Bangkok Thailand Food Guide – Where and What to Eat in Thai Capital

Piping hot pad thai, steaming soups, flavoursome curries, salted fish, quail eggs, tom yum and cha yen; the list of food to try in Bangkok is as long as the queue for coconut ice-cream in the peak of summer.

Food in Bangkok – what to expect

The statement that Bangkok is one of best dining destinations in the world is quite a bold declaration, and yet this vibrant city’s food scene really lives up to its self-assured promise. Catering for the taste buds of those on a budget, as well as delivering exquisitely presented and flavourful dishes for the discerning food connoisseur, the food in the capital is a wondrous delight for every pallet and bank balance. Growling stomachs are easily satisfied with scrumptious local dishes, Asian food of every kind and a vast array of western and international food.

The price of the food ranges as much as the copious variety and visitors can opt to dine out in some of the most upscale restaurants in the world, or opt to slurp up cheap, scrumptious street-noodles from one of the many food carts or street vendors.

Delicious aromas of stir-fried garlic, chilies and lime mingle with the dense humidity, wafting up your nostrils along every corner; and combined with the smiling faces of the friendly street vendors means that resistance becomes a futile endeavour. It goes without saying that the bustling streets of Bangkok are a foodie’s paradise for adventurous eaters.

Street food, in our opinion, is always the best means of sampling the local dishes and getting an idea of the local flavour, atmosphere and culture of a city. The capital is no exception, and street hawkers offer everything from warm, Nutella crepes, papaya salad (_som tam) and spicy, coconut milk curries pretty much 24 hours a day. The street food in Bangkok is definitely one of the best attractions of the city and most visitors find themselves quickly learning the phrase _aroi mak mak’ (very delicious) while enthusiastically devouring a plate of fried rice.

Local specialties not to miss

Before getting engrossed on where to find the best street food, eateries and restaurants in the capital, it’s paramount that visitors are familiar with some of the best local dishes in Bangkok.

Meat eaters will be happy to know that there are food carts selling fried or grilled meat on literally every corner in Bangkok and you need only your nose to guide you. Gai tod (fried chicken), sausage and moo ping (grilled pork) on kebab sticks are lead characters in Bangkok’s food scene and make for a quick and easy snack on the go.

Vegetarians, fear not! There are an abundance of excellent veggie-friendly snacks, such as sweet potato balls, corn on the cob, roasted nuts and an extensive assortment of fresh, tropical fruits.

For those looking for a meal rather a nibble, fried rice, tom yun goong noodles (rice-noodle soup) and pad thai (thin stir fried noodles) are also excellent options whether sitting down for a meal in an air-conned restaurant or watching them get whipped up in a giant wok on the streets.

Local desserts

Perhaps as a result of Thai dishes offering the perfect combinations of spicy, salty, sour and tangy, Thai people have a particular preference for sweet, sugary desserts after a meal is consumed. The desserts and syrupy drinks found in Bangkok are sure to satisfy even those with the most insatiable sugar cravings.

Mango-sticky rice is a firm favourite and the small, sticky parcels come wrapped up beautifully in banana leaves and make for a convenient and scrumptious snack while exploring. Crispy pancakes, crepes, waffles, deep fried bananas, coconut ice-cream, Milo rotis, ice manias (ice-cream rolls made on the spot) and honey toast are just a few of the sweet treats that’ll leave visitors loosening their belts.

Local drinks

Washing down the snacks, meals and desserts are an extensive local drinks menu that visitors should definitely attempt working their way down. At the top of our list are fruit shakes and smoothies, fresh coconut water, cha yen (sweet, iced tea), and butterfly juice (a thirst-quenching, purple drink made from nutritious butterfly pea powder).

Best areas to look for food markets and street food

Now that you’re familiar with what to eat, let’s dive into where to eat. For those on a budget or for travellers wanting to eat like a local; the more popular areas for street food are Pratunam, just outside Central World, Siam Square and Silom.

