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Best Food Neighborhood in Bangkok


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Not too long from now, I will have a week to eat my way around Bangkok. I have never been before, and so I am very, very excited. What, in your opinion, would be the best neighborhood for me to make my home-base? I'd like to choose my lodging with at least some regard to its proximity to delicious food, whether street food or restaurant food.

Oh, and any Bangkok eG'ers want to meet a young farang for some food while I'm there? :cool:

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It's really tough to nail down a particular "best" area.

Anywhere near the BTS (skytrain) provides quick, easy access to many areas.

MBK Center's 6th floor food court is a good place to break the ice if you are not comfortable with stall/cart cuisine.

For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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ah yes exactly. there is food just everywhere. near the bts, outside shopping malls, near the Big Cs or just about any soi during lunch time or evening. or midnight. or in the morn. ah food is everywhere.

and yes the mbk food court (6th floor) is the best to get started on the food. its cheap and tourist friendly

where will you be staying?

.jedi pocky.

yum...

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Hi,

being a expat here for the last 21 years the first question as far as where to stay is one of budget - 5 star Hotels or Guest Houses

Anyway, a good area to stay would be Sukhumvit Road - example Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit or slightly lower in price the Landmark Hotel or the Ambassador as the cheaper one (slightly aged but great location) - one of the best (my opinion) Thai restaurants is the "Lemongrass" nice ambiance being furnished in Thai antiques and the thai food is great - ask the concierge for location, its not far from either of the above mentione Hotels - the Ambassador has a Roadside Restaurant as well with a BBQ where they serve Fish Crabs etc.. from the Barbi - in my honest oppinion the problem wit Thai sea food is that they mostly kill all flavors by overspicing fish for example and BBQ Shrimps taste like slightly burned Socks but than this is my opinion - if you get a hankering for some Western Food your choice is great - "Le Opera" Sukhumvit Soi 39 for Italian - the JW Marriott Steak House near Sukhumvit Soi 4 for Steaks -

The street restaurants are safe in general, but only to be recommended if you like spicy food - I mean spicy! and stay away from those directly at the main Street - hours and hours of fumes can't be good for the food and subsequently for you.

Most large Hotels have Buffets where they serve Thai as well as Western Food - I can only recommend those in 5star Hotels because the quality of food is really good and the price is only aout $ 20-30.00 for lunch and 50.00 or so for dinner - advice though if you are watching your budget drink "Nam Pao" (water) and stay away from beer which costs about $ 5-8.00 for a small bottle and the wine .... 300% import duty make a bottle of chateau plonk rather expensive.

In bangkok you can eat well for a little as $ 2.00 and there is really no limit upwards - if budget is no problem try the "Bayoke Sky Restaurant" its on the top floor of the tallest building in BKK and open air .. a unique experience.

Well that's all I have time for, got to make sure most of these 5star places have enough pate's and terrine's for their NYE buffet's - I'm a chef and supply those places,

have a good trip,

John

forgot, Sukhumvit Road has lots of BTS stations where you can catch the Sky Train which gets you quickly to the River and another lot of 5 star Hotels, but also a lot of interesting eateries oir to Silom Road with Irish Pubs and Thai places side by side -

Edited by JohnBKK (log)
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geez john. we're on totally different frequencies here! all i had in mind was the street food, sen lek - kway teow stalls, yum stands and moo ping/gai yang carts. ah and all the various chinese influenced dishes, fresh fruit, kha nom everything, fresh fruit and the grannies with the nam prik..

ive never gone 5 star fine dining in bangkok. but its now on my must do list! :biggrin: ive alwyas been sastisfied with good ol street food. and like 3 -4 star and family restaurants.

ok mate. just do state where youd be staying and whats your budget

.jedi pocky.

yum...

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I'm also more into carts, stalls and small shops.

Most of the "better" restaurants have sent me away very disappointed.

Although the view from the Baiyoke's observation deck is the greatest, the buffet is a contender for the worst I have ever tried. Has it improved since the price tripled?

For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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If you stay at the Oriental, and you really should stay at the Oriental, you can start the day magnificently with breakfast on the Verandah overlooking the mighty Chao Phrya River. For subsequent meals, take the Oriental's shuttle boat to Saphan Tasksin to catch the Skytrain to most anywhere. There is also a ferry that hops along the river and stops at their dock.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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It's really tough to nail down a particular "best" area.

