Bangkok is a living and breathing creature in its own right. It grows with new spots and hidden treasures popping up everywhere everyday. It’s a city for everybody: every neighbourhood, every street, every soi has a different personality to offer. And it’s truly worth exploring them all. The Thai capital is a city worth getting to know well because it will reward you handsomely — either with an out-of-the-way café that serves the best matcha latte you’ve ever had, or a little bookshop you can call your very own hideaway. The LSA Neighbourhood Guides aim to help you get started towards exploring the various wonders around Bangkok. For this edition, we are swaying our way towards the leafy, narrow alley, Pan Road, a cultural melting pot snuggled right in the heart of Sathorn.
Pan Road is an aesthetically alluring laneway painted with the most vibrant elements of culture oozing from each corner. This hidden gem boasts an old-school vibe with a dash of carefree, bohemian feels that makes you say “oh, that one”. There is a real sense of art hidden within the soi that really changes your perspective on the city. From quaint little cafes to the stunning Hindu temple, you’d be surprised by how much this cosy alley has to offer. Read ahead for our top 10 reasons to visit this neighbourhood, because it’s definitely not your ordinary street in Sathorn.
1. The beauty of the Tamil-Hindu Temple
This bold, multi-coloured house of worship may have caught your eye before. You’ve heard of it as Wat Khaek, better known as Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. This South Indian temple is one of the most sacred Tamil-Hindu temples that really shines through with its display of elaborate carved deities and chants that echo everywhere in the soi. Visit the temple, get some red bindi on your forehead, offer some garland and sweets to the goddesses, and you’ll feel blessed. Also, the beautifully décored temple is quite mesmerising. Whilst you are not permitted to take pictures inside the temple, do not forget to snap a shot at the entrance because it makes quite a beautiful and divine backdrop.
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, 2 Pan Rd, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok, +66 2 238 4007.
Luka is that cool stylish hangout spot where you enjoy your morning coffee. Order an espresso if you need a caffeine hit or sip a turmeric latte to spice up your mornings. Your brekkie would be incomplete without Luka’ s breakfast burrito, too. A few steps away, find a chic white café, Printa Café, where you can recharge with their Printa breakfast or Printa Benedict with some Brazilian coffee. Definitely also don’t miss the pandan custard buns from the bakeries at Pan road. This neighbourhood makes quite a hot-spot for your morning breakfast.
3. Foodie’s little paradise
Consider Pan road a little haven for foodies, because there are lots to try in this street. Indulge in some homey Indian comfort food at Suananda Vegetarian Garden & Ayurveda, which also serves vegan and gluten-free options. Order their morning glory fritters for appetisers, crispy spinach and cottage cheese dosa for the main course, and their soup of the day on the side. Another South Indian restaurant, Chennai Kitchen, serves some delicious authentic Indian cuisine with special dedicated thali meals that will give you a taste of all the Indian spices.
A newly-opened, edgy bar-café, Wander, is all about eating, drinking, and swaying to its chilled music. Sink your teeth into some spicy Thai food, and pair it with their signature cocktails. You could also dig into some Iranian cuisine at one of the oldest Persian restaurant in Bangkok – Persian House. Experience the bohemian-vibe here while you try the Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh (chicken stew with saffron barberry rice) with some hommus and Iranian bread.
4.Negronis and wine
Where to drink? Stay at Wander to continue your cocktail journey at their very attractive bar that is calling you for more drinks. Sip some Gimme Some Roses, Pick Up Your Choice, or Wandered from their sneaky cocktail menu – but also yes, find all the classics here. Certainly also swing by the OPUS Wine Bar, where you can relish in their Italian Vialone Nanon risotto and sip your favourite wines from one of the largest collection of Italian wines in Bangkok.
5. Co-working Space
Whilst working at cafes might be the typical way to go, having a proper space to work can be crucial. Luckily, we’ve got Launchpad at Sethiwan Tower, so all commuters can head here for a quiet space to work with plenty of in-house facilities. Once you’re out and about on Pan Road, why would you want to head back to the office, when you can work from right here?
Launchpad, Sethiwan Tower, 139 Pan Rd, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok, +66 2 266 6222, Open 9am-8pm, Saturday 9 am-6:30pm/
6. Casa Pagoda
Under the same roof as Luka, besides Thonglor, this stylish vintage-inspired furniture store also has a branch at Pan Road. Its one-of-a-kind flair brings together the best of both worlds – European and Asian vibes. Find everything here from cosy sofas to cottage-style items that speak elegance only. It’s never too late to redecorate your home with something cute from here.
Casa Pagoda, 64/1 Pan Rd, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok, +66 2 258 1917, Open 9am-6pm.
7. Kathmandu Photo Gallery
Looking for some inspiration? This eye-catching shophouse-style gallery hosts several exhibitions and provides a platform for young Thai artists. Drop by to see some of the most impactful photographs by top local artists.
Kathmandu Photo Gallery, 87 Pan Rd, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok, +66 2 234 6700, Open Monday – Friday 11am – 6pm.
8. Instagram-worthy spots
Whether you’re standing in front of the Hindu temple or you’re having a cup of coffee at Luka, there’s a lot of photo opportunities in this little soi that are very instagrammable. Make your pick for the day.
9. Jewelry Trade Center
Bangkok’s largest hub of jewelry and gems, the Jewelry Trade Center, is also in the neighbourhood. Just a 2-minute walk from Pan Road, this shopper’s paradise is home to sought-after gems from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, South America, and even Chanthaburi. Don’t expect to see fashion jewelry brands like Tiffany & Co. or Cartier here, because you will rather find independent certified stores that sell very specific items to match your taste. If you’re on a lookout for a cushion-cut blue sapphire stone or want to gift your loved one a particular diamond, you know where to go.
Jewelry Trade Center, 919 1 Si Lom, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok, +66 2 630 1000, Open everyday 11am-8pm.
10. A perfect stroll
Sometimes known as the ‘Little India’ soi, Pan Road is quite an interesting character in itself. Just strolling by the leafy street can lift your mornings or afternoons and offer you some inspiration. Being able to walk through the streets comfortably and enjoying the view as you pass by all the little cafes and independent shops, already provide enough reason to bring you here. Needless to say, Bangkok’s breezy weather during December definitely already calls in for a stroll by the vibrant street, right?