Insider Tips From Bangkok

Chef Ian Kittichai and Manop Rachote share their favourite places to eat and shop in the city's Siam and Sukhumvit neighbourhoods.

May 9, 2011
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Bangkok's Sukhumvit area is a prime neighbourhood for dining and shopping.
Bangkok's Sukhumvit area is a prime neighbourhood for dining and shopping.
Photography Andrea Pistolesi
Freshness and presentation are key in this Thai gourmet creation.
Freshness and presentation are key in this Thai gourmet creation.
Photography Thinkstock
Sip tea at neo-colonial Agalico beside a European-style garden.
Sip tea at neo-colonial Agalico beside a European-style garden.
A sample of the home goods to be found in Bangkok stores.
A sample of the home goods to be found in Bangkok stores.
Photography Andrea Pistolesi
The MBK Centre is where Thais go to shop in air-conditioned comfort.
The MBK Centre is where Thais go to shop in air-conditioned comfort.
A gourmet supermarket with imported foods can be found at Siam Paragon.
A gourmet supermarket with imported foods can be found at Siam Paragon.
Photography Andrea Pistolesi

We asked two Bangkok experts to weigh in on their favourite places to eat and shop in Siam and Sukhumvit.

Chef Ian Kittichai, owner of a culinary empire that spans the globe
Ian Kittichai Cuisine Concept

Kittichai on food recommendations: Some of the best places to eat in Siam are the little tea, coffee and smoothie stalls that are all over the area. They make lovely Thai ice teas, milk teas and coffees. I also love a Thai restaurant called Baan Khun Mae. It often attracts tourists, but the food is quite good and the décor is charming.

In Sukhumvit, try Namjit Gai Yang on Ekamai Soi 18 for Isaan Thai cuisine, especially grilled chicken and som tam. Not to be missed is afternoon tea at Agalico on Sukhumvit Soi 51. It’s a hidden gem of a neo-colonial tea room with an amazing European-style garden. It’s owned by a designer, and all the pieces of furniture are custom-made to order.

Kittichai also suggests: The Jim Thompson Outlet on Sukhumvit Soi 93 is a bit far but is totally worth the car ride there. It has five floors full of silks, cottons, home goods and accessories. Health Land Massage & Spa has two outposts in Sukhumvit on Sukhumvit Soi 21 (Asoke) and Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekamai). Both offer affordable, certified and excellent professional Thai massage and spa treatments.”

Manop Rachote, interiors and tabletop designer whose creations can be found in some of the world’s most stylish homes
Manop Rachote 

Rachote on shopping recommendations: In the Siam area, a lot of travellers know of Siam Square, but few have heard about MBK Center. It has everything: It’s a giant shopping complex full of clothing, smartphones, shoes, DVDs—it’s like an air-conditioned version of the Chatuchuk Weekend Market. MBK Centre is where all the Thais go to shop. Plus, you can bargain.

Opposite Siam Centre is Siam Square, where there are a lot of little booths and stalls that sell young and funky things from local designers. Also, Siam Paragon has a great gourmet supermarket in the basement. It’s full of imported foods and fresh fruit—everything a homesick tourist craves.

Sukhumvit has the best collection of furniture and home décor shops; they’re scattered over a distance, so you can spend hours going from place to place.

Rachote also suggests: My favourite place to hang out in Sukhumvit is Kuppa, on Sukhumvit 16. It’s a classic bistro, good food and a great family vibe. If you want to eat and then chill out in a laid-back lounge with its own DJ, try Koi on Sukhumvit 20.


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