Bangkok is a living and breathing creature in its own right. It grows with new spots and hidden treasures popping up everywhere everyday. It’s a city for everybody: every neighbourhood, every street, every soi has a different personality to offer. And it’s truly worth exploring them all.
The Thai capital is a city worth getting to know well because it will reward you handsomely — either with an out-of-the-way café that serves the best soft serves you’ve ever had, or a little spa spots you can call your very own hideaway. The LSA Neighbourhood Guides aim to help you get started towards exploring the various wonders around Bangkok. For this edition, we’re cruising the buzzing streets of Soi Sukhumvit 31 and 33 looking for the best eats and things to do.
For those who’ve lived in Bangkok for a fair amount of time, you’ll know that Sukhumvit 31 (aka Soi Sawasdee) and 33 are a gold mine of endless fun. The two streets are linked seamlessly to one another as though they are one, and have created a community food enclave with a long lineup of star-studded restaurants to lure in foodies. The area is also lined with a plethora of spas and activity spaces, as well as luxury residences. We hunted the lengths and breadths to find the best highlights from both streets. Read on for our top 10 reasons why you should visit this neighbourhood.
1. Holey Artisan Bakery
For a die-hard sourdough person, Holey Artisan Bakery is where your true pleasure lies. The bakery’s sourdough loaves are prime examples of what bread should be and taste like. Yet not only does Holey Bread know how to make a mean baguette, brioche, croissant, white and whole-grain bread, the bread haunt also makes a great selection of drool-inducing desserts like carrot cakes and doughnuts. Take our word for it: tried and tested.
Holey Artisan Bakery, 245/12 Sukhumvit Soi 31, Bangkok, +66 2 101 1427; Open: Mon-Sun, 6:30 am-7 pm.
2. The Italian musketeers: Peppina, Appia, and Bella Napoli
The goal was to pick one showstopper from each cuisine type and category, but when it comes to Italian restaurants in this area, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to pick just one. Appia is a homey Italian eatery, serving comfort food with a fine-dining flair, all the while still acting like Bangkok’s version of a Roman trattoria. As for Peppina and Bella Napoli, both of these venues offer wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizzas, yet one evident thing that sets them apart is the setting. Bella Napoli in all its olden-day charm is nestled in a dimly-lit, trattoria-like space with an unfancy yet unpretentious wood oven right next to the dining area. Peppina, on the other hand, boasts a younger spirit, with a more humorous and charming interior design.
Make way everybody: fusion Japanese fare is coming through. Progressive Japanese food has been all the rage lately and there’s no sign that its popularity will slow down. To have the best of this cuisine in Bangkok, steer toward ISAO on Sukhumvit 31 to gorge on an array of sushi, rolls, and rice bowls, spiked with fun twists. Their iconic caterpillar-like roll, Jackie (THB 450), is the perfect example of our statement.
ISAO, 5 Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok, +662 258 0645; Open: Mon-Sun, 11 am-2:15 pm for lunch and 5:30 -9:30 pm for dinner.
4. The Woodshed
Thirsty? Quench your thirst here with great drinks at The Woodshed, a jazz bar. With a rustic-themed setting and staff dressed in snazzy waistcoats, the bar oozes out a warmth that speaks of the characteristics of its spirits.
The Woodshed, 24/1 Sukhumvit Soi 31 (Sawasdee), Bangkok, +6697 235 8286.
5. Paco Bangkok
Get your rainbow craving fix here at Paco Bangkok, where a medley of fruit smoothies are put together, making it looks as though an edible rainbow dwells within the bowl. Each smoothie is made from real fruit and is also free from sugar and artificial colours. It’s healthy, hip and highly Instagrammable. What’s not to like about that?
Paco Bangkok, 249 Soi Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok, +6661 919 9265; Open: Mon-Sun, 10 am-8 pm.
6. Sometimes I Feel
Coffee is an astounding thing: it keeps us going throughout day and night. And Sometimes I Feel over at Sukhumvit Soi 31 happens to have just the thing to offer. The outlet roasts their own coffee beans and makes a mean coffee, ideal for those who are after a quality cup full of craftsmanship. This place could be your new caffeinated haven.
Sometimes I Feel, 5/1 Sukhumvit 31, Prakhanong, Klongtoey, Bangkok, +6689 223 1493
7. Brainwake Café
Get a good rise and shine for your day at Brainwake Café, where a wealth of Thai and western comfort dishes are offered to cater to all palates. Set in a high-ceiling, loft-like room, the cafe generates a chill and productive vibe that’s perfect to sit down and unwind or even to get your work done.
Brainwake Café, 27/1 Sukhumvit 33, Bangkok, +662 005 0026; Open: Mon-Sun, 7 am-9 pm.
8. The LAB
For ladies who want to get fit and gentlemen who want to get buff, if you live and love this area, The LAB should be your move. The health club challenges you to come test your physical conditions and push your limits, all through hard work and experimenting — very much like a lab work. Whether you fancy a muay thai class, kettlebells, circuits, or TRX, The LAB is here to help you burn that unneeded fat, build those muscles, and boost your strength. Ready to hustle for that muscle? Get set, and go.
The LAB, RSU Tower, 2nd Floor, Soi Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok, +662 662 1618
9. Oasis Spa
There’s a plethora of great spas in Asok and Phrom Pong, but what catches our eyes and aching bodies mostly is the Oasis Spa. Set in a white wooden house amid lush greenery, Oasis acts as an urban sanctuary where you can quickly escape the city. Set aside some “me” time and pamper yourself with their facial treatments, body scrubs, hydrotherapy, or their signature massages.
Oasis Spa, 64 Sukhumvit 31 Yaek 4, Bangkok, +662 262 2122; Open: Mon-Sun, 10 am-10 pm.
10. Bangkok Golf Centre (BGC)
In the 21st century, to be a golf pro doesn’t mean grilling yourself under the sun. Bangkok Golf Centre is an indoor golf school with over 15 bays all equipped with advanced technology and systems for golf newbies who long to be the next Tiger Woods.
Bangkok Golf Centre, 5 Fl, 571 RSU Building, Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok, +662 259 6086; Open: Mon-Sun, 8 am-9 pm.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok on 14 October 2019.