Bangkok’s Chinatown is going through a renaissance. After the first wave of glitzy cocktail bars and Instagram-appropriate cafes opened their doors in surrounding areas like Soi Nana and Talad Noi, recent months have seen new spots setting up shop much closer to Chinatown’s bustling center, Yaowarat. From a Hong Kong-style ice cream parlor to a colonial hotel – we selected our favorite new arrivals in Yaowarat’s alleyways.
Set inside a beautifully restored 100-year-old mansion, this small-scale boutique hotel provides a surprisingly quiet retreat amidst the Chinatown chaos. With only four rooms, the hotel feels like a cozy home, but the classic interior and friendly service remind us of the luxury heritage hotels near the riverside.
We loved the attention to detail the owners (a lovely Thai couple with a knack for hospitality) put into every room: custom-made area maps printed on cloth napkins, fresh flowers and a complimentary minibar put this spot high above the competition in the area. Breakfast in the common area on the second floor is not to be missed: choose between chicken rice or congee and nab a spot at the window for phenomenal views over the adjoining Wat Samphanthawongsaram Worawihan temple grounds.
Before turning it into a hotel, the current owners used the building as a warehouse for their footwear business down the street. They dove deep into the archives and managed to piece together the history of this stately mansion, which once belonged to a wealthy Thai Muslim family. The complete history is now preserved and presented in a small gallery on the first floor – do take some time to check it out. Check rates and availability .
98 Phat Sai, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Bangkok
CHATA Specialty Coffee
If you want to check out Baan 2459 from up close, but don’t want to commit to spending the night – put Chata on your list. Located in a handsome glass house right behind the hotel, this coffee shop is open to non-guests and absolutely worth a visit.
The day to day is run by head barista Nopphadon Jantranapaporn, a coffee aficionado through and through. Between importing beans from around the globe (El Salvador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, etc.) and whipping up interesting concoctions like the colapresso (espresso, coke and lime), he’s happy to give advice on beans and brews.
Thanks to its bare-brick walls, ample light, and rustic wooden tables, the place is an Instagram hotspot – avoid visiting on weekends if you want to sip your coffee in peace.
98 Phat Sai, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Bangkok
With its rustic tones and plant-filled interior, Aoon Pottery seems to have come straight out of the Chiang Mai countryside. Tucked away on a residential street just a block away from Yaowarat, this small pottery studio doubles as a cafe, attracting camera-touting Thais from around the city.
The menu is simple but delicious, featuring a small selection of salads, sandwiches and several teas and coffees. We can highly recommend the home-style satay rice, served with a runny egg on top and a side of vegetables. All dishes are served on plates and bowls created in the studio upstairs, ask for the price if you’d like to bring them home.
2/8, Alley, Lane Pathum Khongkha, Bangkok
Keeping up with the industrial-chic aesthetics that are all the rage in Bangkok these days, barista Teerajit Luanpitpong (previously at Brave Roasters) fixed up an old Chinatown shophouse near the beginning of Yaowarat Road into a lofty coffee spot. Decked out with factory lamps, metal chairs and slabs of raw leather, As.is easily surpasses the coolness of the hip cafes down in Sukhumvit.
The good looks wouldn’t matter if the coffee quality didn’t match up, but Teerajit sure knows how to brew a good cuppa. With beans sourced from the North of Thailand, their latte comes highly recommended. Alongside espresso-based drinks, the menu also features a small selection of cakes and small dishes for when you’re feeling peckish.
If you’re looking to get some work done, head up to the small co-working area on the second floor (and check out our recommendations for best cafes to work from in Bangkok).
45 Rama 4 Rd., Bangkok
真真 JingJing Ice-cream Bar and Cafe
After making your way past vegetable vendors and several kuai tiao kitchens in a small market alley just off Yaowarat Road, you’ll stumble upon Jing Jing, a boutique ice cream parlor tucked away in a beautifully refurbished shophouse. The cafe is hard to miss, as the Hong Kong style facade – complete with neon sign and lacquered tiles – puts the other buildings on the street to shame.
On the menu, you’ll find an ever-changing selection of home-made ice creams in flavors such as blueberry yogurt, coconut-pumpkin, and orange sorbet. The real crowdpleasers, however, are the booze-infused variations such as gin-tonic and rum-raisin ice cream – they’re not strong enough to get you buzzed, but a welcome treat in the Bangkok heat.
The cafe-style seating on the first floor feels a bit cramped, so head up to the second floor for more spacious seating in a very Instagram-friendly setting.
154 Charoen Krung 14 Alley, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Located at the fringe of a small market on Santhipap road, this blink-and-you-miss-it craft beer joint brings stylish late-night entertainment to Chinatown proper. Hidden behind a simplistic entrance that looks like any other shophouse lining the street, you’ll find a chic Shanghai-style bar bathed in red neon light, with Chinese lanterns and vintage posters completing the look.
The drink list revolves around craft beers by Hong Kong’s husband-and-wife Moonzen brewery (Rabbit Hill is their sole Thai distributor) and several Japanese sakes, umeshus, and whiskeys. Rabbit Hill’s friendly Thai-Taiwanese owner, Akarawat ‘Pow’ Hengviriyapanich, is happy to recommend a special brew.
Come hungry, as the menu also features a small selection of classic Chinese-style dishes that pair perfectly with cold beers.
21 Santiphap, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Bangkok
More Chinatown hotspots:
These 9 bars and restaurants are making Bangkok Chinatown great again