The bustling street food markets in Bangkok with the food stalls balanced precariously on pavement edges, the whizzing of motorbikes and the questionable sanitary conditions, are not for the faint-hearted. But, for the adventurous traveller, you’ll soon discover that Bangkok street food is world-famous for a reason.

Food tours in Bangkok are also a great way of learning more about the food and culture of the city and trying out different snacks and dishes that you might otherwise have missed. Many tour companies offer this experience with tours usually costing around THB 1000 per person including food, around five food spots and transport.

For those who wish to tackle the food scene of Bangkok unassisted, put on your comfy shoes and arrive hungry. Wang Lang Market situated opposite the Chao Phraya River from the Grand Palace, offers hungry visitors a prime street food experience in one of Bangkok’s most popular destinations.

Yaowarat (intersection of Yaowarat Street and Thanon Phadung Dao Street) in Chinatown is also a sure bet with its authentic ambiance, dozens of busy food stalls and even a selection of indoor restaurants, including one that sells over a hundred different types of tea. The delicious fusion of traditional Thai and Chinese cuisine dominate the scene and barbequed seafood, dumplings and peanut butter chicken are popular dishes.

For those who find themselves in this area but craving Indian fare, head over to the not too far away, Pahurat (India district) for delicious Indian curries, naan bread and mouth-watering chapatti.

Mid-range cafes and restaurants

For visitors of Bangkok looking to swap their plastic fork and polystyrene box for a good ol’ plate, chair and table, Bangkok is also home to an extensive array of eateries, cafés, mid-range restaurants and high-class dining experiences atop many a gleaming skyscraper. There’s even a Unicorn-themed café in Silom on Bang Rak that sells cakes, food and drinks themed around all things unicorn. Pastel colours, dreamy interiors, dozens of unicorn plush toys and pink as far as the eye can see. They even allow patrons to wear unicorn onesies while dining! Perfect for Instagram enthusiasts, unicorn devotees or travellers looking for a unique lunch experience. Unicorn Café is closed on Mondays but open every other day from 12pm until 8pm.

Continuing in the mid-range price bracket (minus the unicorns), our top Bangkok recommendations are Kalpapruek and Bangrak.

Kalpapruek has three restaurants in Bangkok; namely, Pramuan Road in Silom; 7th floor of Central World shopping mall in Siam and one on the first floor of the Mercury Ville shopping center. This popular bistro offers excellent Thai food, vegetarian food and even western dishes that are wonderfully well priced and absolutely delicious. The atmosphere is friendly, relaxed and stylish and the décor is elegant and welcoming. With friendly staff, daily specials as well as set lunch and dinner menus, it’s clear to see why this restaurant come so highly recommended. Be sure to try their sago and black bean in coconut cream or one of the scrumptious cakes on display. Opening hours are from 10am until 10pm.

For those who find themselves hungry upon arrival at Silom train station, a short walk will find you at Soi Saladang Road. It is on this road that Bangrak lives– a marvellous restaurant that prides themselves on putting happiness at the centre of all things. Sounds good to us! Whipping up local specialties such as som tam (spicy papaya salad), tofu with cashew nuts and glass noodle soup, this restaurant also serves international dishes including pizza, pasta and bacon-wrapped prawns. Closed on Sundays, Bangrak operates from 10am until 10pm Monday to Saturday.

Fine dining venues

For those who yearn for the finer things in life, the capital of Thailand is filled to bursting with first-class dining opportunities and almost every skyscraper offers a swanky restaurant or bar at the top with breathtaking views of the city.

One of the first 5-star restaurants that springs to mind is the gorgeously romantic Attitude, situated atop the 26th floor of the Avani Bangkok Riverside Hotel. Killer views of the Chao Phraya River and the iconic skyline, an adjacent swimming pool and stunning courtyard are just a few of the treats on offer at this fairly new hotspot. While the food served at Attitude is undoubtedly some of the finest in the city, the most memorable aspect are the tiny LED lights that light up the outdoor bar’s floor after sunset. With the stars twinkling above you and the lights below your feet, the ambiance is altogether otherworldly. Cocktails are created by a French mixologist and the food is predominantly beautifully presented Asian-fusion tapas. Located at 257 Charoennakorn Road, opening times at Attitude are 5:30pm until 1am.