Anywhere near the BTS (skytrain) provides quick, easy access to many areas.

MBK Center's 6th floor food court is a good place to break the ice if you are not comfortable with stall/cart cuisine.

Thanks for the advice on the BTS. Right now I know essentially nothing about Bangkok, and my vacation actually begins tomorrow (although I will not be in Bangkok until about 2 weeks from now; Tokyo and Shanghai will come first), so maybe I can start by trying match up the neighborhoods as defined on, say, Expedia (Yaowarat; Downtown-Siam Square; Silom-Sathorn; Din Daeng; etc) with the BTS locations.

Re: the MBK center recommendation..."comfortable" in what sense? I have absolutely no problem with street food. I'm incredibly adventurous, and I will eat anything. Being my first time in Bangkok (and in Thailand, for that matter), this will deifnitely not be a trip filled with hotel restaurants or fusion cuisine. But rather, (hopefully) a search for some of the most delicious Thai food that Bangkok has to offer. Whether that is on the street or in a restaurant is no matter to me.

In fact, from what I understand, I am in for a treat as I start to learn about Thai street food in Bangkok. BUT... that said, I certainly completely ignorant of Thai street food, and largely ignorant of Thai cuisine in general. Would the MBK Center still be a good starting point for me to "break the ice" in that sense, as I slowly begin to learn about the cuisine and start to explore the great street food to which Bangkok is home?

ah yes exactly. there is food just everywhere. near the bts, outside shopping malls, near the Big Cs or just about any soi during lunch time or evening. or midnight. or in the morn. ah food is everywhere.

and yes the mbk food court (6th floor) is the best to get started on the food. its cheap and tourist friendly

where will you be staying?

Sorry for the stupid question, but what are the "Big Cs"?

With the MBK food court, the "tourist friendly" thing kind of scares me. But do you mean that in a good way? The reason I ask is that, if at all possible, I want to avoid Thai cuisine that has been dumbed down or otherwized bastardized to appeal to a larger audience of unadventurous (Western) tourists.

Re: where I will be staying....that's what I am trying to figure out! :laugh:

Hi,

being a expat here for the last 21 years the first question as far as where to stay is one of budget - 5 star Hotels or Guest Houses

Guest houses or cheaper hotels are definitely what I had in mind. I am not looking for a luxurious place to sleep. Just a young guy traveling by myself; and I am honestly just there to eat!

To give a rough price range, I was hoping to spend a maximum of $50/night on lodging. The food budget, for all intents and purposes, is infinite. I know it's weird, but that's just how I travel. :cool:

Thanks for the Sukhumvit Road hotel recommendations and the food recommendations. With just one week in each city, I plan to eat strictly Japanese food in Tokyo, Chinese food in China, and Thai food in Bangkok, though; so I don't think 5-star hotels and restaurants serving Western cuisines will be something I even consider on this trip! I am happy to hear what you say about the street restaurants, by the way -- I love spicy food :wub: . Thanks also for the beverage recommendations. I've heard the wine prices there are horrendous. That, combined with the fact that I don't particularly enjoy beer, will probably mean plenty of good old H2O for me that week.

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For $50/night, you can do quite well as far as hotels are concerned--not 5-star, but clean and safe. I've stayed at the Ambassador, and if you stay there definitely go for the newer tower (not new by any means, and not so much more expensive--it's still cheap). The older tower smells like mould. Or stay at the Manhattan a few blocks down--cheaper than the Ambassador, though older, but probably a better value and it's just as clean. At both hotels, though, male guests bring their "companions" in for overnight stays. So if you're sensitive to that kind of stuff, stay away (and from all other hotels in and around that price bracket, which means you'll probably end up in a 5-star).

(On Sukhumvit at the corner of the soi the Manhattan Hotel is on, you'll see a restaurant with ducks hanging in the window. According to my food-loving cousin (aren't all Thais food loving?), it's a very good restaurant, but I've never been able to try it.)

You'll find a lot of Thais eating at food courts, too, not just farangs (at MBK or others). I don't find most food court food to be particularly good, but they're not bad, either. They're just good places to go to sort out what's what, since they usually have a large variety of foods. But they don't necessarily cater to farangs. I think if you're unfamiliar with Thai food, a food court is a good place to start, just to see what's available. Sometimes you'll find English speaking staff, too, so if you see something interesting, you can ask questions about it, then search for it elsewhere.

