A Travel Guide to Cape Panwa, Phuket
Sneak out of your five-star hotel to explore the best spots around Cape Panwa.
Although located on the far southwestern tip of Phuket, Cape Panwa is one of the most popular destinations on the island, thanks to stellar high-end resorts like Sri Panwa. Despite being remote, Cape Panwa, which has also just welcomed the Regent Phuket Cape Panwa, does offer a few must-visit attractions, from beaches, islands, waterfalls and, of course, magnificent views, while still being only 15 minutes from the center of Phuket Town.
The beaches at Cape Panwa are not ideal for swimming but are perfect for lazing about in the sun. The new hotel (see Grand Opening) has the most beautiful private beach of all the resorts in the area. White sands and idyllic blue water make this beach a great place to unwind. However, it is restricted to hotel guests. A little drive away is a beach called Ao Yon. This quiet beach is home to fishermen and a number of yachts. Local restaurants offer boat trips if you fancy a spot of fishing.
Phuket is justifiably famous for its beaches, but waterfalls are another real attraction of the island. One nearby is Ao Yon Waterfall. Situated 10 minutues from Cape Panwa, the place is rather difficult to find, situated right where Soi Ruam Jai Ao Yon ends. It also takes a little trekking to reach the spot but it’s worth it for its strong water flow, especially during rainy season. Sit right next to the fall or dangle your legs in to get massaged by nature.
Sat at the tip of the cape is the Phuket Aquarium (51 Mu 8, Sakdidej Road, 076-391-051, www.phuketaquarium.org). Though quite old now, it still acts as a valuable education center exhibiting all kinds of seawater fish species, as well as doling out knowledge on how to protect the local ecosystem. On Saturday and Sunday you can dive with the fish and help feed them from 11-11:30am. Here, they also house turtles that have been rescued from the sea and are now looked after by the aquarium officials. The aquarium is located right on the beachside and has a natural trail with different kinds of sea plants on display. The Panwa beach next to it also has a great view from afternoon till sunset when colorful longtail boats dot the beach.
Khao Khad Views Tower is located slightly out of the way, in Wichit District on Skdidej Road past through Mudong Canal, and requires you to climb a few steps or take the natural wooden bridge trail to reach the top for a 360-degree view of south Phuket and its nearby islands. But it’s more than worth it. Chalong Bay, Makham Bay, Cape Panwa and, at a distance, the Big Buddha are all visible. The best time to go is afternoon until sunset, too.
Island-hopping is a great option for visitors here for a long stay. There are two islands close to Panwa. Coral Island or Koh Hae, three kilometers southeast of Phuket, has two beaches, Banana Beach and Long Beach, where you can view the impressive coral reef with a bit of snorkeling. The island is also great for doing water sports like kayaking. Leaving from the aquarium, day trips by longtail boat take approximately 45 minutes each way and include lunch and light snacks at B1,200 roundtrip (bargain hard). Some 12 kilometers south of Phuket lies Racha Island or Koh Raya, famous for diving and snorkeling. The clear waters and white sands see day-trippers flock here, with some even staying on in the bungalows and resorts that have begun to spring up. Day trips by speedboat take around 30 minutes each way and cost B1,600 roundtrip inclusive of lunch and light snacks.
When evening falls, the best choice to catch the sunset while sipping a few refreshing cocktails is Sri Panwa’s Baba Nest, an exclusive rooftop bar with a panoramic view of Phuket’s southeastern islands. Another restaurant with a similarly impressive view is The Grill at the newly-opened Regent Phuket Cape Panwa. Its rooftop dining lounge boasts an impressive wine list to match the setting, too. Craving some local food? Head to the last turn of the cape where the welcoming Keang Lay (33/1 Mu 8, Sakdidej Road, 076-391-103, open daily 11:30am-10pm) serves up tasty local bites. Try the gaeng kati pu mee hun (spicy crab red curry with rice noodles, B150) served with beansprout, boiled eggs, pineapple and basil leaves, the stir-fried smoked dried shrimp with pak miang (melinjo nuts, B100) or minced fried pork or beef with dry curry (B120). Follow up your heavy dinner with a stroll along the Panwa beachside to Kantary Café (owned by Cape Panwa) for a few sweets. This cozy café does some of the best coffee in the area and serves a variety of cheesecakes. Try the coffee frappe (B75) with a fresh fruits cheesecake (B120) and sit by the window for the calming ocean breeze.
