This once-quiet residential neighbourhood gained local fame among Bangkokites as a retreat to a quaint cafe culture, where they could escape the urban chaos over top-quality coffee and tea. More recently, the neighbourhood has attracted unique venues, shopping, and fitness activities. Don’t miss these spots when hanging out in Bangkok’s most up-and-coming neighbourhood.
True Love Café
Cat cafés have long been popular, especially in Bangkok itself. Ari counters with its own, unique offering: coffee, cake, and huskies. The café’s 23 huskies are owned by its operators and cared for in a very humane and attentive venue, and the attraction is designed responsibly to ensure the dogs’ welfare and customer cleanliness. There are three playtimes a day, at 12:30, 3:30, and 6:30, and the rest of the day the dogs lounge around in their own air-con space. Admission is 350 THB, but it includes a drink and selection of cake.
Fly Me to the Moon
With the incredible range of fitness opportunities in Bangkok, the city has become a true urban playground for active lifestyles of all kinds. Mix up your routine by trying out pole dancing, aerial hammocks and hoops, or unique dance classes. Instructors are experienced and helpful, and cater to all levels of ability and interest.
Dubbed an “urban wellness sanctuary,” this chic, minimalistic spa is a beautiful botanical oasis right in the heart of Ari. The spa treatments feature expertly sourced organic products for its range of treatments, like a 75-minute multi-sensory massage or its signature Rice Force facial treatments.
Tucked away beneath a business building, Future Factory Bangkok is a collaborative performing art space and gallery. It runs regular concept exhibitions and also attracts a steady stream of live music – both for paid shows and free parties. The free events are locally popular and usually cap at 300 – 500 people, but reservations for tickets can be made ahead of time through their Facebook page.
Ari School of Fitness
This concept fitness studio is part-gym, part-social venue. It’s one of the only venues in Bangkok offering CrossFit, and is known for its incredibly personalised training and super positive environment. They offer very reasonably priced memberships for locals or tourists staying a week or more, and get you started with a free one-on-one session with a personal training expert to help guide your goals and abilities. Alternately, opt for a drop-in class or an open-gym day pass.
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A far cry from Bangkok’s infamous mega-malls, this shopping centre is a quiet home to some of Ari’s beautiful cafés and restaurants, including the locally-famous House of Beers. Coffee or tea in hand, peruse the independent shops specialising in music, gardening, and beauty services, or grab a seat and take in the quiet ambiance. There’s also a regular Saturday Market as well as scheduled events and workshops, updated on their website.
Open since 1997, this long-running gallery has a reputation in the art world as a leading commercial gallery in Southeast Asia. It holds up to eight exhibitions a year, so you can always expect a fresh gallery. Check their website for the current exhibition concept.
If you go to Ari for nothing else, make a visit for its superb food. TacoChela has been a longtime favourite for vibrant Mexican flavours, while many swear by Kimchi Hour’s modern spin on traditional Korean fare. Or keep it conventional – Thani Khao Mudaeng is famous for its roasted crisp pork belly, and locals keep going back to Phed Phed to try its 20 different varieties of Som Tam. Finish your binge at Frank Cake Bar, and treat yourself to a dessert made with top-quality ingredients sourced locally and from around the world.
Ari’s rise to its trendy fame within Bangkok coincided with the opening of its numerous, charming cafes that dot the sois. Give your feet a rest and schedule an afternoon of people-watching from a medley of eclectic and cosy coffee houses. FabCafe is a haven for local creatives, equipped with a full workspace and digital fabrication tools like laser cutters and 3D printers. Or hangout at Bangkok Espresso Bar, but save room to try a few drinks from the extensive list at The Coffee Zelection.