Bangkok - Phahonyothin
The Phahonyothin (พหลโยธิน) area of Bangkok is centered around Phahonyothin road, starting from the Victory Monument, a major bus/Skytrain interchange. Also spelled Phaholyothin, Paholyothin etc, it is sided by Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, both stretching northward all the way past the old Don Muang Airport (now replaced by Suvarnabhumi) towards Rangsit and Highway 1 to Ayutthaya and (if you keep driving long enough) Chiang Mai.
The Skytrain's Sukhumvit line runs north from Victory Monument to Chatuchak/Mo Chit, where it intersects with the Metro Blue Line. SRT's Bang Sue Train Station is also accessible by the Metro, and may be an option if heading north or northeast.
Many visitors also arrive (or leave) via the massive Moh Chit Northern Bus Terminal (sathanii Mo Chit), also known as Mo Chit Mai ("new Mo Chit") or simply Mo Chit as the old version has ceased to exist. This is the largest terminal in Bangkok and buses to all points throughout central, northern and northeastern Thailand, including Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, all of Isaan and Aranyaprathet (for Cambodia) leave from here.
Buying tickets here is reasonably easy; find a window with your destination written on it (in friendly Roman letters), pay the fare in big numbers on the same window, and you'll get a ticket on the next available departure. Note that blue writing means 1st class, red means 2nd class (avoid on longer trips), and tickets for northeastern destinations are sold from the 3rd floor. Ask the information desk on the 1st floor if you need help, or any of the BKS staff, easily identifiable thanks to their natty white shirts with gold buttons. Now just find the departure stall and you're on your way. If you have time to kill, there are two fairly decent air-con food courts at both ends of the main terminal building, plus KFC, Dunkin' Donuts and lots of 7-Eleven outlets.
The bus terminal is fair hike from the Skytrain or subway stations across Chatuchak Park. Motorbike taxis do the trip for a fixed 30 baht fare (bargaining is pointless), while tuk-tuks charge what they feel like - just remember that a real taxi with air-con and all will cost you 35 baht (albeit not including sitting around in traffic jams). If you have a considerable amount of luggage the easiest, if not necessarily fastest, option is to take a taxi directly to/from the bus terminal.
There are few sights as such in the area, and most tourists make a beeline for the Weekend Market (see Buy).
- Victory Monument (อนุสาวรีย์ ชัยสมรภูม anutsawarii chaisamorraphuum). Constructed in 1941 after the French Indochina War to commemorate those who lost their lives, this spiky Bangkok landmark is now better known as Bangkok's largest local bus hub. If traveling north by Skytrain, you'll be treated to a 180-degree curving panorama of the monument, and this is the best view you can get as actually reaching the base of the monument would require passing through a triple-laned traffic circle maelstrom of buses.
- Chatuchak Weekend Market (จตุจักร, also Jatujak or even JJ). BTS Mo Chit, Metro Kampaeng Phet. Northern Bangkok's biggest draw, this incredibly vast, 35-acre outdoor market has over 8,000 vendors selling anything and everything under the sun. To put that number in perspective, if you browsed each stall each one minute, non-stop for 8 hours on both Saturday and Sunday, it would take you around two months to visit them all! A good rule of thumb is to buy immediately if you spot something interesting, because you will never find the same stall again. The market opens at 7 AM, so get there early to beat the crowds and the heat. Keep an eye on your belongings here as pickpockets work in the crowds, and avoid Chatuchak on rainy days as the roofs and drains here aren't quite up to a tropical downpour. Silom's Suan Lum Night Bazaar is worth considering as an alternative to Chatuchak: it's more centrally located, it's open at night when it's cooler and there are a number of restaurants where cold beer and decent food is available. The range of goods on offer is, however, not quite as immense at at Chatuchak.
- Or Tor Kor Market. Right next to Chatuchak, far fewer tourists make it to the best place in Bangkok to buy high-quality plants and produce straight off the farm at Thai prices.
Northern Bangkok's hippest place to eat is the area around Phahonyothin Soi 7, better known as Soi Ari (or Aree), and Soi 5, Soi Ari Samphan. Just off BTS Ari station, these busy streets are divided into their own sois, with Ari Soi 1 featuring a bustling market packed with food stalls and the trendier/more expensive joints around Sois 2 and 3.
Victory Monument has the usual collection of Western & Thai fast-food favorites and a busy street market as well, especially in the evenings.
- Jud Leeo, Phahonyothin Soi 19 (Around the Corner from the British Council and Index). Exceptional Thai curries and other dishes with a friendly, English speaking staff. Shady trees and a fairly subdued side soi make evening outside dining pleasant. Closed Sundays.