Where to stay
Sri Panwa (88 Sakdidej Rd, 076-371-000, www.sripanwa.com) is offering special rates for Thai residents during high season starting from B19,140 for a pool suite, B29,260 for a pool villa and B32,000 for an ocean view villa.
How to get there
Budget airlines offer cheaper prices during winter, with Nok Air starting at B4,298 and AirAsia at B3,736 for a roundtrip. Proper carriers like Bangkok Airways are offering B6,090 and Thai Airways B5,900 for a roundtrip.
One of the most popular haan palo (braised goose) spots in town, Chua Kim Huad wages a daily battle with nearby Chua Jiab Nguan (02-437-7608. Open daily 9am-5pm), but truth be told, both offer a similar delicious taste (B105 for a small plate). While Chua Jiab Nguan also serves up many cooked-to-order dishes, we really like Chua Kim Huad’s succulent and refreshing soup.
02-437-2427, 02-863-0701. Open daily 8am-5pm
Even though this shophouse specializing in kanom pia (baked bread balls stuffed with beans, B35) recently moved further away from the market, it’s still very popular, especially during Chinese New Year. The kanom pia is aromatic and stuffed with yummy black beans.
02-437-4164. Open daily 8am-7pm
The sweet lady who makes the old-style Thai coffee (B20) here understands that everyone has different tastes when it comes to their cup of joe. So be as picky as you want and she will still serve your coffee with a smile. Oh and it’s pretty likely she’ll remember your order the next time you drop by, too.
Open Tue-Fri 9am-5pm
The lady and her daughter at this stall make much more than just tasty nam tau hoo (soy milk, B8); they also have assorted, freshly made Thai desserts like kanom chan (Thai pudding) and kanom tom (coconut balls) in takeaway packs, perfect for snacking when on-the-go.
Open Tue-Fri 6am-2pm
This noodles stall seems to have a never-ending list of orders to get through before yours (waits can last almost up to an hour), but it’s totally worth it. Here you’ll find excellent guay tiew moo (pork noodles) but the real clincher is the perfectly fried gratiem jeaw (fried garlic).
081-700-4132, 089-517-0387. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-2am
It is impossible to walk down Tha Din Daeng Road and not stop to stare at the two huge fire grills heaped high with pork satay. The two pork satay shops sat side by side are owned by two siblings. They both also have separate guay tiew pla (noodles with fish balls) shops right next to each other. Needless to say, the moo satay (pork satay, B5/piece) is delicious, while the guay tiew pla (B30-40) is equally tasty—making these two (or four) of the busiest shops on the strip.
02-437-1172, 081-628-8740. Open daily 11am-8pm
With choices galore, this dessert shop is definitely not to be missed. One of the highlights is the Hainanese bokkia (B25), steamed flour noodles with a mix of fruits and beans in syrup. Here, the noodles are the super chewy ones that we love. But with more than 20 options to try, from coconut chunks to khao tom nam woon (sweetened sticky rice), return visits are a must.
02-438-0574. Open daily 5pm-9pm
Even though this stall is actually hidden away down soi 13, its great rad na (B30), khao pad (B35) and pad see-ew (B35) ensure it’s one of the bestselling shops in Tha Din Daeng. The rad na (noodles in gravy) is our pick as it’s perfectly made—not too gooey, not too watery and hardly requiring any additional seasoning bar a pinch of chili.
085-143-2267. Open daily noon-7pm
Blink and you’ll miss it. This stall arrives late and before you know it, all the braised pork leg is already gone. It’s easy to see why: the reasonably priced (B25) dish comes with tender, fatty pork that’s not too greasy, while the gravy is such a wonderful topping on the rice.
Open Tue-Sun 5pm-8pm
The buzz: Situated in the Thonglor neighborhood this stylish restaurant is perfect if you’re in the mood for a classic sushi bar menu and vibe. Despite the lack of fusion food, Kaze isn’t boring, thanks to décor that’s fit for a Thonglorite.
The décor: A mix of marble and wood, a painting of Koi carp, warm lights and two floors to choose from: the sushi bar where the chef shows off his skills and the dining room upstairs.
The food: The highlights are the light battered tempura moriawase (prawns and vegetable, B360), or opt for the set of nine bites comprising fish like otoro, anago, engawa and uni (B3,200). The restaurant uses beef sourced from Kagishima (B450), said to be tastier than the more commonly found wagyu. If you’re still hungry, indulge in some rice topped with foie gras (B550).
The drinks: A standard selection of sake starts from B130 with the recommendations including Ozeki Karatanba (B4,000 for 1.8 liter).
The crowd: A mix of trendy Thais and Japanese expats.
