Bangkok is a massive city, but chances are that if you are a traveler in the millennial generation you will end up either staying in or spending time on Khaosan Road. For those new to the city, Khaosan Road is quite possibly the backpacker capital of the world and all the good and bad that goes along with it.
It is packed with bars, clubs and thirsty youth from all over the world. It can be a thrilling experience, but for many, also quite overwhelming. It is chock full of clichés and can be exhausting and often unpleasant. Do yourself a favor and keep your doses of Khaosan as small as possible and check out the following area instead.
Thonglor is to Khaosan as ice is to fire. A legitimate question would be “Is this really the same city?” Filled with upscale restaurants, bars, stores and so on, the area rivals anything you can find in Tokyo and New York City at about half the price.
In Bangkok, nothing beats The Commons which is a mixed use space filled with artisanal restaurants, cafes, bars and boutique shopping. It is a particularly special place if you have had your fill of Pad Thai as you can find fantastic food from all over the world. The cuisines range from pulled pork sandwiches to charcuterie platters expertly paired with great wines. It is a four story food experience that you’ll need multiple trips to even experience half of.
The Commons has a good collection of drinking spots, but not far from it is Iron Fairies which is quite possibly the best watering hole in town. An eclectic spot that combines the feel of a nineteenth century apothecary, with a dark and mysterious vibe. Even if you don’t drink, it is worth a visit to check it out because it is filled with byzantine stairways and secret rooms that give it a real speakeasy type feeling. Most nights of the week, they have live music until 11 pm and an unbeatable selection of cocktails and liquors.
Iron Fairies can be a little tame for some visitors so if you want a little more excitement, head up the road about three hundred meters to Beam. Beam is a recently opened club that sits on top of a collection of other bars. Each one of these is worth a visit of their own, but Beam has a pulsing atmosphere and can appeal to a range of tastes. It has two floors: hip hop and electronic so you can mix and match your evening’s music to your pleasure.
Thonglor is full of all the stores you would expect of the upscale part of any city. However, what makes it unique is that one corner of it also contains Little Japan which is a concentration of Japanese restaurants, stores, and cafes. Cruise through this area and check out some of the young Bangkok designers who are combining a Japanese and Thai aesthetic to create something truly new. But try not to buy too much stuff; not only will it be difficult to bring back home, but also studies have shown that material possessions just don’t provide as much happiness as experiences, as shown in the infographic below.
There are a lot of cool spots to stay in Thonglor, but one hidden gem that is located in the middle of it XP Thonglor Bangkok Hotel. It is surprisingly inexpensive, yet still nice despite its unbeatable location. Situated in the heart of Little Tokyo, it is just a five minute walk away from the Commons and some of the other places mentioned so far. What makes it unique is that it is on actually on the top two floors of a building that contains sushi restaurant at its base. Just try not getting hungry every time that you walk in.
A Dynamic Area
There are a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes that many people have when they think about Thailand. Whatever they may be, take the time and check out Thonglor because it will change your perspective completely and show you a part of Bangkok you just might not want to leave. And regardless of where you travel, you always need to plan on how you pay for it. Using credit cards that offer travel reward points makes paying for your trip hassle-free and full of bonus perks.