Our neighbourhood guide to the downtown area surrounding Bangkok’s oldest public park, including a purpose-built art gallery and a stunning rooftop bar
Baan, helmed by Bangkok’s culinary wunderkind Thitid Thassanakajohn, is the sister restaurant to Thitid’s lauded fine-dining establishment Le Du. Here at Baan, though, the focus is on simpler home-style cooking that’s made to be shared. Bold flavours soared from every dish we tried, with favourites including the po tak, a spicy seafood soup with holy basil, and the massaman curry with braised lamb belly. Perhaps best of all, sustainability is very much on Baan’s agenda too, with ingredients such as their beef and lamb sourced from a Muslim farming community in nearby Nakhon Ratchasima province.
Sleep: The Sukhothai
From the moment you turn off Sathorn Road, it hits you. All lotus ponds and traditional, pointed roofs – whose acute angles are, incidentally, a pragmatic design to help monsoon season rains dissipate – the sprawling Sukhothai exudes a distinctively low-rise charm in a capital so often bewitched by soaring towers. The warren of walkways inside and out encourage exploration, many of them dotted with ornate stupas and splendid antiques, while the rooms revel in their old world Eastern luxury, draped as they are in Jim Thompson silks and furnished in warm teak.
Drink: Park Society
Perched on the 29th floor of the achingly trendy SO Sofitel hotel, boasting magnificent views over Lumphini Park and the rangy metal skyline of Siam and Silom, Park Society is a key spot for the pampered and privileged of Bangkok. Hexagonal tables, chairs and stools are strewn about this smart space and a DJ is on hand even at 5pm, playing inoffensive dance-lite tunes as the sun sets over the city. It is quite a sight from this particular vantage point, with the park’s huge expanse providing a unique detail that helps the view from this rooftop bar stand out in a city of rooftop bars.
Wander: Lumphini Park
An increasingly rare pocket of green space in central Bangkok, the capital’s first public park is still going strong. The 57.6 hectares that make up Lumphini Park are dotted with a wondrous array of flora, including hundreds of trees that provide perfect respite from the sun. With a library, youth centre, lake with paddleboats and the famed King Rama VI statue, there is plenty to see and do here, but perhaps the greatest activity of all is finding a shaded patch of grass and settling down with a good book – while keeping an eye on the array of life attracted to this copious lung, of course.
Browse: Bangkok CityCity Gallery
One of relatively few purpose-built commercial art galleries in Bangkok, CityCity is a vision in pure white, with hosted works benefiting from the extreme ‘blank canvas’ design aesthetic. The space, founded in 2015 by filmmaker-cum art-collector Akapol ‘Op’ Sudasna and former Thailand Creative and Design Centre curator Supamas Phahulo, hosts exhibitions that tend towards cool rather than classic, and have previously shown the likes of manga artist Wisut Ponnimit, contemporary designer Grisana Eimeamkamol and Bangkok street art royalty Alex Face.
This article was published in the June 2018 edition of Southeast Asia Globe magazine. For full access, subscribe here.