And lastly, the crème de la crème of fine-dining restaurants in Bangkok is Nahm – ranked time and again as one of the finest restaurants in the world. Serving a la carte dishes as well as set menus, the food is a unique and exquisite take on traditional Thai dishes and all created by a Michelin chef at the wheel. Nahm is situated on the ground floor of the Metropolitan Hotel on Sathorn Road with some of the menu highlights being kanom jeen noodles, prawn-lemongrass salad and a beautifully flavoursome tom yum soup. Open for lunch from 12pm until 2pm and dinner from 7pm until 10:30pm daily, with Saturdays and Sundays only offering the dinner opening.

Bangkok station guide

Hua Lamphong - train

To get to this station the easiest way is to take the MRT subway to Hua Lamphong. It's the last station down the line (opposite to Bang Sue).

Once you arrive just follow the signs to the railway station. It is about 5 minutes walk underground and you will get back to the surface right in front of the station.

  • From Khao San Road or the Southern Bus Terminal you need to take a taxi.
  • From Mo Chit Bus Terminal you should take a taxi to the MRT station Khamphaeng Phet
  • From Ekkamai Bus Terminal you can take BTS Skytrain to Sukhumvit, then change to MRT. 40 min.
  • From Don Mueang Airport the easiest way is to take a taxi. Mind the tolls.
  • From Suvarnabhum Airport you can take the Airport Link to Petchaburi station, then walk a few minutes to MRT. Takes 1-1.5 hr.

You can search Bangkok MRT, BTS and Airport Link connections in 12Go system, with fares and times.

Hua Lamphong Station is also a walk away to Bangkok's Chinatown. Around Yaowarat Road you will see many shops that sell almost everything.

Hua Lamphong station or more familiar as Bangkok Railway Station to foreigners, is the main railway station in Thailand. It was first opened on June 25, 1916 after six years of construction and was built in an Italian Neo-Renaissance inspired architecture.

The Station is mother to Thailand's four railway lines: Northern, Northeastern, Southern, Eastern. The establishment has 14 platforms, 26 ticket booths and serves over 130 trains each day.

Mind the "helpers" without uniform trying to "help" you find a hotel. However station staff is very helpful. There are no lounges inside but the air is usually fresh enough and food is abundant so just grab a coffee while you waiting. Backside from the station there are a few massage salons and internet cafes, well, just like anywhere else.

Please keep in mind that trains in Thailand are subjects to delays. Really. If you plan a connecting train+bus or ferry - allow some time for the train being late.

You can choose from

  • 1st class VIP (that will normally be a compartment)
  • 2nd class aircon (very cold! but they give blankets and fresh linen)
  • 2nd non-aircon (same, but fans instead of aircons - 12go choice!)
  • 3rd class aircon (don't. seriously, don't. you will turn into a icicle)
  • 3rd class nonaircon (take the bus instead. only plus is that you can walk).

Best resource on train in Thailand is Mark Smith, the guy at the seat 61.

12Go suggestion: take the train if you can book in advance. You will be able to sleep and have great experience of good old 70's. But please do keep in mind that we book train berths manually for you, unlike buses, so allow us and yourself some space for changes. Like, if you must catch the flight from the destination - take the bus.

PS Do not forget to share your experience with fellow travelers. You'll get your link by email.

Morchit - Bus

Morchit Bus Terminal Bangkok is the gateway to Northern Thailand and its largest city, Chiang Mai. The complex also serves several northeastern and northwestern destinations and a few routes to southern resort destinations including Phuket and Koh Samui. Located north of downtown close by Chatuchak Market, the recently-built complex is Bangkok’s largest hub for bus transportation, offering comprehensive city bus routes in addition to long distance trips.

From Morchit Bus Terminal, air-conditioned buses run to Chiang Mai around the clock, taking an average of nine hours at a cost of between 469 baht and 907 baht for the VIP service. Pre-booking online is recommended due to high demand, especially in the high season between November and February and on public holidays. The service continues on to Chiang Rai in the far north, adding up to four hours’ travel time and costing around 100 baht more.