318 Sukhumvit 55 (between Thonglor Soi 10 and 12), 02-392-3544. Open daily noon-2pm, 5-10:30pm
The buzz: Sen-ryo imports everything from Japan; from its chef to the crockery, and of course nearly every ingredient used to create the traditional dishes on its menu. The attention to detail extends to the water they use to clean the fish and cook their rice, which is cleaned through reverse osmosis. The first Sen-ryo outside of Japan was in Hong Kong and it’s a pretty big deal out there, with customers lining up for lunch.
The décor: Simple, elegant sofa seating along the conveyor belt and the requisite light-colored wooden furnishings. Private rooms are also available.
The food: Mainly classic sushi dishes. Plates placed on the conveyor belt have a chip attached to them to ensure freshness by getting automatically removed from the belt after a certain amount of time. Recommended dishes include the fresh kama toro sushi (tuna cheeks, B350), salmon roe sushi (B280), wagyu beef (B480) and incredibly creamy sea urchin (B780).
The drinks: Sake starts at B240/glass and beers include Asahi Draft (B75), Singha (B125) and Heineken (B90).
The crowd: Mainly Japanese expats from the area.
RG01, Nihonmura Mall, 85 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-712-9688. Open daily 11:30am-2pm and 6-10pm
The buzz: Set on the corner of Thonglor Soi 10, Kaguya serves a mix of contemporary Japanese and French cuisine under the same management team as its next door neighbor, Wine Republic. The hip young crowds should dig the DJ, lengthy cocktail list and one of the most stylish decors on the strip.
The décor: A layered series of screens, from bamboo strips to rods tied into narrow scaffolding, filter warm light through their golden, natural colors. Choose from bar seating under the glowing yellow cloud of light, outdoor sofas, or the vividly colored dining room’s orange and sea green chairs.
The food: Start off with an aromatic, velvety vanilla soup with seared scallop (B200) followed by red mullet with black olive and lemon (B320) and 56-hour sous-vide wagyu tongue with soy sauce, rosemary and thyme (B420). Aside from the sashimi and sushi bar, Kaguya serves main dishes like grilled king crab’s leg with sautéed mushroom and caramelized leek puree (B1,300) or lamb rack marinated in herbal miso, rosemary foam, kimchi mashed potato and mint ponzu (B1,000).
The drinks: This place takes its drinks very seriously. Cocktails include Gentleman’s Truth (Tanquery gin, Violet, herbal liqueur, citrus, oregano, B320) and the bartender’s own creation’s, such as Panna (Gold Label, Fireball cinnamon whiskey, honey, pineapple juice, B280). Beers include Hoegaarden (B160), Norrebro (B280), Mikkeller (B280) among others. They also have an impressive list of Japanese spirits categorized by taste such as woody, mellow, fruity, peaty and floral from B220-900.
The crowd: Groups of hip and well-heeled Thonglorites.
The Third Place, 137 Thonglor Soi 10, 02-714-9974. Open Mon-Fri 5:30pm-1am and Sat-Sun 11am-2pm, 5:30pm-1am
The buzz: From California to Bangkok, the chain restaurant Sushi Planet has landed in Bangkok, where it serves up its signature fusion rolls from the original venues with tweaks designed to better suit the Thai palate.
The décor: Casual and simple with TV screens tuned to football emphasizing the laid-back atmosphere.
The food: Contemporary rolls which use lots of spicy mayo, jalapeno and avocado. The recommendations include Oh My God (rolls with spicy shrimp salad, shrimp tempura, salmon and avocado on top, B395) and Big Boss (rolls with shrimp tempura, crab salad and cucumber inside with seared tuna and fried red onion with spicy karashi sauce, B375). You can also sample some light appetizers such as the Japanese ceviche (B355) or drop by on the lunchtime for lunch sets ranging from B195-B290.
The drinks: Asahi draft beer is B99. The Ozeki hot sake is B249 and Berry Mix Sparkling Jelly sake is B250. A selection of wine starts from B120 by glass.
The crowd: The majority of the customers are Western expats and families from the ‘hood.
Athenee Residence, Soi Ruamrudee, BTS Ploen Chit, 02-168-5214. Open daily 11am-10pm
The buzz: Located in the community mall Rainhill, Kokoro promises a traditional cooking style led by Japanese Chef Mi Chan whose experience spans over four decades.
The décor: Warm and sophisticated, with views over Sukhumvit, the restaurant is divided between a sushi and cocktail bar at the front, and private rooms decorated with traditional paintings out back.