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alrighty, MBK food court is 'comfortable' in the sense that it is clean, air conditioned, staff can speak simple english, signs and prices are in english and clearly stated (meaning you wont get overcharged or confused just because you're farang). also, meaning that youd clearly understand what youre being served.

crap.jpg

bangkok bob - check out his site

the various offerings there can give you a hint (at a price near to street food) of what youd like or dislike. for example, you read all about pad thai or Yum woon sen or Larb etcetcetc; or youd like to sample thai-chinese food like pork trotters, beefball noodles - thats a good place to start. to get acquainted by looking at real food instead of the ones you see online. oh and by the way, half the people you see there will be locals. so fear not!

well street food is virtually everywhere. buy a little when you're peckish. its better to continually graze the whole day. a moo ping (pork skewer/satay) from one stall can be so earth-shatteringly good and yet another cart has rubber pork. these carts are nomadic too so you might not find the same stand if you go back to the same spot you found that glorious dish.

Big Cs are complexes akin to Tesco or Cosco.

i could recommend Khaosan for backpacker places and guesthouses/ cheap hotels. or if you prefer near the siam area, Kasemsan road is at the National stadium monument, opposite MBK i think - ive stayed there twice at muanphol mansion for a really cheap rate $30? i think. there are others around check it out. otherwise i just head for novotel. again i think bangkokbob has some recommendations so check him out too.

food food food. lets see. NEVER ask cab drivers as theyd bring you to some place for commission. virtually everywhere has food. even outside danceclubs just to feed inebriated drunkf**s like me (trust me BBQed thai sausage after countless beers just smell and taste so great). instead just keep your eyes open. look around. theres always a cart nearby - be it fruits, various skewered 'balls', satay, or simply sweet corn. damn. sweet corn for 10B. thats like how many cents?

anyway id recommend you to stay at khao san road. its nearer to the siam area, has many farangs of your age, is pad thai heaven, mango-stickyrice galore, non gogo bars and all sortsa rubbish basically. DAMN i wanna be there : ( hell i even found a junglist scene there.

where are you from anyway?

oh and take the train always, at least till it stops service at midnightl.you get to see everything

.jedi pocky.

yum...

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Regarding food choices, please also take a look at the blog of Austin Bush, a frequent poster in this forum

http://realthai.blogspot.com/

1. Muslim Thai food in Bangkok:

biryani, khao mok: khao mok phae =goat biryani, gai =chicken, try the goat

Naaz

24/9 Soi Phutta Osot (Charoen Krung Soi 43--opposite the Main Post Office)

02 234 4537

8:30am-10pm

Yusup Phochana

Kaset-Navamin Highway

Open every day, 11am-2pm

05 136 2864, 09 923 8099

Here the real specialty is khao mok plaa, fish biryani, plus "amazing curries".

http://realthai.blogspot.com/2007/03/new-face-of-yusup.html

Plus there are all sorts of other street food and small restaurants there!

Also, the Bangkok Post restaurant reviews, particularly: [for some excellent thai cooking]

1. Thai restaurant picks of 2006: http://www.bangkokpost.com/entertainment/restaurants/

2. khao chae, a example of "royal" cooking, a special dish of rice soaked in cold jasmine-scented water, served with sides, approx 150-200 baht

Baan Prachachuen - aristocratic THAI cooking

Address : 37 Prachachuen Soi 33, Prachachuen Road, Bang Sue

Tel. : 02-585-1323

Open : daily 11am-3pm

read the review

many other such places

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You'll find a lot of Thais eating at food courts, too, not just farangs (at MBK or others).  I don't find most food court food to be particularly good, but they're not bad, either.  They're just good places to go to sort out what's what, since they usually have a large variety of foods.  But they don't necessarily cater to farangs.  I think if you're unfamiliar with Thai food, a food court is a good place to start, just to see what's available.  Sometimes you'll find English speaking staff, too, so if you see something interesting, you can ask questions about it, then search for it elsewhere.

Thanks! That's exactly what I needed to know. (And thanks for the hotel info, too!)

where are you from anyway?

California via New York via Texas. Thought right now I'm in Tokyo and next week I'l l be in Shanghai before I head over to Bangkok. Needless to say, I am one happy guy right now.

I am not surprised to hear what you say about the taxi cabs in Bangkok. Hopefully, if I can figure out how to use the trains to get around, then smile and point to a piece of paper with my list of places, I can find some locals nice enough to help me out!

