We’ll spend a full day strolling along these two famous thoroughfares of Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown, exploring both restaurants of legendary repute and up-and-coming eateries.
Besides offering a wealth of good food, these two neighbourhoods are home to noteworthy architecture that still exudes the ambience of old Bangkok.
In just one day, you will learn about life in these old communities and absorb the atmosphere of yesteryear, while enjoying (a lot of) good food! Getting to Chinatown has never been this convenient. So what are you waiting for?
- 1.The Mustang Blu Cafe & Restaurant
- 2.Wallflowers Cafe
- 3.Nahim Cafe
- 4.103 Bed and Brews
- 5.Heng Yod Phak Noodle Shop
- 6.Baan 2459 Heritage Hotel
- 7.Noori Chestnut Ice-cream
- 8.Luang Gosha Itsahak Mosque
- 9.Woodbrook Bangkok
- 10.FV cafe
- 11.Aliang’s Dumplings
- 12.Tueak Khaek Indian Building
- 13.Guay Jub Ouan Pochana 2nd Branch
- 14.Ba Hao Tian Mi Pudding
Soi Nana or Nana alley (not to be confused with Soi Nana on Sukhumvit Road) is off Maitrichit road, a short walk from the MRT Hua Lamphong Station. If you travel by the MRT, take Exit 1 then cross the road and the canal. Nana is characterised by the smell of herbs from the Chinese medicine shops that line Maitrichit Road, though their number has greatly dwindled over the years. New food shops, cafes and bars are popping up to replace old establishments, so there’s no danger that the area will be mistaken for somewhere else – the Chinese vibe remains intact.
The Mustang Blu
Walking toward Nana, you can’t miss this century-old European building which has found a new incarnation as a stylishly stunning hotel leaving its unsavoury past as a massage parlour far behind. Its café and restaurant has been widely featured in media for the sharp interior decor. Be aware that the café opens from 12:00 – 9:00 p.m. if you’re curious to know what the hype is all about! Check out its website for details on the accommodation because a staycation here is not a bad idea thanks to the owner whose quirky vision has breathed new life into this formerly battered building.
- Café & Restaurant
- Open daily from 12.00 – 9.00 p.m. (Closed Wednesdays)
- Tel. 06 2293 6191
This is another favorite hang-out for local hipsters. The Café is housed in an old building and lives up to its name with beautiful floral decorations. It’s like having a coffee in the garden with unlimited opportunities to take pictures.
Its menu is unique and flowers are very much present, both in the beverages and cakes. The carrot cake we tried was moist and fluffy. The floral topping was also very pretty. The Café has a wide selection of beverages from which to choose.
- 31-33 Soi Nana, Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
- Open daily: Monday-Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 6.30 p.m. / Friday-Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
- Tel. 09 0993 8653
Cute alert!! This small café across from Wallflowers will draw you in thanks to its adorable exterior that stands out from other shops, yet perfectly complements the Nana neighborhood. You won’t believe this was formerly a Chinese medicine shop!
The shop is decorated with an assortment of handcrafted objects, cartoons on the walls and wooden steps as seats. Its food presentation is equally as cute. You can have snacks; such as, donuts or toast with a selection of drinks.
- 78-104 Soi Nana, Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
- Open daily from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Closed Wednesdays)
- Tel. 06 5946 8892
103 Bed and Brews
Located on the corner, this beautiful hostel and café tastefully fuses Chinese elements into its decor. The teahouse-style café serving cold brew coffee is a major draw for locals. The hostel zone on the second floor is also well-appointed and great value for money. A staycation, anyone ?
- Open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Heng Yod Phak Noodle Shop
This poplar noodle shop has many branches, but the one on Nana has been around for more than 30 years.
Its signature dish is Ratna or stir-fried noodles in gravy with pork and vegetables, but you’ll also find oodles of other noodle treats. We tried crispy noodles with an egg. Delicious!!
- 221-227 Soi Nana, Rama IV Road , Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
- Open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Tel. 02 222 2648
You can witness the bustling scenes of Bangkok’s Chinatown all the way from Nana to Song Wat, which was constructed during the reign of King Rama V the Great to help alleviate the congestion in the Sampheng area. Song Wat runs parallel with Yaowarat Road and is also home to many heritage buildings that include shrines, a masjid and a Chinese school. And now this historic road is being slowly transformed by the advent of modern eateries, cafes, galleries and accommodation to serve visitors.
Baan 2459 Heritage Hotel
Originally constructed in 1916 as a family home, this heritage building has been turned into a boutique hotel in its latest incarnation. It was previously used to house a printing press and has also served as a teahouse and a warehouse. Walk inside to admire the beautiful renovations and have a drink at its Chata Specialty Coffee and Mocktail Bar, a shady glass house tucked behind the hotel.