- Khrob Khreung (ครบเครื่อง), Ari Samphan Soi 10. Famous for its kuay tiow yam bok rice noodles with fresh vegetables, topped with pork or shrimp (30 baht). Also serves up Thai-Chinese dim sum, muu stek pork satay with peanut sauce, and a wide range of other side dishes. No English sign or menu, but pointing should do the trick.
- Pad Thai Aree, Phahonyothin Soi 7 (Soi Aree). This small, unassuming shophouse, located on the right side of the street as you turn down Soi 7 from Paholyothin, is actually owned by a friend of the Royal family (note the picture of the Princess on the wall!) and serves up some delectable pad thai (and many variations) at slightly more than street stall prices (around 40-60 baht).
- Pathe, Corner of Lat Prao and Vipawadi, tel. +66-29384995. The atmosphere is great with a classic record player providing the music. Serves up some tasty food as well.
- Som-Tum Bangkok, Ari Soi 3, tel. +66-26198659. Tucked down a leafy soi further down the street, this place is named after its showpiece som tum (green papaya salad, 45 baht and up) but features all your other Isaan favorites too, with mains in the 50-70 baht range. Seating indoors and outdoors, open from 11 AM to 11 PM.
- Street food, Phahonyothin Soi 7 (Soi Aree). Just off the BTS and around the corner on Soi Aree are a multitude of street stalls selling some of Bangkok's best street food, from Chinese-style wonton noodles, Isaan specialities such as som tom, larb, gai yaang, as well as pad thai, Thai deserts and stands that can whip up basically the entire repetoire of Thai cuisine, all for around 20-30 baht per dish.
- Wake Up Cafe, Phahonyothin Soi 9. In an unlikely location down a soi near Shinawatra Tower 2, this is a surprising little oasis of greenery (outside) and clean white lines (inside). Mains around 50 baht, a fancy cup of coffee around the same amount.
- Arancini, BTS Stop Ari - Soi Ari (Phaholyothin Soi 7). Italian food, with especially enticing pizzas (try the Rianata) and a good selection of decently priced wines (glass and bottle) to help you get rid of that leftover Chang taste from the afternoon.
- Baan Mae Yui(บ้านแม่ยุ้ย), 53/1 Soi Ari Samphan 1, Phahonyothin Road(10-15 minute walk from BTS Ari or short motorbike/tuk tuk ride), ☎ 02 619 9952. Tucked away in a quiet, narrow residential soi, this tiny gem has become a neighbourhood favourite (you may have to wait for a seat on weekends). Features a small menu of home-style Thai favourites (including some more old-fashioned dishes that are harder to find these days), and a daily specials menu. Dinner menu and Sunday lunch also features some quite good Western dishes as steaks, pastas and roasts, and the bakery items and home-made ice creams are worth bringing home.
- Bale(บาเล่), 67/19 Lad Phrao Soi 35, ☎ 02 938-1518-9. Just inside the soi, this restaurant is a huge refurbished house and quite popular with young mobile Thai professionals. Features full band with 8 violinists, wine glass chandelier and several international beers.
- Chlorophyll, Lad Phrao Soi 64. Just inside the soi, this Bali inspired restaurant features outdoor dining in a quaint garden setting. Thai and Japanese fair with an occasional musician.
- Lao Lao, Phahonyothin Rd (Between Sois 7 and 9). Chinese-style seafood restaurant that is always bustling well into the wee hours of night. Not much on atmosphere or service, but the crowds can attest that the food is terrific and the price is right. English menus available, but very local--may help to go with a Thai friend.
- La Villa Shopping Complex, Phahonyothin Rd (at Ari BTS). Houses several mid-range dining options, from the Japanese chain favourite Fuji to Korean barbecue, steakhouse, Thai and other dining venues. Also a Starbucks here and a Villa Market.
- Pickle Factory, 55 Ratchawithi Soi 2 (10-15 min from Victory Monument by tuk-tuk), tel. 22463036. Deep down a small soi in Din Daeng, this hip but relaxed lounge-cum-restaurant is neither factory nor has any pickles on their menu: instead, it's a modern residential house (complete with swimming pool) offering competent pizza (160/300 baht small/large), pasta and Thai favorites (90-150 baht).
- PizZanotti, Soi Ari, tel. 1344. Authentic Italian pizza made with imported ingredients and cooked in a wood-fired oven. Pizzas from 220 baht, free delivery in northern Bangkok.
