Exploring Bangkok’s Neighbourhoods – A Walk in Ari
Ari has become one of Bangkok’s trendy neighbourhoods – it is a mix of beautiful landed houses, new apartment buildings, fashion boutiques, hipster hang-outs, restaurants and cafés. Unlike other areas of Bangkok, such as Khao San Road or the Grande Palace are, this neighbourhood is a bit quieter – even if it has become popular amongst tourists and aspiring influencers. I headed out for a walk to explore this hip area.
The most popular attraction is the main road called Phahon Yothin 7 Alley. If you tell the cab driver you would like to go to “Soi Ari”, they will take you to this road. If you come from the BTS station, you will spot the street food vendors and their pink stalls. From that main road, on your left, there are the “Sois” (streets) and I explored Ari Soi 1-5.
My Walk to Explore the Neighbourhood
I started my walk from Ari Soi 5 and then walked my way towards the South via Soi 3. I then went back up Soi 2 and ended my walk in Soi 1 at Landhaus Bakery.
Numthong Art Space in Ari Soi 5 was my starting point. It has recently been renovated and exhibits works by Thai artists. Its founder Numthong Sae Thang envisions the gallery to be a place “where artists, collectors, gallerists and art enthusiasts can hang out to discuss and exchange ideas”. Furthermore, the personal art library by the founder is open to visitors as well. (72/3 Soi Ari 5; note: the gallery is closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays)
I walk across the main road to the extension of Soi 5, because there is a beautiful Thai-style landed house. Opposite of it, there is a big mural featuring tigers. As Soi 5 appeared to be very residential and Soi 4 is a dead end, I decided to walk down Soi 3. I walked past many beautiful landed houses and also discovered The Hamlet. This green oasis is a beautiful creative space with a huge garden area with exhibits (see picture with elephant statue below). (21 Soi Ari 3)
I enjoyed the contrast of old and new: there were abandoned houses with overgrown trees and gardens. Right next to them, there are fairly newly built landed houses – some of which with interesting architectural features. Behind them, you can spot the newly built condominiums and skyscrapers.
I walked back up Soi 2 towards the main road of Ari. I passed by Wraptor (a Mexican bistro, Soi Ari Samphan2) and Wholly Cow, a steak house. (34/1 Soi Ari 2) (I am planning to try both out soon and will share it here with you.) I wanted to check out Flower in Hand by P. (Royal Park) but, unfortunately the flower shop which also has a cute little café was closed that day. Hence, I kept walking. On the right hand side, I discovered some traditional residential areas – of the kind which are currently disappearing all over the city to make way to new construction projects. Before I reached the main road, I walked by Tokyobike, a quirky little bike shop which seems to be popular among the hipster crowd of Bangkok.
Khao Soy fans should definitely head to Ong Tong Khao Soy on Ari’s main road (17 Phahonyothin Soi 7; between Soi 1 and 2). You cannot miss it, because people will have lined up outside to wait for this Northern Thai curry-like dish.
Ari Soi 1 is the busiest of the lanes. There are plenty of small restaurants, vintage shops, boutiques and cafés. Make sure to also explore the hidden courtyards or small side lanes.
I ended my walk at Landhaus Bakery. I had heard a lot about this bakery and it was a pleasant coincidence that it was right in the area I chose to explore that day. At first, I did not know what to expect. Frankly, I have become a bit sceptical about overly-hyped bakeries in Bangkok because a lot of them did not come up to my standards. (In case you ask: my standards are Austrian/German-style bread which is very firm and dark. A sourdough is a real sourdough and not a “fluffy” version made of holes which are bigger than the actual dough.)
My heart skipped a beat when I saw Krapfen – our version of the doughnut which we eat during Fasching (ie. carnival) in January and February. I ordered the traditional one filled with apricot jam. And it was delicious. (A bit too much jam for my taste but I am very particular and sometimes eat the Krapfen without any jam at all.) The dough tasted homemade and the texture was very nice.
I decided to buy some bread to take home: a loaf of their “Florianer” and it also passed my test. I paid THB 130 (EUR 3.80, USD 4.10) for the loaf. For Bangkok-standards, this is at the lower range for European-style bread. (Some bakeries charge as much as THB 500 for a loaf.) Landhaus also serves apple strudle (with THB 160 – almost EUR 4.80 – this is quite a hefty price compared to Austria; however, in Bangkok, they can probably charge it.) So all in all, I liked the place. I am also a fan of their opening times: they open at 7 am, which is an exception for bakeries and cafés in Bangkok. (Most of them open at around 9am.) Therefore, if you crave fresh bread in the morning, this is the place to go. (18 Phahonyothin Road, side lane of Soi Ari 1)
Best Time to Explore
I recommend to go to Ari during the week. A lot of places are shut on Sundays and it can get crowded with tourists on the weekend.
How to Get to Ari
Ari is a neighbourhood in between the bustling Chidlom area on Sukhumvit Road and the popular Chatuchak Weekend Market. The most convenient transport option is the sky train (BTS). The BTS station Ari is right at the start of Ari Soi 1.
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All information as of the date of publishing/updating and based on the personal visit of Elisabeth Steiger. We cannot accept responsibility for the correctness or completeness of the data, or for ensuring that it is up to date. All recommendations are based on the personal experience of Elisabeth Steiger, no fees were received by the recommended places above.
Next coffee date! I also like that you write it as a walking guide — my most favourite way to explore 🙂
Maybe we should start our walking dates again? And then khao soy and coffee 🙂