- 98 Padsai Road Samphantawongse, Bangkok
- Open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. (Closed Mondays)
- Tel. 08 4625 2324
Noori Chestnut Ice-cream
Undoubtedly Song Wat’s most famous ice cream parlour for more than 20 years, this small shop – a tiny corner of a shop house – offers many flavours for its ice cream. Simply say yes when the seller asks if you would like a shot of vodka as a topping for your ice cream. You’ll thank us for that!
A small cup costs 30 Baht and a big one is 50 Baht.
- 981, 6-8 Song Wat Road, Samphanthawong, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
- Open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
- Tel. 02 622 4946, 08 1439 2487, 08 1647 8826
Luang Gosha Itsahak Mosque
Would you be surprised to see a mosque with European architecture in Chinatown? This beautiful mosque is named after Luang Kocha Itsahak, a Malay Muslim nobleman who served in Siam’s government during the reign of King Rama V the Great. It’s a private mosque that has been open to the public since the very beginning, first drawing foreign Muslim merchants and these days any Muslims in the neighbourhood who come here to pray every Friday.
- 979 Song Wat Road, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Woodbrook Ban gkok
This minimalist café is part of Hostel Urby Bangkok, which is located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. You will enjoy the riverview from its balcony, while sampling the café’s beverages and desserts. This building served as a warehouse when Song Wat was an important centre for wholesale produce.
The hotel and cafe are on the second and third floors.
- 1222/1 Song Wat Road, Chakkrawat, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
- Open daily from 10.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m.
- Tel. 06 4424 2929
You could easily walk pass this unassuming café, so make sure to watch out for it.
FV stands for fruit and vegetable. This unique café is housed in a century-old building. Step inside and you could be forgiven for thinking you are in a gallery specialising in modern photography. A small Thai house on its mezzanine and the very long narrow steps reaching up to the celling are the unusual features that make this venue so interesting.
This is not your typical café with regular tea and coffee. FV serves healthy refreshments extracted from weeds; such as, sensitive plants and ivy gourds. Who would have thought that drinks could be made from these kinds of plants!!
Besides its unusual beverages, FV also has an impressive menu of desserts. It serves many traditional Thai sweets, appetisers and snacks you normally can’t find at conventional cafés. We highly recommend FV if you’re up for something different!
- 827 Song Wat Road, K Samphanthawong, Bangkok
- Open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Tel. 08 1866 0533
This is a popular dumpling vendor of Song Wat. There are two fillings: shrimp (5 Baht a piece) and pork (3 Baht a piece). Its dumplings are delicious with a delicate texture and generous fillings. The sauce is tasty too!
- Ratchawong Road, Chakkrawat, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
- Open daily from 12:00 – 9.00 p.m.
- Tel. 08 9133 0640, 08 7031 6854
Tueak Khaek Indian Building
Right on the corner of Song Wat Road, across from Aliang’s Dumplings is an iconic building. This elegant structure, sadly in dire need of renovation, once housed the Indian trading company A.T. E Maskati, which made its name and a fortune as an importer of fabric from Ahmedabad, India to Thailand and other South East Asian countries.
Guay Jub Ouan Pochana 2nd Branch
Walk from Song Wat back to Padung Dao Road for the next stop. The legendary Guay Jub Ouan Pochana is on Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list. Its original branch at the Chinatown cinema has served Guay Jub (rolled rice noodle soup) for over 50 years. This second branch is on Padung Dao Road and also very popular.
Guay Jub noodles are for those who enjoy offal. The broth of the Ouan Pochana is especially aromatic and peppery. Its crispy pork with dark soy sauce is not to be missed.
- 2-8 Phadung Dao Road, Samphanthawong, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
- Open daily from 9:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Closed Mondays)
- Tel. 08 1408 8065
Ba Hao Tian Mi Pudding
Before ending the trip, have dessert at this shop that is only about 200 metres from the MRT Wat Mangkon Station. Its circular entryway grabs your attention. This place is very small, and customers have to sit on stools at the terrazzo top bar.
Ba Hao Tian Mi is a sister of the famed Ba Hao, bar, restaurant and hostel, on Soi Nana. In Mandarin, Ba Hao means house No. 8 and Tien Mi means sweet.
Chilled puddings help cool you down from the heat outside. This shop offers a variety of toppings. Its ingredients; such as, tea, gotu kola, black sesame, crispy shredded pork and goji berry are all available in Yaowarat.
Try black sesame pudding. Its topping and accompanying syrup are all made of black sesame. It melts in the mouth and is not sugary.
Goji berry pudding is an original dessert of Ba Hao Tien Mi. The creamy pudding topped with goji berries is very refreshing!