Regarding food choices, please also take a look at the blog of Austin Bush, a frequent poster in this forum [...]

Wonderful! Thank you for passing this along.

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In New York Times, Jan 6, 2008, available free for 6 days on site,

http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/trave...f&ex=1199768400

JOSHUA KURLANTZICK

Street Smarts in Bangkok

"Raan Jay Fai, 327 Mahachai Road, (66-2) 223-9384, is near Wat Saket in the older part of Bangkok

Nguan Lee, corner of Soi Lang Suan and Soi Sarasin, is in the central business district; (66-2) 250-0936.

Chote Chitr, Prang Pu Thorn alley, off Tanao Road, is in the old part of Bangkok.

Samosa seller: near the corner of Phahurat and Chakraphet Roads in Little India. Look for a small alley with a sign above it that says “Sunny Video Indian Movies.” Often open only during the daytime.

Food Loft, top floor, Central Chidlom department store, at the corner of Ploenchit Road and Soi Chidlom, is in the central business district; (66-2) 793-7070; www.central.co.th.

The best areas for street snacks include the side streets off of Yaowarat Road, in Chinatown; Talad Loong Perm (Loong Perm market), on 89 Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road, is in the northern part of Bangkok, just behind the Thai Airways building."

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Yaowarat Road is sounding better and better.  Judging from the map, it looks like staying there would provide me with great access to street food within easy walking distance, and also easy access to the SkyTrain to get to other parts of the city.  Is that right?

Chinatown (Yaoworat Road) doesn't make downtown an easy access.

The Skytrain is quite a ways away too.

Unless Chinatown is your destination, I wouldn't suggest staying there.

What is your budget for accommodations?

Is anyone finding the ImportFood.com site working?

If not, I can upload the Soachingcha map.

For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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Chinatown (Yaoworat Road) doesn't make downtown an easy access.

The Skytrain is quite a ways away too.

Unless Chinatown is your destination, I wouldn't suggest staying there.

What is your budget for accommodations?

Hmm. Thanks for the info. I'm definitely misinterpreting the maps I've seen. It looked like Chinatown was sort of a middle-ground for the city, but it sounds like the search continues. I'd say my budget for accomodations would be an absolute max of $50/night. So far, I've been looking at places in the $20-50/night range.

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Not too long from now, I will have a week to eat my way around Bangkok.  I have never been before, and so I am very, very excited.  What, in your opinion, would be the best neighborhood for me to make my home-base? 

Hi,

Thanks for asking. ImportFood.com prepared this sidewalk guide for people like you. The small food shops in this area have a higher regard for quality and overall cleanliness. Many have been in the same place cooking the same thing for 3 or 4 generations. Please see the guide at link below and print the map, it's in English and Thai, any taxi can take you right there. You will not be disappointed.

http://importfood.com/saochingcha_guide.html

In another week or so the guide will have an expanded section dealing with the Sukhumvit Thong Lor area as well, another spot for outstanding sidewalk food, but in our opinion nothing beats Saochingcha. We put a lot of time into assembling the info, hope you like it!

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Hi, sounds like you're having a fine time, lucky you! :smile:

I'm sure you'd be blown away by the fabulous range of both street and "proper" food in Bangkok. Some of my faves include:

Chinatown (Yaowarat) - the Chinese in Bangkok are mostly Teochew Chinese (a major dialect group). Fantastic Thai-style / Thai-Teochew style Chinese food, both in the day and night. Just walk down the main street and veer off for shorts jaunts into side alleys. Day - lots of hawker carts selling breakfast, lunch types of food, noodles, fruits. Night - again, lots of hawker carts, but some different foodstuffs. The big seafood stalls will also be in full operation. If you're adventurous and not bothered by the ethics etc, you may want to try shark's fins soup (the Thai-Teochew style of cooking shark's fins is really divine!) and bird's nest soup, which is a dessert. There are many food carts and shops which offer both delicacies. For a more expensive version (and IMHO, better quality), I usually go to Chinatown Scala, a restaurant near the start of Yaowarat (I can't remember the name of the hotel but I think it is White Orchid. Scala is directly opposite it) btw Scala has 2 shops, both within 50m of each other! Out of habit, i usually go to the older one which is the original.