- Suan Gularb, Soi Ari Samphan, (10-15 minute walk from BTS Ari or short motorbike/tuk tuk ride). An Ari neighborhood institution, hugely popular with both neighbourhood locals and downtown dwellers in the know. Features a surprisingly vast menu of Thai and Chinese favourites, all terrific and priced at approximately 80-150 baht per dish (seafood more expensive).
- Pla Dip(ปลาดิบ), Soi Ari Samphan, ☎ 02 279-8185. 18.00-24.00. 20 min walk from BTS Ari or short motorbike/tuk-tuk ride, at the corner of Ari Samphan 7. Surprisingly chic setting and menu, drawing in a constant crowd of Bangkok hipsters and "Indie" music fanatics, this restaurant cum bar features live bands on weekends, a happening bar and a creative menu focusing on fresh fish prepared in some creative fusion styles. A bit more of a splurge for this neighborhood, with dishes easily topping 200-300 baht.
Several bars aimed at young Thai socializers have sprung up at the Or Tor Kor farmer's market area, near Chatuchak. A stone's throw from the Kamphaeng Phet MRT station (exit #1), are at least 20 small pubs, bars and restaurants operate every day of the week.
Nightlife is most active in Pradiphat and Suthisarn Winitchai Road.
There are many accommodation options within a fifteen minute drive off the old Don Muang airport.
- Bansabai Hostel. 8/137 Moo 3, Soi Sahakon 15, Latphrao 71, Latphrao Rd, Bangkok 10230, Thailand+66 2 932-9200 . About 30-40 mins drive from the airport. Rooms rate between 600 - 800 baht.
- Comfort Suites Airport, 88/110 Viphavadi-Rangsit Road., ☎ +66-2 5528-9219(email@example.com, fax: +66-2 5528-920), . A rather basic and drab business hotel. Standard rooms 1200 baht (pre-Suvarnabhumi price).
- Louis Tavern Dayrooms. Located within Don Muang itself.
- Princeton Park, 3 Mitmaitri Road, Din Daeng., ☎ +66 2 617-4600, . Recently refurbished hotel/service apartment easily accessible from Don Muang but not very convenient to anywhere else, even the nearest BTS/subway station. Pool, gym, cafe, convenience store. Online rates from 2600 baht (pre-Suvarnabhumi price).
- Quality Suites Airport, 99/401-486 Soi Benjamitr, Chaeng Wattana Road., ☎ +66 2 982-2022(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +66 2 982-2036), . Spacious rooms but meagre facilities. The hotel's restaurant has excellent quality Thai cuisine; despite catering to travellers they don't tone it down too much. One bedroom suites from 1500 baht, two bedroom suites from 2500 baht (pre-Suvarnabhumi prices)
- Rama Gardens, 9/9 Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Laksi., ☎ +66 2 561-0022(fax: +66 2 561-1025), . A large and pleasant hotel located in spacious grounds with great facilities and courteous staff.
- Reflections, 244/2-18 Pradipat Rd., Samsennai, Phayathai, Bangkok 10400 THAILAND(near BTS Saphan Kwai), ☎ +66-22703344(fax: +662-270-3359), . Far and away the wackiest place to stay in north Bangkok, Reflections is a super-kitschy hotel. Each of the guest rooms has been designed by a different interior designer. Expect a full dose of clashing colors, bright plastic furniture and colorful mood lighting. Rooms from 2250 baht with breakfast. Note: Reflections moved in 2008, the new location is less convenient and has no longer the pool. from 1,850 to 3,450 baht.
- Sandy Shelter, Ngamwongwan Road, Lak Si, ☎ +66-8 4070 9000, . A small, friendly and quiet serviced apartment with daily rates 800 baht. They have free internet access to all guests. About a ten minute drive from Don Muang Airport
- Amari Airport Hotel, 333 Chert Wudthakas Road, ☎ +66 2 566-1020(email@example.com, fax: +66 2 566-1941), . Connected to the Don Muang airport terminal buildings by an enclosed overhead walkway.
- Sofitel Centara Grand, 1695 Phahonyothin Road, ☎ +66 2 541-1234(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +66 2 541-1087), . Formerly called Sofitel Central. Far from central in overall terms, but next to the Convention Center, shopping center and easily accessed from the expressway and MRT and probably the best digs in this part of town.
This page was last edited at 10:17, on 8 December 2008 by Jani Patokallio. Based on work by Bill Johnson, Carson Roen, K and C, Wikitravel user(s) MarinaK, Episteme, WindHorse and Hkpatv, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.