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Courtesy of Kelly Iverson
Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

A Local's Guide to the Phra Khanong District in Bangkok

Picture of Kelly Iverson
Updated: 7 April 2017

Warm shop owners, mom-and-pop food stalls, the laundry lady with the dog from Australia that never stops barking—though it is a different kind of charm, Phra Khanong is brimming with it. Here is a local’s guide to this unique neighborhood in Bangkok.

Phra Khanong

If visitors meander down the many alleyways found in Phra Khanong, they are likely to come across an abundance of locals living their best lives, with Thai television shows and upbeat music streaming from their modest homes.

Phra Khanong truly feels like home, regardless of its vicinity to downtown Bangkok. There is a good ratio of Thais to expats living in the area, and the many homes just off the Skytrain certainly gives Phra Khanong its chilled out, neighborhood vibe, as opposed to the usual urban décor.

Where to eat

Phra Khanong is great for diners on a budget, as street eats line its quaint alleyways and sois. Those looking for something other than Thai food may instead opt for W District, an outdoor food court of sorts equipped with an onslaught of international dishes from which to choose. Just meander around the small square that makes up this night bazaar’s entirety, and you’ll find dishes including a macaroni and cheese burger for ฿108 (approximately US$3.12), cheese pizza for only ฿60 (approx. US$1.73) a slice, and more. There are plenty of Thai food stalls here, but they are more expensive than what you would find on the street, and the quality of the food is about the same. In addition to W District, there are a handful of restaurants serving up international cuisine, including Cris’p Pizza and Cabana Garden, both of which are pizzerias.

Cafés and more

This area is ideal for those looking to get their caffeine fix. Tom n Toms Coffee is suited for night owls, as it is open 24 hours a day. Craft Cafe is super quaint, making it a great spot to sit and get online for a few hours. M Cafe is both adorable and affordable; however, it does not have wi-fi.

Ingreendient is a restaurant and coffee shop duo, playing consistently cool music and offering one too many delicious smoothies on the menu. Whether explorers need to refuel or just want to try one of their flavorful vegan meals, this is the place to go. All of their tasty and healthy smoothies are only ฿100 (US$2.89), from their delectable cocoa and banana smoothie to a sweet combination of papaya and vanilla soy milk. Ingreendient also has coffee starting at only ฿50 (US$1.44). Be sure to check out the other coffee shops in the area, including 71 Coffee and Milin Food and Beverage. One of the coolest cafés of them all is Ninive Board Game Cafe, located off Sukhumvit Road and Soi Sukhumvit Plus 1; this is one of the few board game cafés in town that does not charge customers to play their games.

Photograph Phra Khanong Market

It is not every day that visitors to an urban city like Bangkok get to see its thriving food markets up close and personal. That is what makes Phra Khanong such a bustling and fun area: the old and the new co-exist and dwell amongst one another, and this is exactly the case with the market found here, located along the canal near the Phra Khanong Pier.

The market itself is an overwhelming onslaught of smells, as the raw meat on display intertwines with the abundance of seafood sitting in buckets of ice. Unless visitors plan on doing any cooking, this market is essentially just great for taking photographs and seeing how it is many locals do their grocery shopping.

This back market is certainly no Chatuchak, or really any other market visitors may be expecting. Instead, in these back alleyways, you’ll find a random assortment of men and women’s clothing, vendors selling a variety of Thai dishes, children’s toys, house décor and more. Intermingled with these are cheap hair salons and barbers, should visitors want to get a haircut.

Phra Khanong Market, Bangkok, จังหวัด กรุงเทพมหานคร 10110, Thailand, +66 089 178 0608

Drink at W District

Surprisingly enough, Phra Khanong is also a cool spot for after hours. After visitors load up on cheap drinks at W District, it is time to head to Ma-Rum-Ba. In addition to having mojitos larger than most people’s heads, this bar also has a few games on tap, such as Jenga, for tipsy customers to play. Another great bar to stop by for a beer or two is J Bar and Cafe. It sits across Sukhumvit Road from W District. It mimics its outdoor vibe with its lack of siding, and the open area is certainly inviting.

W District, Sukhumvit Rd, Khwaeng Phra Khanong Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Bangkok, Thailand, +66 02 381 2277

Be creative at Naiipa

Naiipa is a relatively new office space that people can rent out. The area is incredibly green, with existing foliage surrounding the entire complex. This space is really only useful for digital nomads, expats, and locals living in Phra Khanong; however, it is a pretty spectacular building to catch a glimpse of visitors already in the area. Guests will also find Hof Art Space and Stage Studio of Dance in Phra Khanong.

Naiipa, 46 Sukhumvit 46 Bangkok 10110, Thailand, +66 094 898 7637

Get in shape

For one reason or another, one of the only major expenses expats find themselves cringing over are the cost of gyms in the capital, with monthly memberships upwards of $100. While that may seem normal in the Western world, this is certainly steep in a city like Bangkok; however, Phra Khanong is home to a handful of gyms, and what makes them noteworthy is their sheer affordability. Be sure to check out either Chawan Club & Fitness or Zendokai Shingi Dojo for some of the best prices in town.

Where to stay

Take a Rest Residence is located just feet from the BTS Skytrain station. Those looking to spend a bit more may instead opt for The Mix Bangkok or Jasmine Resort Hotel, both of which are within walking distance of the Skytrain as well.