It’s the home of the irrevocably cool and creative. Without the flashy pretence of its paralleled Thonglor neighbour, yet still simmering in a similarly well-connected proximity to all of Bangkok’s hottest happenings, Ekkamai is thriving.

Where it was once primarily dubbed a hipster breeding ground, the south Bangkok haven boasts a warm sense of community that proves it is much beyond that. It’s where a deliciously developed coffee culture is an afternoon routine. It’s where vintage boutiques and bohemian bars flourish in flair. And it’s where a young, vibrant crowd flocks to find a new hidden-and-haute gem at every nook. If you consider Siam Bangkok’s heart, Ekkamai is its artful, eclectic mind.

From where to eat to what to drink and shop vinyl ’til you drop, we’ve put together the ultimate low-down on this hot-and-happening yet still sweetly sabai sabai neighbourhood below. Conveniently located between the glitz of Thonglor and the serenity of Phra Khanong, find out why a laidback luxury lullaby is Ekkamai’s secret ring.

Featured and hero image credit: RHYTHM Ekkamai Estate

Where to wine and dine

If there’s one thing everyone heads to Ekkamai for, it’s the food and drink scene. Whether you keep it casual and head to Sabaijai for their infamous fried chicken or grab a hearty slice of pizza at Délices de Capoue and Spanish bites at Broken Eggs, the range is wide between price points, cuisines, and even Michelin stars.

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: Meatilicious

Meatilicious

It’s hard not to fall for anything backed by the man behind Asia’s Best Restaurant four consecutive years in a row, Gaggan Anand. With Meatlicious, the award-winning chef brings to sizzle and char a mouthwatering array of meats, sourced anywhere from Argentina to Japan and Australia. It’s a rustic yet really exciting restaurant, serving comfort food for the meat lover extraordinaire, all cooked on a wood grill. After you devour that juicy tomahawk, you can even get oven-burnt ice cream here, which in itself is already a very cool reason to book that table.

Meatilicious, 8 Ekkamai Soi 6, Bangkok, +66 91 698 6688, Open daily 6pm – 12am

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: Mikkeller

Upstairs at Mikkeller

You wouldn’t expect a popular beer bar with just a few seats to hone a Michelin Star, yet when you come across a spot that is a popular beer bar with just a few seats and that does hone a Michelin Star, you know the food is going to be really good. Run by Chef Dan Bark, the minimalist Upstairs at Mikkeller sits atop the popular Mikkeller, and serves up a seasonally changing Progressive American menu alongside a wildly intriguing beer menu. It’s unexpected yet very casually cool. Very Ekkamai.

Upstairs at Mikkeller, 26 Soi Ekkamai 10 Yaek 2, +66 91 713 9034, Open Wed-Sat 6pm-10pm

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: Cuisine de Garden

Cuisine de Garden

A beautiful way to get in touch with nature even in the midst of a Bangkok bustle, Cuisine de Garden brings to the plate a tasteful amalgamation of art, food, and nature. Be it the ocean, a bird’s nest, or florals and soil, the fine dining restaurant serves up an interactive set menu only. Guests are invited to explore fine and unique flavours with a modern culinary twist, making for a sweet, sensory, and special alternative, especially for a romantic date night.

Cuisine de Garden, 12/6 Ekkamai Soi 2, Bangkok, +662 053 3059, Open Mon-Sat 6pm-11pm

Where to drink and party

Between the charming neon Cassette Music Bar and the sweetly named rooftop Baan Puen, Ekkamai is filled to the brim with bars. It’s what the neighbourhood most pompously prides itself in, be it from the 30 taps at Mikkeller Bangkok or the brews at Ekamai Beerhouse, the sake at Orihara Shoten, or the good times at THAY. There’s a tipple for every tastebud, making it easy to see why Ekkamai’s nightlife racks in cool points unlike many others.

