On the surface Bang Sue’s surroundings are centralized to accommodate the Bang Sue Railway Station and the Siam Cemen PLC. However, a short stroll from Exit 2 is the charming hideaway of Bella Casa (02-5858767), a restaurant that serves a fusion of Thai, Italian, and Japanese cuisine.
Unconventional items on the menu include Ham and cheese spring rolls (B85), Tonkatsu wasabi salad (B100), and Meat lasagna crepe (B200).
The artsy ambience boasts tables made from old sewing machines and Japanese-inspired antiques on the wall. Karaoke is also available in a private room on the second floor.
From Friday to Sunday, a bustling world exists within Kamphaeng Phet station, as it houses the Underground Shop Weekend by Metro Mall (www.metromall.co.th).
On the weekends, this MRT stop also takes you to the Chatuchak Weekend Market via Exit 2. However, every day from 9.30am to 6pm, there are treasures to be found when you alight by Exit 1.
As soon as you depart from the corridor, a sizeable craft market selling new and antique furniture opens up. Colloquially known as Talad Nad Kamphaeng Phet, you can browse and purchase unique furnishings, restore your old furniture, and have items made-to-order.
Within this market, you can also learn how to make patchwork quilts, blankets, pillowcases and handbags at Quilts Corner (081-8344430, 081-2741931).
Sprawling Chatuchak Park is accessible from Exit 1, where a children’s playground and a
walkway that serves as s shortcut to the weekend market awaits.
This station also houses an underground mall that is open daily. Besides selling clothing and accessories, there is a shop selling imported skateboarding equipment.
Most striking though is a shop known as Cherry Dolly, which sells dolls imported from Japan, priced from B4,200 to B16,500! Known as “Blythe” dolls, these figurines are currently all the rage with Thai teens and adults alike, who enjoy modifying them, and collecting limited edition versions.
The Huai Khwang Market, a considerably long walk from Exit 3 is definitely worth the trip.
Why? Because we actually took a motorcycle instead of walking. But also because it sells everything, according to men on motorcycle taxis, vendors in the area, and pedestrians a tad frightened by our perpetual questioning.
In our excavation we realized that “everything” in this context means food, clothes and small decorative items available in many other locations in Bangkok.
For a more unique treat, the private Prasart Museum (9 Soi 4A, Krungthep Kritha Road, 02-3793601) is in the vicinity. This museum showcases Thai antiques from the days of yore, and is open on the weekends. Visitors should call ahead to plan their escapade.
A station with a name that is not deceiving! The Hua Lamphong stop on the MRT actually takes you to the Hua Lamphong Railway Station, the ultimate base for great Thai railway journeys.
If you happen to miss your train or just have some time to mull around, across from the railway station is the DOB Hualamphong Gallery (4/F DOB Building, 02-2375592), featuring exciting and continually updated exhibitions.
Chula pride in the house! Exit 2 of Sam Yan takes you to Chulalongkorn University. If you want to be as intelligent as these Chula kids you do not actually have to go to school, You can opt to go to their bookstore instead. Towards Exit 2, Sam Yan station opens up to the seven-month old “edutainment gateway”, Chamchuri Square, which features educational shops such as the Chulalongkorn University Book Centre.
Join the artistic and indie students who flock to this mall and partake in creative activities at Siam Stone Story (3/F Chamchuri Square, 02-1605333, 085-9998485), an instructional arts and crafts venue, and store. Chamchuri Square also houses interesting restaurants such as PapaPaya (G/F Chamchuri Squre, 02-1605058), the latest outlet from the Pomodoro Group, which features about 30 different kinds of somtam, ranging from B60 to B120.
Between Sam Yan and Silom is the Snake Farm (Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, 1871 Rama 4 Road, Thai Red Cross, 02-2520161) where visitors can observe caged snakes, visit an educational museum, and watch snake handles work with these deadly reptiles.
Siam Square snobs will not be having that last laugh when they discovery the shopper’s
paradise at Phahon Yothin station.
Besides access to Central Plaza Ladphrao through Exit 3, this station opens up to the
dreams of market maniacs. Union Mall for example, sells a variety of gadgets, clothing, and accessories.
Venture further towards Central and you will find The One Park, which sells everything from false eyelashes to one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories, including products for braces. In front of The One Park and Central Lad Phrao, you will find another talad that is relatively cheaper, but just as stylish. If you drop from shopping here, you can rest by the bus stop, where you will find a man and his dog performing magic tricks (Tues and Weds only), and next to them, a man sitting on the streets who plays a wooden flute with his nose.
Although a literalist will be deceived into thinking that Central Lad Phrao is found at this Station, it actually isn’t (see Phahon Yothin).
On weekends, Lad Phrao is your average congested road, but on Saturday nights it comes alive with The Ratchada Night Market (on the corner of Ratchada-Lad Phrao junction; also accessible from Ratchadapisek station), open for business from early evening until about 11.30pm. Unlike other markets in Bangkok, you can find rare secondhand and vintage collectibles here, such as antique advertising posters and vinyl LPs. Furthermore, limited edition (not to mention steeply priced) items such as shoes are also available, along with trendy clothes, handbags, and accessories at competitive prices.
If you manage to hurt yourself on the subway despite the repeated announcement: “Please
mind the gap between train and the platform”, this stop will take you to a place to help you toughen up.
The Jitti Gym (12 Ratchadapisek Soi 19, 02-6914238) located a short walk from Exit 2 has been providing Muay Thai training for the last five years. Priding itself on international training, delicate and sturdy people alike can join in sessions from 7am to 9am, or 3pm to 6pm.
With condominiums, a 7-Eleven, The Pizza Company, and a hair salon that claims to give Korean-style haircuts, Sutthisan definitely represents the cultural epicenter of Bangkok. To add to its charm, the pavements are even more congested than normal here, with hordes of street vendors. They’ve even managed to fit in a miniscule market behind the MRT station. Find out why Thailand is truly amazing in this place where kuay tiew stands bleed from the footpaths.