A Walking Tour of The Bang Rak Neighbourhood in Bangkok
Bang Rak is one of many districts found in Bangkok, so what is it about this area that sets it apart? Surrounded by the Chao Phraya River on one side and by both the subway and Skytrain on the other, this is one area that is easy to commute around. While the neighborhood is large, many of its noteworthy eats, attractions, and more are within walking distance of one another. Here, a walking tour of Bang Rak in Bangkok.
There are four BTS Skytrain Stations found in the area of Bang Rak. Each one is worth visiting for a handful of reasons, whether it be home to the best fine-dining in the capital or equipped with epic nightlife venues.
Sala Daeng is the most gay-friendly area of town. Soi 4 being one of the most well-known streets for being LGBTQ friendly, is a short soi (street) lined with bars with everything from cabaret shows to 90s karaoke. This is a great place to stop for a pre-club drink before heading to one of the gayest clubs in Bangkok: DJ Station. The area just welcomed a number of delicious eateries and cafes, as well.
This area is mostly made up of residential housing and high-rise buildings accommodating businesses in the capital. One reason to stop by is to get a photograph of the noteworthy pedestrian bridge. It is best viewed at night when it is lit up.
Surasak lacks sky bars and a river view, but it has a number of accommodation options available. These are best for those who live in the capital and have to commute to the Business District of Bangkok. There are a few cafes in the area, including Hatta Zakka Cafe and Bevanda. The area itself is not that special, however, it is in close proximity to the other stations in Bang Rak that are certainly noteworthy stops. This is also where Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple is found.
Saphan Taksin is one of the most popular stations in Bang Rak for the sole reason that it connects to the Chao Phraya River by pier. Both the tourist boat and the express boat can be taken from the Sathorn Pier, which connects to the BTS Skytrain. From here, you can hop on the river and head to some of the most noteworthy areas of town, including the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and Asiatique The Riverfront.
The four MRT Subway stations which surround the Bang Rak area are Hua Lamphong, Sam Yan, Si Lom, and Lumphini.
Hua Lamphong is home to the main train station in the capital. Whether visitors are headed to neighboring countries or a city just outside of Bangkok, this is the station to purchase tickets. The station itself is an architectural wonder in addition to being a convenient transportation hub. It was built in the early 1900s by Dutch architects, and it makes for a great photo opportunity.
Sam Yan is close to Chulalongkorn University, and many students can be found checking out the restaurants and shops found in this area. There is a food market here, in addition to a handful of eateries. This is where visitors will find Wat Hua Lam Phong, a top sight in all of Bang Rak as well as Too Fast To Sleep, a coffee shop and library duo.
Si Lom is a short walk away from Lumphini Park, however, this green space is not technically a part of Bang Rak. This is one of the best shopping areas of all the four MRT Stations, as it is home to the Silom Complex. Visitors to this area should also check out Somtum Der to experience some of the best papaya salad in the city.
The MRT Subway Station Lumphini is the last one to make up Bang Rak. One of the most well-known hotels in the capital, the So Sofitel Bangkok, is found here. This is one of the most luxurious hotels in town, equipped with a stunning infinity pool which oftentimes hosts pool parties at weekends. Loungers and swimmers alike can enjoy some of the best views of Bangkok’s never-ending skyline from here.
What to See
From temples to modern, architectural wonders, here are the things visitors should visit while exploring Bang Rak.
Neilson Hays Library
There are plenty of bookstores and libraries in the capital, but none can boast of the extensive collection found at the Neilson Hays Library. This library has acquired some 20,000 titles since it opened in 1869. It is the oldest English-language library in the country. There is also a lovely cafe in the grounds, with some outdoor seating shaded by the foliage found in the courtyard. The capital can be a hectic place, so those who simply need to take timeout from the chaos should check out the Neilson Hays Library. The Bangkok Mosque is also located within walking distance of the library.
