A Food-Lover's Guide to Ari, Bangkok's Laid-back Neighbourhood
Ari has become a foodie’s haven of sorts, with an abundance of street food vendors. This, in addition to the opening of a number of new and trendy restaurants, bars, and cafes in the past year, has made this area go from being one of the many stops on the BTS Skytrain to a highly sought after area by expats and Thais alike. It has slowly but steadily transitioned from being a local Thai neighborhood to one that expats simply cannot get enough of.
Ari is also within close proximity of some of the coolest areas in the city. Saphan Kwai is just one stop away, and the neighborhood is teeming with local charm. Visitors will be hard-pressed to find other foreigners (except for the handful at the karaoke and go-go bars). Mo Chit, home to Thailand’s largest weekend market—Chatuchak Weekend Market—is only two stops down.
Where to Eat
From sidewalks teeming with street food to mouthwatering Mexican cuisine, there is something for everyone in this neighborhood.
The street food options seem to be dwindling with each passing day in the city, but Ari appears to be holding its ground. The vendors thrive in the evening, so the best time to grab grub on the side of the road is after dark. For those who can’t handle Bangkok’s oppressive heat, there are plenty of Thai restaurants serving up delicious cuisine indoors. Serving up great Thai curry is the restaurant just a few steps from Lay Lao—do note that the signage isn’t in English. Just be on the lookout for the guy making papaya salad outside and you are in the right spot. Hann Khao Soi Lovers is a great vendor serving up delicious khao soi, as well. There are plenty of Thai restaurants intermingled with the street food, so feel free to meander a bit before choosing which restaurant to dine at.
Ari’s international food scene has grown recently. With delicious new additions in collaboration with the many restaurants found in La Villa, this is a great area to frequent for those who need a short break from Thai cuisine. One expensive but delicious option for pizza and more is SALT. It has one of the most Instagram-worthy interiors in the capital. For Mexican cuisine, head down the street from SALT to visit Casa Azul. Check out the other great international restaurants below.
- Fat Bird (Western and some Thai)
- O’Glee (Irish Pub)
- Wholly Cow (Steakhouse)
- Bin Bin Long (Vietnamese)
- Annyeong Bangkok (Korean)
- Kuh Grill & Bar (Steakhouse)
- JOHA Korean Restaurant (Korean)
- Tacos Factory (Mexican)
Bueno @ Basement is not specifically vegetarian, but the sole chef working here is happy to accommodate specific dietary needs, and her food is delicious and healthy. Just outside this underground restaurant, there is an inconspicuous stall serving up vegetarian cuisine. No one there speaks English, but all the food sits out buffet-style, making it easy to point and eat. Be sure to come here early in the day, as the options tend to fizzle out later on in the afternoon.
Ari is overflowing with coffee shops and cafes. Head to OH Cafe, which is equipped with comfortable seating and ฿60 (US$1.75) brews. Those with a sweet tooth should grab a coffee from The Coffee Zelection, with some strange, sugary concoctions in lieu of black coffee. There is also a husky cafe in the area: True Love Cafe. It is here visitors can sip their favorite brews while admiring the super-fluffy breed. There are more than a handful of coffee shops in the area, as well. In addition to cafes, digital nomads will be happy to hear that the Cent Co-Working Space is also located in this neighborhood. It is equipped with floor to ceiling glass windows that are sure to ignite creativity in all those who visit.
Where to Stay
There are not many accommodation options in Ari for visitors passing through. Those who can afford to shell out some baht should check out Vic3 Bangkok. Those who are balling on a backpacker’s budget should instead head to The Yard Hostel Bangkok. In addition to being budget-friendly, the staff here are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and it is only a short walk from the BTS Skytrain. Udee Bangkok is another affordable option.
What to Do
Thai food is certainly in the running for being one the most delicious cuisines in the entire world. Those hoping to enjoy it long after they have departed the kingdom may want to look into taking a cooking class, and that is where Chef Jekky steps in. Located between Ari and Saphan Kwai, Jekky’s house is a homestay equipped with a clay stove for cooking. Her food is absolutely delicious, and her class is a great way to get started.
In addition to sharpening your cooking skills, there are a few places to go shopping in Ari. La Villa almost always has shops set up in its courtyard with (normally) business-like women’s clothing. There is also Rainlove, which has a wide selection of stylish shoes. The shopping scene is not the best in Ari, but Chatuchak Weekend Market and Siam, equipped with the most epic malls in the capital, are located on either side of the neighborhood, and are only a few stops away.
Those wanting to get their zen on should check out Divine Yoga. Its quaint exterior looks like a gazebo of sorts. If yoga is a bit too mild for visitors, Ari is also home to a CrossFit gym: Ari Crossfit. Now’s Fitness Ari is another great gym to get in an even better workout, with some great body pump and cycling classes. One of the coolest new additions in regards to fitness is Fly Me to the Moon Pole & Aerial Studio. There, visitors can do things like pole dance or use an aerial hoop to attempt some mid-air acrobatics.
Where to Drink
Contrary to popular belief, visitors to the capital do not need to make the trek downtown in order to enjoy a good cocktail (or two). Ari has some pretty cool venues equipped with delicious wine and cocktails. Here are some of the best places to get buzzed in this cool neighborhood.