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: Escobar

Nunglen & Escobar

Everyone who is anyone goes for pre-drinks (or all-night-drinks) at Nunglen & Escobar; it’s practically an Ekkamai rite of passage. Part of the same complex yet set up in separate venues, Nunglen (notice the cheeky translation of the Thai expression) is a hotspot for Thai bands and university students kicking back with a beer, whereas Escobar sits as its smaller, club-ier sibling just next door. Where one serves as a perfect ‘sit and chill’, the other is the ideal spot to dance the night away. Visit one or visit both, and only call yourself a true neighbourhood insider once you get sucked in and call it your regular.

Nunglen & Escobar, Corner of Ekkamai Soi 5, Bangkok, +66 2 711 65 645, Open Mon-Sat 7pm-2am

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: TUBA

TUBA

Looking for some curious interior design inspo alongside some really good cocktails and food? TUBA is your calling. Part antique haven, part real-life vintage Pinterest board, and part bohemian Insta-goals, TUBA is the kind of place that leaves no corner uninteresting. Yet beyond the exquisite décor, it’s almost surprising how extensive the European drafts beers list is, with a long and lengthy cocktail menu to suit. Pair these with a couple snacks from the Thai-Italian food menu, and unwind to the tunes of acoustic guitar. Very eccentric, very hipster, and very feel-good.

Tuba Bar, 34 Ekkamai Soi 21, Bangkok, +66 2 711 5500, Open daily 11am-12am

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: Cuisine de Garden

DND Nightclub

There are few clubs in Bangkok as popular as DND – the name of which literally stands for ‘Do Not Disturb’ – proving that you need not necessarily be Thonglor’s Beam or Sing Sing to attract a really cool crowd. Located behind Nunglen, the music here is largely EDM (think techno and house), with the heavy bass roaming through the vintage retro vibe (lest we forget this is Ekkamai) of the spot. It’s very edgy in a way a Thonglor nightclub could never pull off, and far less sardines-in-a-can-packed with people, too.

DND Nightclub, Ekkamai Soi 7, Bangkok, +66 9446 6296, Open Tues-Sun 8pm-2am

Where to enjoy a coffee

Coffee culture is big in Ekkamai. The Coffee Club branch here is quite possibly the nicest in all of Bangkok, and alongside stylish spots like the Featherstone Cafe or modern Japanese Nikko Cafe, the cafes here are a cosy blend between quality coffee beans and picturesque interiors. (Psst… and for undercover tea lovers, the Peace Oriental Teahouse is a beautiful oasis of Oolong, Jasmine, and Matcha calm, too).

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: Yellow Spoon

Yellow Spoon

You can’t get your Hipster Stamp of Authenticity if your neighbourhood does not serve artisanal, gluten-free, and transfat-free goods. Combine these with innovative and natural ingredients containing less (or no!) sugar, and it’s likely you landed up at Yellow Spoon. An honest and authentic bakery, the comfort cocoon within the Ekkamai Complex is the kind of place that looks as good as it feels. Sunday pastries and chill? Sorted.

Yellow Spoon Artisan Pastry, 379 Ekkamai Complex, Sukhumvit 63, Bangkok, +66 085 482 2842, Open daily 10am-8pm

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: Kaizen Coffee

Kaizen Coffee

Beautifully breezy and minimalistic, Kaizen Coffee is for those who really love their coffee. They serve really well-crafted coffee on tap (!), alongside experimental favourites like the nitrogen-infused cold brew. It feels like the kind of place where a young blogger gets a cappuccino and types away after a snap on the marble (of course) tables.

Kaizen Coffee, Tai Ping Tower, 582/5 Ekkamai Rd., Bangkok, +66 64 016 3038, Open Mon-Fri 8am-7pm; Sat-Sun 7am-7pm

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: Onion

One Ounce for Onion

Does it get any cooler than an independent streetwear store that also doubles as a coffee shop? Of course it doesn’t. Onion has long been known as one of Bangkok’s most beloved multi-label vintage boutiques, and at its neighbouring One Ounce for Onion, the shop also serves up a mean cuppa Joe. Between an airy interior assembled with wooden furnishings, the café is a hotspot for fashionistas and caffeine seekers alike.