The food: Besides classic dishes like otoro sushi (B690), uni sushi (B469) and buri kama shioyaki (grilled salted yellowtail cheek, B1,090), the place also recommends their deep broth shabu (B690) for a smooth addition to your meal. You could also opt for the sashimi set (B1,490). And don’t leave without trying the delicious coffee jelly (B100).
The drink: Sake ranges from B320 to B1,800. Beers covers everything from Singha (B80) and Heineken (B90) to Federbrau light (B140).
The crowd: Thai families and groups of friends seeking convenience and tradition rolled into one sushi joint.
3/F, Rain Hill, Sukhumvit Soi 47, 02-261-7539-40. BTS Phrom Phong/Thong Lo. Open daily 11:30am-10pm
Attend exhibitions, screenings, parties, and seminars in this open space that looks over the Chao Praya River. Or just hang out at the Space Café for some delicious brownies (B80) and standard beers (B80). Conveniently located at the heart of Khlongsan market, local street food is just seconds away.
Above 7-11, Khlong San Plaza, Next to Hilton Millenium, 083-034-9101. www.thespacebangkok.com
This is a book café where you can enjoy some java and cakes and experience exhibitions, theatre, screenings and workshops. They regularly have interesting and innovative events such as the recent talk about controversial hit TV series Hormones with its director Songyot “Yong” Sukmakanan, a one-off screening of Pen-Ek’s new political documentary Paradoxocracy, and the upcoming Social Media seminar (Aug 26, B2,500).
Charoen Nakorn Rd., between soi 20-22, 082 983 8099. www.facebook.com/HOCSpace. Open daily 8am-8pm
Soaring vaulted ceilings, wood paneled walls, wide archways and a mix of cobblestone and tiles conjure up the atmosphere of an elegant wine cellar turned bistro. The unobtrusive soundtrack promises chill easy-listening while the menu features similarly inoffensive inter favorites like the signature A Bar Above Burger (B250) with beef, grilled bacon and egg. They also serve pizza, with toppings such as salmon and onion (B300) or pepperoni (B300). Wash it all down with a draught beer (Hoegaarden or Stella Artois, B240/pint) while you take in the tasteful decor.
2/F, Krung Thon Building, 371 New Ratchadapisek Rd. 02-476-5700. www.facebook.com/ABarAbove. Open daily 6pm-1am
Bangkok Sea View asks you to get on a long-tail boat (B50 for adults and B20 for kids) from a pier on Rama 2 and go dine in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand, basically on a big platform of bamboo sticks. During the 20-minute journey, you’ll pass through a mangrove forest and see the lifestyle of people living by (and on) the river. This is bordering on a day-trip but it’s definitely worth it. Enjoy the seafood dishes like sea crab in yellow curry (B550), stir fried prawns in red curry sauce (B250) and seablite spicy salad (B150). Reservations recommended.
74/3 Thakam, Bangkhuntien, 083-160-6714, 089-613-1340. www.bangkokseaview.com
Set in a traditional Thai house, there’s no air con here, only wooden seating and a staff made up of grumpy aunts who are then joined by some hard-working kids on the weekends. The menu is standard Thai fare, but it’s very well executed. Just about all the fish dishes we’ve tried have been impressive. The choo chee pla nuea on (sheatfish in curry paste, B240) is naturally sweet beyond the rich coconut sauce it is cooked in. And on the deep-fried side of things, the pla maa tord (deep-fried croaker fish with garlic, B240) is a delight served with a refreshing side of pineapple. The tom yum pla buek (Mekong giant catfish in tom yum, B160), too, is simply wonderful, providing a welcome kick of spice. While service and décor may leave much to be desired, Pla Mae Nam’s kitchen is top notch.
145 Rama 2 Soi 100, 02-892-3499. Open daily 11am-8pm.
Located in a cute white house with a terrace and a garden, this place is popular at lunch with the office workers in the area. The salads, steaks and pastas are pretty good. But what we always order here is the khao pad gaeng kiew waan moo (stir fried rice with sweet green curry and pork, B65) and khao pad kee mao (stir fried rice with basil and pepper, B65).
14/42 Bangkhunnon, Talingchan, 02-881-3623. Open Thu-Tue 10am-9pm
We were pretty crushed when this one moved out to the boonies. (MisterPas was originally on Phra Athit Road.) But what’s a little taxi ride for some home-cooking and a cozy dining-room-sized ambience. The new address offers a larger space but the simple yet innovative food remains untouched—as does the warm welcome. The pistachio crusted snapper fillet on nero spaghetti (B395) remains a stand-out. Also, try the spaghetti with crispy bacon (B250) and the oven-roasted pork fillet with garlic and sage wrapped in bacon with a cranberry sauce (B425).
