A lot of people spend their time on Khao San road but it is not a true representation of Bangkok. Pick up a local free listings magazine and try some of the bars the Thais go to. There are plenty of nice restaurants and bars around Silom and Sukhumvit roads.
BTS Saladeng for Silom or BTS Nana, Asok or Phrom Phong for Sukhumvit.
Every backpacker knows Bangkok's Khao Sanh Road, but running parallel to it is a much lesser-known alley with all the cheap hostels, bars, restaurants and shops you find on the main drag. Just far less crowded and frenetic.
Find your way to the Khao Sanh road in the Banglamphu area: Trok Mayom lies just to the north. Walkable also from Phra Athit river pier.
Not for the faint of pocket or those with a fear of heights but a brilliant roof bar on the top of the Banyan Tree hotel.
Banyan Tree Hotel, 21/100 South Sathon Road, Sathon, Bangkok; Tel: 66 2 670 1200; nearest underground: Lumpini; www.banyantree.com/bangkok/dining_vertigo.htm
Towering 656 feet above the ground on top of the Banyan Tree Hotel is Vertigo, the highest - or so the advertising has it - al fresco bar in the world.
The service is impeccable, the cocktails wonderful and the view – though muddied a little by the Bangkok smog – amazing, just see how close those aeroplanes are to you!
Be warned, the bar is not for the faint hearted. 656 feet in the open air is high and we spent a good portion of the time – at least until the cocktails had kicked in – sitting down and discreetly hanging on to the side of our chairs.
Dress code is smart/casual, so no shorts.
The Banyan Tree Hotel, 21/100 South Sathorn Road; Nearest Skytrain: Sala Daeng; www.banyantree.com
It's a bar near Koh San road that plays the best blues and has a cool range of cocktails. It was my local when I taught English there and I was never out of the place. Try the flatliner cocktails - guaranteed to make your night go faster!! Mr Sharkey
A club and restaurant known to many passing through the Thai capital and which has spawned a number of offspring trying to replicate its style.
Bed offers horizontal dining described by one of its DJs, Heron White, as "Kubrick's Korova Milk Bar meets a triclinium banquet with a sprinkling of Edinburgh Fringe theatre staffed by hostesses from 2001's Space Station V."
What was most significant to me was the detail put into the performance art and video projections, including a reworking of the soundtrack to Henri-Georges Clouzot's film on Picasso. Perfect accompaniment for the palette.
26 Sukhumvit 11 Wattana, Bangkok; www.bedsupperclub.com; Tel: 0066 (0)2 6513537; Nearest Skytrain: Nana station
A roadside shed selling drinks, mainly to expats. Baht-pinchers may not find it excessively cheap, but it's a great place to stand for a few warm-up drinks before going off exploring. Handy for the Bed Supperclub.
Sukhumvit Soi 11;www.cheapcharliesbangkok.com;Close to Nana Skytrain
I stayed in the Banyan Tree Hotel in October having previously visited for a drink the year before. The hotel is excellent - they cannot do enough to assist you and the breakfast is top notch.
What makes it great though, is that all this doesn't come with a premium price tag. Not budget accomodation by a long way, but you don't need a second mortgage to stay there.
But the highlight is a visit to the roof top bar (Vertigo) on the 64th floor. Fantastic views, great atmosphere and fab cocktails. Felt very Sex and the City. Certainly the place to take someone you're hoping to impress. Just make sure you wear trousers, not shorts.
This inviting restaurant/art gallery is certainly a touch of class. Walking through the courtyard you are met with modern art, clean architectural lines and a warm welcome.
Prior to polishing off exquisite oysters with chilli dip, stylish leather sofas on the second floor terrace beckoned; aperitif bliss. The grilled fish main and chocolate mousse desert went down well to boot.
Friendly service and an impressive wine list sold this backstreet gem. Not a place to rush or be rushed.
Three courses with wine for two: approx £30-50.
1/6 Soi Pipat 2, off Convent Road
Skytrain Stn: Sala Daeng
+66 02 238 0931
If you want to get away from tourist zones, take a longtail boat up the canal to Ramkhamhaeng.