One Ounce for Onion, Onion, 19/12 Ekkamai Soi 12, Bangkok, +66 2 116 6076, Open daily 9am-6pm

What to do

You can’t spell ‘Ekkamai’ without ‘vintage’. The area is a serious hot haven for those who love a secondhand find or a unique retro piece. Take a stroll down the ‘Werng Boran’ (which translates to as much as ‘old court’ from Thai) on Soi 10, or head to the larger Gateway Mall for shopping. Catch the latest blockbusters at the Major Cineplex, and unwind at one of the area’s many massage spots. You won’t be bored in Ekkamai. You’ll be inspired.

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: (un)FASHION

(un)FASHION Vintage Collection

Like a golden needle in a hay stack of style, (un)FASHION Vintage Collection sells a varied selection of secondhand shoes, bags, and accessories, and is known for its incredible rare and ravishing finds, if you’re up for the rummage. Expect designer branded items and unique items imported from Japan, the US and beyond, and fresh stock weekly. There’s also a really trendy trailer-turned-café right next door, because… of course.

(un)FASHION Vintage Collection, Ekkamai Soi 10, Bangkok, +66 2 72 69 592, Open 12pm-9pm

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: Health Land

Health Land Massage & Spa Ekkamai

No Bangkok neighbourhood is complete without a really good massage parlour, but why settle for a petty parlour when you can have a whole ‘land’ of wellness? From traditional Thai massages, Ayurvedic treatments, aromatherapy and rejuvenation, Health Land Massage & Spa has been providing its services for over 20 years. Its Ekkamai branch is no different. Unwind after work, indulge in a spa weekend, or simply pop in in the middle of the day for that much-deserved city break R&R.

Health Land Massage & Spa Ekkamai, 96/1 Soi Sukhumvit, Bangkok, +66 2392 2233, Open daily 9am-12am

Upcoming developments

Ekkamai’s buzz and warm sense of community have made the neighbourhood a popular one to move to. It’s an environment where the trendy like to live, and beyond its own charms, it’s also conveniently located and easily accessible from all other parts of town.

Coming soon to Ekkamai: RHYTHM Ekkamai Estate

Set to inhibit a prime location between Ekkamai’s beloved Soi 12 and Thonglor a mere breath away on the other side, RHYTHM Ekkamai Estate will be joining the neighbourhood as an elegant and heart-warming new residential experience in condominium living. The 32-storey building will feature 303 units, ranging from 1-2 bedrooms to 2-bed duplexes and penthouses. An easy two minutes from the BTS, it’s RHYTHM’s second property in the area, truly attesting to the fact that the neighbourhood is in hot demand.

Neighbourhood Guide Ekkamai: RHYTHM Ekkamai Estate

The new building boasts a luxury home for the modern Bangkokian, balancing connectivity and contemporary culture with a sense of retreat. Between in-house tea and theatre pavilions, a rooftop garden, swimming pool, and sky high fitness and spa, there’s plenty to come home and look forward to after a day of venturing out. The buzz is still very much nearby, yet you can choose to enjoy it from within quiet zones and novelty green spaces, or even atop an exclusive sky lounge. It’s the cityscape spirit of a home in the sky with the warm comforts that keep it down to earth – on the doorstep of Bangkok’s beloved homey, heartfelt ‘hood.

Uncover the new residential experience at RHYTHM Ekkamai Estate’s exclusive launch event from 21-24 March, 1/F, Fashion Hall, Siam Paragon. Residences start at THB 6.5 million. Register here for a discount of up to THB 300,000: https://bit.ly/2tPyfPX

RHYTHM Ekkamai Estate, Sukhumvit 63 (Ekkamai), Bangkok, +66 2261 2518

Lisa Gries
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.