Other northern long-distance routes from Morchit Terminal 1 include Bangkok to Uttaradit, Khon Kaen, Phitsanulok, Lampang and Lamphun, Phrae, Chiang Saen and the Golden Triangle and Nan. Buses run to the northeastern cities of Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Roi Et, Nong Kai, Si Saket and Buriram. Morchit’s Terminal 2 serves southerly beach destinations such as Pattaya, Koh Samui, Phuket and Hat Yai, with all except Pattaya some 12 hours by VIP bus from Bangkok.

The new, air-conditioned complex offers comfortable seating, food courts and stalls selling snacks and drinks. Ground floor ticket offices serve the northern region, with the two upper floors taking care of the rest of the long-distance routes. The complex is easily accessible via the Skytrain to Morchit station followed by a 10-minute taxi ride.

For arrivals, there’s a wide choice of public buses heading to all districts including the downtown areas home to the majority of Bangkok hotels and guesthouses. Alternatives include motorcycle taxis and tuk-tuks as well as metered taxis for those with considerable amounts of luggage.

Morchit - Bus

Morchit Bus Terminal Bangkok is the gateway to Northern Thailand and its largest city, Chiang Mai. The complex also serves several northeastern and northwestern destinations and a few routes to southern resort destinations including Phuket and Koh Samui. Located north of downtown close by Chatuchak Market, the recently-built complex is Bangkok’s largest hub for bus transportation, offering comprehensive city bus routes in addition to long distance trips.

From Morchit Bus Terminal, air-conditioned buses run to Chiang Mai around the clock, taking an average of nine hours at a cost of between 469 baht and 907 baht for the VIP service. Pre-booking online is recommended due to high demand, especially in the high season between November and February and on public holidays. The service continues on to Chiang Rai in the far north, adding up to four hours’ travel time and costing around 100 baht more.

Other northern long-distance routes from Morchit Terminal 1 include Bangkok to Uttaradit, Khon Kaen, Phitsanulok, Lampang and Lamphun, Phrae, Chiang Saen and the Golden Triangle and Nan. Buses run to the northeastern cities of Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Roi Et, Nong Kai, Si Saket and Buriram. Morchit’s Terminal 2 serves southerly beach destinations such as Pattaya, Koh Samui, Phuket and Hat Yai, with all except Pattaya some 12 hours by VIP bus from Bangkok.

The new, air-conditioned complex offers comfortable seating, food courts and stalls selling snacks and drinks. Ground floor ticket offices serve the northern region, with the two upper floors taking care of the rest of the long-distance routes. The complex is easily accessible via the Skytrain to Morchit station followed by a 10-minute taxi ride.

For arrivals, there’s a wide choice of public buses heading to all districts including the downtown areas home to the majority of Bangkok hotels and guesthouses. Alternatives include motorcycle taxis and tuk-tuks as well as metered taxis for those with considerable amounts of luggage.

Southern Terminal - Bus

The Southern Bus Terminal Bangkok is found on Phutthamonthon Sai Road in the city’s Thonburi district on the western banks of the Chao Phraya River. Although it’s between 30 minutes and an hour’s taxi trip from downtown dependent on traffic, all taxis and songthaews know its location.

Buses leave from the complex to all western and southern provincial towns and resorts, including Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani and Kanchanaburi. The complex is air-conditioned, comfortable and has English language destination boards and timetables, a KFC and several bank outlets.

Public VIP buses run long-distance from the terminal to all favourite tourist destinations in the far south and west of the city, giving reliable, regulated and safe travel. Although bus companies located in Bangkok’s Khao San Road may quote lower prices, they’re not recommended, as thefts have occurred during the journey and the buses are less well maintained.

Booking online in advance is the best way forward, especially in the high season if you’re heading to southerly destinations such as Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Hat Yai, Trang, Phuket, Krabi or remote offshore islands. Travel time to Phuket, for example, is 12 hours, with buses leaving in the evening or early morning.