It's a major university and the streets around it are thronged with market stalls for great food and 'alternative' goodies.
There are a few cafe/bars with live music and the students will be keen to practise their English on you!
If you're not into ping-pong and darts - and let's face it, it's really best avoided - Patpong does have lots else to offer. Check out the much-loved Elvis and Tom Jones impersonators at Radio City instead: the most fun you'll have with the performers' clothes on.
Patpong 1, Silom Road. Saladaeng BTS Station.
The Sirocco restaurant is one of the highest open air restaurants in the world, on the 63rd floor, 200m high.
It's a great setting which you have to experience. If the meal is outside your budget you can have a drink in the Sky bar. We paid £120 for three courses with a glass of wine.
Dress code is smart casual. Long trousers for men with no sandals allowed.
A bar/restaurant which we frequented more than once during our holiday in Bangkok.
Live music, cocktails and food in an outdoor setting.
Only a 3 or 4 minute walk along Soi 11 on the left hand side if you come from Nana BTS (Skytrain) station on Sukhumvit.
A place to drink or dine for friends of Dorothy and their friends too. Each table has a phone and a number, see a boy or two you like? Use the 'hotline' and give them a buzz. The bar is very fun and not cruisey at all, my straight friends love it more than me.
114/11-13 Silom Soi 4 Silom Road
I have never in my life had such a great view eating dinner like I had at this restaurant, located on the 65th floor of the State tower on Silom Rd. Just the view is worth the trip to this restaurant. The service was poor for such a high end place, not rude, but just not attentive given the fame that this restaurant has gathered in the world since it's opening. The food has everything you could think of, fresh seafood, great steaks, and a dessert table to die for.
A live band with a soul singer was a pleasant touch as we ate and afterwards she came down and introduced herself and spoke to us for a couple of minutes. Afterwards stick around and have drinks at the ultra cool bar, drinks run from 200 bahts (about $5 US dollars) to 20,000 bahts about $500 US dollars for Cristal Champagne. If it wasn't for the poor table serivce this place would get a 10 out of 10 but I'll give it nine out of 10.
Address: 1055/111 State Tower Bangkok, Silom Road
hone: (02) 6249555
Step off Soi 11 and onto the set of a Bond movie; a huge white room where the most gorgeous women you've ever seen descend staircases to furnish you with cocktails. Except they're not women at all, they're ladyboys.
This space-age building also contains a less sedate, but more conventional, club area. The usual smattering of sleazy westerners remind you you're in Bangkok, but it's all about a thousand light years from the Khao San Road. A world-class bar.
26 Soi Sukhumvit 11; www.bedsupperclub.com
When you've had enough of hotel piano players crooning "Fry me to the moon," go to Metal Zone. There's usually quite a mixed crowd. Beer is sold outside the venue along with ear plugs. It's been visited by Ozzy and a few other rock legends, there is usually also a live band.
Metal Zone (tel 02 255 1913), around the corner from Th Sarasin on Soi Lang Suan, just north of Lumphini Park.
A vibrant nightlife district of Bangkok. However, amongst the shows, bars and endless offers of “DVD, VCD, sex,” there is a reminder of how the west abuses the east. There are some great bargains, though (in the clothes markets, I mean!)
A club on Sukhumvit Soi 4. The area is often perceived, wrongly, as a mecca for sex tourists and drunken Brits abroad, but this is a gross generalisation.
Hidden away off the main soi, Angels Disco in the Nana Hotel is a wonderful escape from all the Bangkok cliches and a chance to meet young, cool Thais.
Music is mostly acid jazz and the cooler chilled-out sounds reminiscent of an early dawn in Ibiza in the late 1980s. The disco moniker is ironic as this is essentially a bar-cum-club- cum-restaurant.
If you want to see a different side to Bangkok and a chance to meet friendly young Thais and a better class of foreigner, go to Angels at Nana. But go there soon as the cool crowd in Bangkok tend to get bored of places quickly and move on.
Sukhumvit Soi 4; Skytrain staion: Nana
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