Pad Thai - known as one of the best versions of this iconic dish - Thip Samai

313 Maha Chai Road, Pranakorn, across from Wat Ratchanatdha and not far from Democracy Monument. Open only at night. Also serves a very good frozen coconut juice. Very yummy.

Aw Tor Gor - Fantastic food market opposite Chatuchak market. Open daily. In terms of "ambience", it is less authentic because it was set up as a sort of "model" market. But the range of foodstuffs and fruits is amongst the best quality. From the BTS Mochit station, walk about 200-300m to the main Chatuchak entrance. Facing it, turn left and follow the parameter fence of Chatuchak market all the way to the very end (about 10-12 mins walk). Alternatively, take to Kamphaengphet MRT station, which is at the edge of Chatuchak and Aw Tor Gor is diagonally across.

Khaosan Rd is the backpackers' mecca - worth a visit for the great atmosphere at night. Food - not the best but i guess you can get an idea of the ubiquitous Thai food that most Westerners identity with.

Also, I love the fantastically sweet Thai orange juice (looks like small green oranges, the bright orange juice is usually sold by street hawkers in plastic bottles), the baby coconuts (the size of a large grapefruit) (the hawker will crack it open for you. Drink the juice and use your fingers to tear off slices of the tender flesh), and the fresh cut fruits sold by hawkers everywhere.

Accommodations - try Samran Place. This is a budget hotel which is a 5 min walk from Ratchadewi BTS station (1 station away from Siam BTS station which is the main interchange hub). Basic amenities but very clean and functional. Lots of food stalls in the area. In the evenings, there is a really good and super cheap beef and pork noodle cart at the foot of the BTS station outside 7-11 convenience store.

Other accommodations which you can consider are Asia Hotel (a large tourist-class hotel) this is directly liked to the Ratchdewi BTS station, and Novotel Siam Square (my choice) as it is right smack in the shopping hub of Bangkok, next to the Siam Sq BTS station, and has a whole row of cheap, good and most important, decent and clean massage shops next to it. I love going for a relaxing foot massage after a hard day's shopping and eating! :laugh:

Hope the above is useful. Enjoy!

OB

Amateur cook, professional foodie!
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I'm definitely misinterpreting the maps I've seen. It looked like Chinatown was sort of a middle-ground for the city, but it sounds like the search continues.

I found that Bangkok maps, although they give you the lay of the land, they don't give you the variables, like traffic patterns and such. I've actually had it take an hour to travel 1 kilometer. I now own a scooter so that I can split traffic.

What appears a short distance can become quite a ride with congestion and one-way streets. After spending some time in this city, you'll find that even which side of the street you flag a taxi can make a huge difference in the drive.

For a casual visitor, I always suggest something near the BTS. From 6am until midnight, you'll have a hard time getting lost and virtually no chance of being taken for a ride. You can buy all-day passes and use it to explore the city from 10 meters up. I believe the passes also work for the Chao Phraya express boats.

Unfortunately, because I reside here, I'm really no good at suggesting actual accommodations.

For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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My friend stayed here: http://www.kritthaimansion.com/rate.htm

The location and weekly rates are interesting.

It suited his wallet and met his needs. It was adequate but check the comments here before you make up your mind!!

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=110434

Also check out this service apartment, especially the prepay specials:

http://www.roommillion.com/apartments_over...=106&type=short

http://www.roommillion.com/short-stay-guides.aspx

This is Sukhumvit Soi 15, about 1km down from the juction with Sukhumvit Road

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=157426

Perhaps some of the Bangkok residents on this forum can pick up some buzz from their friends and chime in with their opinions?

Edited by v. gautam (log)
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I still say if you're looking for reasonably priced hotel in a not-too-divey area, the Manhattan Hotel is very well priced for its location, and it's just a very short walk to the BTS (maybe 5 minutes at the most), and a slightly longer walk to the subway. On this website (which I've never used and have no affiliation with), you can get a single room for just under US$50, including all taxes and breakfast. It's also very close to Robinson's which has a grocery store (Top's?) and a food court (not terribly exciting, but a decent introduction to food courts).

Even if you don't choose the Manhattan, I'd stick to somewhere around Sukhumvit near one of the BTS lines. Personally, I'd never stay around Khaosan--it's just too icky for my tastes, and a lot of the foreigners who stay in that area are not the kind of foreigners I like to associate with (but I have a very specific reason for that, and since you're not an Asian female, it wouldn't apply to you).

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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