For arrivals, getting from the Southern Bus Terminal to Bangkok’s Old City district is easiest by metered taxi, although the local air-conditioned bus 511 runs to Khao San Road and on to Rachatewi BTS station and Pratunam district. Bus 515 runs to Victory Monument in the downtown district, and average bus fares are 17 baht. Local white minibuses leave for downtown when full, every 30 minutes or so, and charge around 30 baht.

The Southern Bus Terminal, converted from a shopping mall in 2007, offers modern facilities as well as a good number of shops, stalls, restaurants and fast-food outlets. The ticket counters are located on the first floor to the right of the main retail and refreshment area.

Rom Klao - Bus

Rom Klao is situated in Bangkok’s Lat Krabang district in the east end of the city. It is just north of Suvarnabhumi Airport and less the two kilometres from the Lad Krabang airport link into the city centre. Many buses that depart the airport for the city make a stop at Rom Klao’s bus station.

The bus station in Rom Klao sits off of ICD Alley just north of Motorway 7 and there is an ATM close by as well as two 7-Eleven stores on Lat Krabang Road. Places of interest in the area include The Royal Golf and Country Club, Prasat Museum and Pattaya Pak Pet Fishing Park. Due to its proximity to Bangkok’s main air hub there are a number of places to stay, such as Queen’s Garden, Convenient Resort and Mariya Boutique Residence.

Chatuchak Bus Park - Bus

Chatuchak Bus Park sits in the Chatuchak area of Bangkok, north of the city centre and less than one kilometre from Bangkok’s Mochit bus station. A plethora of buses depart from Bangkok Mochit to destinations north of the city, while buses in and around Bangkok leave from the Chatuchak Bus Park.

Don Mueang International Airport is connected by public transport or a taxi to Chatuchak Bus Park, which is only a 10-minute drive away. The Bangkok Metro’s Chatuchak Park MRT station makes arriving in the area by metro simple, with tuk-tuks, motorbike taxis and regular taxis available to take you to the bus park.

Chatuchak Bus Park is situated on Kham Phaeng Phet 6 right under the Sirat Expressway at the eastern end of Chatuchak district. It is an open air bus station with a snack vendor who also acts as a ticket agent.

There are a number of places of interest close to Chatuchak Bus Park, such as the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market, Chatuchak Park, Queen Sirikit Park and Elephant Tower. There is also a good selection of accommodations, including the Sofitel Centara Grand Bangkok, Elizabeth Hotel, G9 Bangkok and Lat Phrao Hotel.

Thon Buri - train

Thonburi Rail is the main departure point for trains bound to Kanchanaburi Province, all other trains going beyond on the southern route should leave from the Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok.

Southern Thais used to occupy nearby lands along the train station's vicinity and then settle down permanently as trains coming from the South used to arrive here constantly.

The Wang Lang Market, a destination for cheap local food, is the most popular landmark to get to Thonburi Station.

Bang Khae BMT 6 - Bus

Bang Khae BMT 6 is a bus station in Bangkok’s Bang Khae district, west of the Chao Phraya River and just a stone’s throw away from the Bang Waek Canal. Over 10 local bus lines connect Bang Khae BMT 6 with the rest of the city.

Bus 79 connects Bang Khae BMT 6 with the Bangkok Sai Tai Taling Chan Southern bus terminal, with departures every 10 minutes. The nearby Bang Wa BTS station makes it easy to arrive in the area by Skytrain, and there are three bus lines that run from the station to Bang Khae BMT 6 every 5 to 10 minutes.

Bang Khae BMT 6 is on Thanon Bang Pnai, which runs between Motorway 9 and Thanon Phuttha Monthon Sai 2. There is a 7-Eleven within short walking distance or a motorbike taxi ride away, while Big C Supercentre and Future Park Bang Khae are great options in the area for shopping and dining.

Wat Bunya Pra Dit is within walking distance of Bang Khae BMT 6, while other places of interest close by include Wat Pai Liang, Samphran Crocodile Farm and Wat Wisit Bun Ya Wat. There are a few good places to stay, such as Chakrabongse Villas, Sandra Inn and Diamond Sweet Home.

