If you’re thinking of moving to a less crowded neighborhood or just looking for places to take guests, consider these 5 underrated neighborhoods in Bangkok.
Punnawithi has everything you could need in a Bangkok neighborhood: restaurants and bars that serve great food, inexpensive accommodations, a thriving local community, close proximity to bike shops in nearby Udom Suk, and easy access to the main roads, including the highway going to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
It’s ideal for those who want a quiet suburb in which to retire after a day in the bustling downtown. Accommodations tend to be inexpensive compared to the pricier neighborhoods with thriving expat communities such as Sathorn, Asok, and Phrom Phong. If you’re thinking of moving here, however, you might want to consider your Bangkok accommodation options, and see if Punnawithi meets your Bangkok living standards. The lack of big, glittering malls could either turn you off or win you over. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of quaint cafes, noodle shops, and a nearby Topps grocery at the neighborhood commercial center, Piyarom Place.
On the opposite end of the BTS Sukhumvit line is Ari, a lively neighborhood that boasts some of Bangkok’s can’t-miss food stalls. Living in this neighborhood means never having to cook your own meal as you’re right smack in the middle of a foodie paradise.
Break free from your usual go-to places and get off at Ari BTS station for a weekend brunch, a leisurely stroll, or a quick coffee break. The reason to visit this underrated neighborhood, though, is undeniably the restaurants, food trucks and the quiet area in which to enjoy your foodie feast. Choices range from classy joints to cozy shophouse eateries, offering international and local fare, from Italian to Isaan, practically whatever dish you’re in the mood for. Its out-of-the-way location makes it less popular among expats, despite being easily accessible via the BTS Skytrain, especially as compared with the nearby alternatives in Victory Monument.
Its tree-lined sois, peaceful neighborhood, and upscale condos also make it an excellent choice for expats with families looking for accommodations. However, it is the impressive array of good eats makes Ari an underrated neighborhood that is worth a second look.
3. ON NUT
Essentially an artery in what is often referred to as the heart of the massive Thai capital, On Nut connects you to the city’s busier center while also being a thriving community in itself.
On Nut is a highly livable community that doesn’t quite have the level of popularity of expats-favored neighborhoods, which can be a good thing. Within the neighborhood are low, mid-range and high-class condominiums, including Ideo, The Base, and Rhythm. Farther down Sukhumvit Road, along Sukhumvit 81 (on the ‘odd’ stretch of the road) and beyond, even cheaper places can be found.
While already popular among expats, On Nut manages to retain a local vibe while offering all that a convenience-seeking expat could want: a nearby BTS station, big groceries (Big C, Tesco Lotus), and street food joints for when the fast food chains in Tesco Lotus just won’t do. Among some of the most underappreciated neighborhoods in Bangkok, On Nut is one that doesn’t have the hipness that neighboring Thong Lor and Ekkamai are dripping with, but it does provide most of the conveniences you need.
4. SAMSEN ROAD, PHRA NAKHON DISTRICT
The area around Samsen Road doesn’t have the glitz of the central areas in Bangkok. What it has is a laidback, distinctly local neighborhood, populated by street vendors and food stalls in a mostly residential area. If you’re looking for a quiet neighborhood that is only around 20-30 minutes away from some of Bangkok’s popular tourist destinations, staying in Samsen is ideal.
The area within Samsen Road stands in stark contrast to nearby Khao San Road, which you have the option to visit if you want to see what an overrated neighborhood in Bangkok looks like, or if you have guests who want to be taken somewhere exotic. The Samsen Road area is not without its charmers; Cinema Wine House, a wine bar/cinematheque, offers film viewings, wines, and nibbles. Go around the area near Rajawithi and the railroad tracks, too, and discover local restaurants that serve quintessential Thai fare.
5. BANG CHAK
Yet another low-key Sukhumvit neighborhood is Bang Chak, coming right after On Nut and just before Punnawithi. Whereas On Nut and Punnawithi are self-sustaining communities, with commercial centers within their midst, Bang Chak is where you can experience truly local living, minus the requisite commercial centers, that is just as ideal for long-term stays.
In place of big condominium such as the ones found in On Nut, Bang Chak has instead an abundance of houses and apartments for rent situated in a highly residential community that’s among the quietest in Sukhumvit. Walk around the neighborhood and discover small bakeries, noodle shops, Chinese restaurants, and a wet market.