The MahaNakhon building, otherwise known as the pixel building, can be seen from almost everywhere in Bang Rak. It stands at 77 stories tall, and it is officially the tallest structure in the Land of Smiles. It just recently opened on August 29, 2016, and has quickly become one of the most photographed architectural wonders in the capital. Those exploring Bang Rak will see a great view of the MahaNakhon from Wat Maha Pruettharam Worawihan.
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
The Sri Maha Mariamman Temple seemingly sneaks up on those wandering around Surasak, though a busy intersection of Silom Road is an unusual place to find a historic Hindu temple. Built in the 1860s by Tamil immigrants, this temple is a stunning, colorful display of many Hindu deities. The intersection is busy with both those selling things like flowers and fruit, and others purchasing these items to make offerings at the temple. This area has also been dubbed as one of Bangkok’s Little Indias, and it is here visitors will find an abundance of Indian restaurants, many of which are vegetarian friendly.
Wat Maha Pruettharam Worawihan
The City of Angels never ceases to surprise and impress all those who visit, with its architecture. Historic temples and futuristic buildings intertwine throughout the city, a wonderful combination of the old and new. Wat Maha Pruettharam Worawihan is one of these temples that sits anid Bangkok’s urban decor. Its stunning and sparkling exterior is sure to impress even the most templed-out of tourist.
Where to Get Coffee
(Not Just) Another Cup is the perfect place to refuel after a day of exploring the extensive area of Bang Rak. It has an extensive coffee menu and is equipped with powerful, chilly air conditioning. After an afternoon of temple-hopping and walking, there is simply nothing better than an ice cold cup of coffee.
Too Fast To Sleep is the perfect coffee shop for night owls. The huge cafe is open 24 hours a day, and the seating area is a quiet zone: no talking allowed. Whether you are a digital nomad or simply need to check your email, this is a tranquil, relaxing place to do so.
Where to Eat
From fine dining to street vendors, Bang Rak is teeming with an abundance of places to find the perfect meal. Here, the top Thai, international, and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the area.
Street food is in abundance in Bang Rak, especially near Sala Daeng. From buffet-style Thai cuisine featuring everything from pumpkin to chicken feet, visitors cannot go wrong sampling some of the food in this area. Those who require air conditioning and a place to sit-down may steer clear of the street food and instead opt for one of the Thai restaurants found in the area. Sala Rim Naam is certainly the most popular, with delicious dishes and live Thai dance performances to provide guests with a unique dining experience. Supanniga Eating Room has several locations (including a dinner cruise) in the capital. One of these is found in Chong Nonsi.
For something a bit more luxurious, visitors can check out Sirocco, located in Lebua State Tower. Boon Pochana serves up delicious Chinese cuisine, with everything from frog to string beans on the menu. It is relatively inexpensive, as well. Bitterman caters both Thai and international dishes. This restaurant is equipped with one of the most Instagram-worthy interiors in town. Those looking for something a bit messier should head to The Smokin’ Pug, for their delicious barbecue menu.
There are a handful of vegetarian restaurants in Bang Rak. The area around the Sri Mariamman Temple is teeming with vegetarian-friendly Indian restaurants. Suananda Vegetarian Garden Cafe and Chennai Kitchen are two restaurants with meat-free options.
Where to Drink
Those with baht to blow and who are wanting to live out their The Hangover Part II dreams should make their way to Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower. This particular bar is famous for its role in the film, and many people visit just for the photo opportunity. As stunning as the view is, be ready to spend, as drinks from this epic bar are not cheap.
Where to Stay
There are a seemingly endless number of hostels to choose from in Bang Rak. Video gamers might head to Everyday Bangkok Hostel. Those hoping to be close to the BTS Skytrain or MRT Subway might instead visit Tarntawan Place, Amara Bangkok, or Mode Sathorn Hotel Bangkok. Lub D is an affordable accommodation option in the area, as well.
Those looking for something a bit more luxurious may instead book W Bangkok or the Mandarin Hotel Bangkok. Both are equipped with stunning views of the city in addition to swimming pools. Other luxurious hotels in the area include Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La Hotel.