Sun Bus Vibhavadi Soi 17 - Bus

Vibhavadi Soi 17, also known as 17 Vibhavadi Rangsit, is situated north of central Bangkok in the lively district of Chatuchak, best known for its namesake park and weekend market, which is the biggest weekend market in both Bangkok and the entire country. The Mochit BTS station, conveniently located next to Chatuchak Park, is among Thailand's biggest and busiest bus stations and is also the Bangkok Skytrain's northern terminus.

Bus connections to all northern Thai provinces begin at the Northern Bus Terminal.
Chatuchak also contains four Bangkok Subway (MRT) stations and a variety of hotels ranging from the five-star Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok to the unique boutique penthouse of Sasha House. Pannapat Place is a more modest three-star option on Ratchadapisek Road.

Khlong Rangsit - train

Rangsit is a suburb in the north of Bangkok along Phahonyothin Road. The distance to Don Muang Airport is about 20 km. Near the train station you will find several boat noodle shops in stationary boats floating in the canal along the road.And there is the Future Park Shopping Mall, one of the biggest shopping centers in Asia. You won't find any tourists here, but maybe some expats who live nearby. There is also Talad Thai, one оf Asia's largest fresh produce markets. This market іs quite different to other markets and it sells about 15,000 tons of produce frоm farmers frоm аll оver the country. The market іs а place to buy all kind оf food (vegetables, fruits, beef, pork, duck, chicken, fish, seafood), flowers and OTOP handcrafted products.

Bang Sue - train

Bang sue Junction is located at Thoet Damri Road, Chatuchak District.The junction has 2 station buildings with 3 railway lines: North line, Northeast line and South line. About 1.5 kilometers away from the junction is Phahonyothin Cargo Yard, the largest rail yard in Thailand.

Northern line is bound to Chiang Mai while the Northeastern is toward Ubon Ratchathani or Thanaleng. Southern line is off to Su-ngai Kolok Railway Station.

Bang sue Junction transport links also include Bangkok MRT and BMTA transit. Bang sue MRT station is the subway terminal station opposite Hua Lamphong.

Bus routes from Bang sue Junction:

50 Rama VII - Lumphini Park
52 Pak Kret - Bang sue
65 Wat Pak Naom - Sanam Luang
70 Prachaniwet 3 - Sanam Luang
97Ministry of Public Health - Buddhist Monks' Hospital

Lak Si - train

Lak Si Railway Station is located at the northern part of Bangkok City and is near the Immigration Office at Chaeng Wattana. From Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok, there are over 30 trains that would do stops in Lak Si.

Bang Khae BMT - Bus

Bang Khae BMT is a Bangkok Mass Transit stop that, when completed in 2016, will be along Bangkok’s Blue Line. The area sits on the west side of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok and is accessible by local bus from numerous points throughout the city. Buses also depart from Bangkok’s Taling Chan railway station for Bang Khae BMT every 10 minutes.

The Southern bus terminal is around nine kilometres away, making it easy to arrive at Bang Khae BMT from a destination in southern Thailand. From the bus terminal local buses and taxis make the trip to the area, as do local tuk-tuks. Both Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports are just a taxi ride away, making flying another option.

The Bang Khae BMT stop will be on Thanon Phetkasem Road between Future Park Mall Bang Khae and Big C Supercentre. There are a number of ATMs and restaurants in the area as well as in the nearby shopping malls where passengers can grab a snack or a meal.

Places of interest in and around Bang Khae BMT include the Thai Boat Museum Taling Chan, Wat Bang Bon, Samphran Crocodile Farm and Wat Nimmanaradi. There are a few places to stay in the area, including Sandra Inn, Diamond Sweet Home and Venezia Resort & Hotel.

News

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11 June 2019

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Two New Bangkok Airways' Air Routes from Chiang Mai Officially Launched

Announced earlier this year, two new routes by Bangkok Airways from Chiang Mai are now fully operational. Now you can fly direct from Chiang Mai to Krabi, in the south of Thailand, and to Luang Prabang, in Laos.

03 April 2019