7 Reasons You Should Explore Bangkok’s Thonburi Side

A flashy new mall has lured more visitors over to the Thonburi side of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river than ever before, but its Khlong San neighborhood has long been a local hub for Sino-Siamese eats and a lively social scene.

Jun 26, 2019

By Eloise Basuki. Photographs by Cedric Arnold.

Though many cross the river for the new mall’s international debuts—the vast complex houses the country’s first Apple store and Takashimaya department store—we come for the food. Sook Siam on the bottom floor channels old-time Thailand with local snacks like coconut ice cream served floating market–style; Takashimaya Hokkaido-inspired food court dishes up Sapporo ramen at Baikhokhen; and the “Alangkarn” dining zone has 17 restaurants among rice-paddy installations. iconsiam.com

For a more local shopping experience, this market area popular with students sells clothing, shoes and accessories for a steal. The food center has plenty to amaze snap-happy tourists, with stalls hawking buckets of slithery eels, netted frogs, edible bugs and pyramids of tropical fruits. Thai desserts are sought after here—try the rarely found bua loy khai kem, naturally colored glutinous rice balls served in a salty-sweet hot coconut milk soup and topped with poached eggs. Charoen Nakhon Road.

The launch of this shopping, dining and event space solidified the riverside as an up-and-coming precinct. The refurbished complex of old Sino-Siamese warehouses retains its 19th-century charm with ink-painting murals and the ancient Mazu shrine, while modern restaurants, like seafood-focused Rong Si and Plearnwan Panich dessert shop, offer high-end dining with water views. lhong1919.com.

Vintage furniture, dark-wood floorboards, exposed brick walls and a shelf packed with books and magazines gives this café a cozy vibe. Owner Dith Changsiricharoen brews coffee from beans sourced from Chiang Mai, and has a menu featuring smoked-salmon spaghetti and banana crumble pancakes. fb.com/waldenhomecafe; coffee from Bt65; mains from Bt120.

Head here for a rotating menu of German weizens, Thai IPAs Belgian blonds and more on tap. Hard-to-find international bottles and limited release cans also feature—look for Orpheus sour ale with apricot and Hong Kong’s Moonzen range. a recent food collaboration with Bangkok eatery Jim’s Burgers means you won’t go hungry. fb.com/sosbeerbkk; drinks from Bt220, mains from Bt150.

This craft-beer bar has a range of international labels and newcomers, like the Bangkok-based Lamzing’s Sticky Mango pale ale and the Devanom range using Nonthaburi hops. (note: no drafts.) there are bar snack staples— waffle fries, ribs or buffalo wings—as well as pastas and salads. fb.com/thefourteenbarrel; drinks from Bt160; mains from Bt120.

Once a cargo port for ships heading to Ayutthaya, Din Daeng Pier is still an active hub. the cluster of food stalls have given the district the name “Little Chinatown.” it’s a great place to try Thai-Chinese dishes like rad na (gravy noodles),harn palo (braised goose), khanom pia (bean pastries) and Hainanese bokkia (noodles, fruits and beans in an icy syrup). While there’s a market in the morning, most food stalls come alive at night. 163 Tha Din Daeng Rd.

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