to do, like try out the renowned spas that Bangkok proudly boasts and see the floating market nearly a decade later (the last time I was there I was 18) but I guess that’s something to look forward to seeing on a guide in the future…
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