Running next to Khao San Road, Phra Athit is a collection of quaint shophouses from the turn of the last century. Many elements of this iconic street combine to create a unique community, shaped by the river pier, picturesque riverside park, ancient fort, and close proximity to the Old City and Khao San Road.

    There are many cute cafés, cool bars and interesting local restaurants in this area serving an eclectic and vibrant mix of arty students, expats and tourists weary of the Khao San experience and searching for something more authentic. Phra Atit Road is also a hub of live music – pop, rock and jazz – with some of the friendliest crowds in Bangkok.


    Good Story

    With an ornate European facade leading into a modern room with brushed concrete floors and a bar stocking premium beers like Hoegaarden and Duvel, Good Story is a chic café and restaurant, perfect for daytime lounging on their plush sofas, or in the evening, listening to some live music while sampling their tasty Thai menu. It’s a nice spot for an energising iced coffee throughout the day but gets busiest around evening time.

    Location: 72-74 Phra Artit Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 11am to 1am, Sundays from 5pm to 1am

    Phone: +66 (0)93 051 7254


    Jazz Happens

    A bohemian hang out for night owls who want more from a live band than simple pop music covers, Jazz Happens is perhaps the most famous bar on Phra Atit Road. It was set up by a group of lecturers from the nearby Silapakorn University to provide their students somewhere to play and listen to quality jazz music.

    This cheap and cheerful bar offers a more personal experience than the bigger jazz clubs scattered around Bangkok. The bar opens from around 7pm but it starts to get busy around 10pm, when the band will be in full swing. There's a simple food menu and seating outside.

    Location: 62 Phra Athit Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Friday–Wednesday from 5pm to 12am (closed on Thursdays)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 282 9934


    photo by Andrij Bulba (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Khun Deng Guay Jub Yuan

    One of the most enjoyable elements of Phra Atit Road is the fact that it still feels like a genuine Thai neighbourhood, and this is best experienced at the always-busy local restaurant called Khun Deng Guay Jub Yuan – roughly translated to Mrs Red’s Flat Noodles.

    It’s rare to find such an eclectic mix of customers, with office ladies sitting next to tattooed backpackers, but it’s a testament to the rich pork soup and firm white noodles that the queue is out the door at peak times. The price is also a firm favourite, as you can get a bowl of noodle soup and a drink for only 50 baht. Khun Deng Guay Jub Yuan Restaurant is hot, hectic, and a great experience for anyone who wants to eat a genuine Thai lunch in Bangkok.

    Location: 68-70 Phra Athit Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11am to 9.30pm

    Phone: +66 (0)85 246 0111


    Roti Mataba

    Whoever said first impressions count had obviously never been to Phra Atit Road because the most run-down restaurant on the whole strip is also one of the most delicious. Roti Mataba has a reputation that spans the whole of Bangkok, and yet the hand-painted sign, well-worn kitchen and absolute lack of style make it seem like a place to avoid. Thankfully, this well-established shophouse continues to prosper thanks to word-of-mouth praise from all the inquisitive souls who step inside to order delicious curries and flavoured roti bread, including the namesake mataba (fried and folded roti bread with filling inside).

    There's limited seating upstairs and a few tables and stools on the pavement outside, but if you're only having a roti, take your rich, flavoured bread to the park over the road and enjoy your snack with the Chao Phraya River flowing in the background.

    Location: 136 Phra Athit Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9am to 10.30pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 282 2119


    Veggie Veggie by Namo Nammom Farm

    As the name suggests, Veggie Veggie is the place to come when you’re in the mood for something nutritious and delicious. They offer a page full of salads with meat and vegetarian options, and a range of dressings. Portions are mountainous; the chicken salad with Japanese vinaigrette (salad dressings are served in a separate bowl) is a real belly filler, and at 100 baht it helps you to keep a healthy budget, too.

    There are pictures showing the rows of fresh produce grown at their farm, and each salad comes with a range of colours, tastes and flavours: pumpkin, corn, onion and many different kinds of lettuce leaves. Veggie Veggie also produces its own range of juices; lemongrass and butterfly pea juice are popular. The basic café-style interior is clean, and there’s not much in the way of ambience here, but if it’s a salad you want, this is the place to come.

    Location: 68 Phra Sumen Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10am to 8pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 282 5770


    Santichaiprakan Park and Phra Sumen Fort

    The iconic fort and quaint park surrounding it form a beautiful area in which to relax, soak up the atmosphere, and enjoy the river vistas of the Chao Phraya River in the background. Many tourists like to spread out on the lawn in the shade of a tree while local children run and play and old ladies stop to chat about the weather on one of the many benches.

    As if the variety of cafés, bars and restaurants wasn’t enough, Santichaiprakan Park and Phra Sumen Fort on Phra Atit Road offer another major draw to those who grow weary of the concrete jungle and want to feel some grass underfoot. Phra Sumen Fort also makes a great setting for photographers, and it's one of only 2 remaining forts that were originally built to protect the Grand Palace nearby.

    Location: Phra Athit Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 5am to 9pm


    Phra Atit Pier (N13)

    One of the perceived problems about staying in Bangkok’s Old City district is the lack of a skytrain or subway, but that's forgetting the most ancient of public transportation that already winds its way through the centre of the Old City – the mighty Chao Praya River.

    From dawn until way past dusk, there's a mass of boats and ferries ploughing their way up and down this stretch of the river, linking Phra Atit with other areas of the city. Heading downstream to link up with Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain Station costs from 15 baht on the local ferry or around 40 baht on the Tourist Express boat (150 baht for an all-day pass), which comes with a tour guide pointing out all the many attractions that line the river on both sides. With the wind blowing in your face and not a red light in sight, this is the clever way to travel around the city.

    Location: Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveller

    Start planning your trip

    Back to top