Once a forgotten area between hipster Ari and touristy Chatuchak, Saphan Kwai (Thai for “buffalo bridge”) is home to humble yet stylish cafes, rooftop bars and restaurants. Here's what it's like living in the neighborhood. 

Sarath N. Chocolatier
 

Coffee & Breakfast 

 
Cafe hoppers in search of a light breakfast should check out Slow Hands (9 Pradiphat Soi 23, 064-990-9654), a minimal, Kinfolk-style cafe for croissants (B35) and scones (B40). For a more filling option, the hip, loft-style Coffee Gapi (14 Pradiphat Soi 20, 02-615-7044) at A Hostel Bangkok serves a great ham and cheese sandwich (B120), scrambled eggs on toast (B80) and cappuccino (B55), while over at Everyday Sunday Social Hostel’s Seek Cafe (446/2 Phahon Yothin Rd., 065-568-4256) you’ll get a hearty waffle bacon and egg sandwich (B65) and their signature caramel flavored Seek Coffee (B60). Head over to Sarath N. Chocolatier (19 Soi Suthisan Winitchai, 094-962-9898) for glossy, orb-like bonbons (B350 for six) and decadent Single Origin Hot Chocolate (B175) by master chocolatier chef Sarath Nimlamai. Meanwhile, Caffe Undici (G/F, Senabadee 1 Bldg., 4/7 Phahon Yothin Soi 11, 02-279-6368) serves up classic sweets like flourless chocolate cake (B85) and chocolate crepes with ice cream (B95) together with iced matcha green tea latte (B90) in a European-style setting. Close by is Doctor Roaster (53 Phahon Yothin Soi 11, 081-810-1983,)where a neurosurgeon who’s passionate about coffee serves a signature Panama Geisha (B250)—Earl Grey-flavored drip coffee with a light scent of blueberries.
 
 
Sasori Izakaya
 
Raan Keng


Lunch & Dinner

 

Just a few steps from BTS Saphan Kwai is Nua Noodle House (1511/9 Phahon Yothin Rd., 084-652-3052), famed for their homemade roasted chili paste tom yum noodles with generous portions of meaty pork (B50). For some good old Thai classic dishes, late-night establishment Krua Pradiphat (Pradiphat Soi 16) is especially renowned for its ”Super Soup” (spicy goji berry soup with chicken feet, B100) and pla gra-pong tod nam pla (deep-fried snapper with sweet and sour sauce, B370). Meanwhile, the modern, two-story kopitiam-style shophouse Jong Dim Sum (524/4 Phahon Yothin Rd., 089-048-6908) serves Betong-recipe dim sum. Continue your Asian fix at nearby Jakkapat (466/4 Phahon Yothin Rd., 083-923-3334) for their specialty bak kut teh (from B150) or venture a little bit further to Sasori Izakaya (39 Phahon Yothin Soi 11, 02-042-7797) for meaty specialties like chicken thigh with a hit of yuzu kosho (B45) and a refreshing pint of draft Sapporo beers (B160). For something fusion, Raan Keng (Pradiphat Soi 14, 02-279-1555) offers blue shrimp tempura (B189) served alongside dishes like somtam “Isaan-kaya” (B599), a big brass tray loaded with papaya salad, fried shishamo (willow leaf fish), salmon sashimi, crispy pork rind, spicy fried chicken, and raw octopus with wasabi. While you’re in the area, don’t miss Dalad Vietnamese Restaurant (195 Pradiphat Soi 19, 02-271-2109) for authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

 
Dumbo Jazz & Vinyl Bar.
 
Baby Bar


Drinks 


Start with grungy ‘90s Helter Skelter (312 Saliratthawiphak Rd., 084-008-8876) for a vinyl-only soundtrack. Next, sip a San Miguel (B100) at New York-themed rooftop Dumbo Jazz & Vinyl Bar (6/F, Inn Office, Phahon Yothin Rd., 094-560-7222). Cat on the Roof (4/F, Everyday Sunday Social Hostel, Phahon Yothin Rd., 095-046-8824) serves Schneider Weisse Tap 6 (B260), while sassy Baby Bar (1/F, Craftsman Hotel, Phahon Yothin Soi 11) is the new number one in the ‘hood for cocktails.
 


Transport 


BTS Saphan Kwai is just five minutes’ walk from where most of these gems are located.
 
Rhythm Phahon-Ari


Accommodation 


By the BTS, 31-story The Signature by Urbano (1543 Phahon Yothin Rd., 02-798-353) has 253 units from B19,000-65,000/month. Meanwhile, Life@Phahon-Ari‘s (1415 Phahon Yothin Rd.) 357 units run from B13,000-35,000/month. One of Bangkok’s tallest buildings, 53-floor Rhythm Phahon-Ari (1377 Phahon Yothin Rd., 02-279-8390) has 809 units and a rooftop pool from B18,000-46,000/month.
 
Mo Museum & Objects That Matter


Community


Community mall Aqua (490/15 Phahon Yothin Rd.) is a lively watering hole and dining area, while Buffalo Bridge Gallery (490/5 Phahon Yothin Rd., 02-616-6669)  is a true arts hub. Check out Mo Museum & Objects That Matter (Pradiphat Soi 14, 095-989-5992) for minimal, stylish bags. 
 
 
 

BK ASKS

What’s special about Saphan Kwai?

 

Noppadon Suttikarnkosol, owner of Helter Skelter

“People used to know Saphan Kwai for its seedy nightlife but that has all changed. There are new restaurants, cafes, bars and hostels that are attracting more people to this neighborhood. It is becoming one of Bangkok’s most interesting areas.”

 

Savita Chongratanakul, owner of Baby Bar

“One of Saphan Kwai's charms is the unique blend between the old and the new—’hipster’ modern and serene, close-knit community. You won’t find anything like it outside of Bangkok.”

 

Jetpruek Lapnarongchai, owner of Jong Dim Sum

“This neighborhood has a charm that’s different to our neighbor Ari. You can still find old shop-houses, markets, delicious local restaurants and community vibe. Hip cafes stand next to old shop-houses and modern hostels hide in tiny sois.”