88/12 Kritsana Village, Kanchanapisek Rd., Bang Kruay, 081-921-1920. Open Sat-Sun 12-11pm, 5-11pm; Mon-Fri 5-11pm
The original Silom venue left many customers in shock when it closed its doors. Fortunately, this canteen-like cookshop has reopened at Taling Chan. Despite the trek, the 60-year-old dishes are still just as delicious: a Thai take on Western and Chinese classics, a kind of Vietnamese-era fusion. When you get there opt for one of the four recommended specialties: oxtail stew, shrimp salad, pork chops or stir-fried fish maw. Prices start from B100.
7/4 Borommarachonnanee Soi 59, 087-072-2944. Open daily 10:30am-2:30pm, 5-10pm
This massive beer bar can hold up to 1,500 guests. Inside the brewery, the stage shows and live music are reminiscent of the Tawan Daeng brewery, as are the specialties: Holland-style pork leg (B320), grilled chicken (B220) and sausages (B280). Of course, you’ll be needing lots of Dunkel and Weizen beer for the complete experience.
30/5 Ratchapruek Rd., Pak Kret, 02-195-4671-5. www.hollandbrewery.com. Open daily 6pm-1am
This place not only serves various chocolate desserts, but its warm, brown tones and homey materials, like brick, have a comforting feel that hits you before you even tuck into the recommended chocolate lava (B175), chocolate choux ice (B185) or chocolate French toast (B175). Don’t forget to try their pink lemonade soda (B90).
The Circle, Ratchpruek, 02-863-8673. www.facebook.com/WillysChocolate. Open daily Mon-Fri: 12pm-9pm, Sat-Sun: 12pm-9pm
Located behind community mall The Nine, this restaurant is actually part of a posh residential development. Its garden and large bay windows allow the surrounding greenery to take center stage, making for a countryside experience in the city. Try new dishes like pan-roasted Atlantic salmon with vegetables and white wine dill sauce (B460), soft shell crab with salmon roe mixed lettuce, lime and coriander spicy dressing (B320) and hot green tea chocolate fondant (B210).
99 Rama 9 Soi 41, 02-300-4339. Open Tue-Sun 11am-11pm
With unlimited al fresco dining options from a leafy garden under the stars to graceful pavilions and a terrace overlooking the river, Suanthip’s dreamy garden is booked out for weddings on most weekends. But we also like to swing by for a lunch of lip-smacking traditional Thai food. The house special is kaeng bon (mushroom curry, B250) and kaeng kee lek (B250), a herbal curry served with grilled fish.
Changwattana Pak Kret 3 Rd., 02-583-3748. www.suanthip.com/. Open daily 11am-9pm
This little shop with a diner feel serves up the best New York Cheesecake (B205) in Bangkok. Now if that’s not reason enough for you to visit, you might also want to sample a hearty pastrami sandwich (B279) anf cocoa frappe (B80).
Crystal Design Center, Praditmanutham Rd., 02-102-2065. Open Mon-Fri 10:30am-9pm; Sat-Sun 10:30am-10pm
This self-service café serves Western comfort dishes that work pretty well for a lunch break, as well as grab-and-go options such as liver pate and marinated goat feta. They stick to local produce, with beef, cheese and vegetables sourced from the Royal Projects and almost everything else homemade. Enjoy comforting mainstays like beef stew (B105) and pork balls (B105), pop in early for breakfast dishes like Moroccan baked eggs with onion chutney and bacon (B180), or just bag a chicken tikka sandwich (B110) to go. Drinks include the raspberry lemonade (B80) and Italian soda (B80). They also do gluten-free cakes.
1213/45, Town in Town Place, across Si Wara Soi 4., Praditmanutham Rd., 02-559-2475, 083-015-4555. Open daily 9am-6pm
Beerology aims to bring the imported beer craze to suburbanites with a solid selection of brews. The bar sits somewhere between a typical English pub and a Thai-style watering hole, with its outdoor area dotted with faux-leather stools. Check out the imported draft beers (Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe, Hofbrau and Guinness B210/pint) and bottled drops (B160-280). Or try the bar’s eponymous wheat beer for B160. Hardcore drinkers shouldn’t miss their ongoing beer buffet where B800 gets you unlimited refills from 5pm-midnight (Tue-Thu). They also do food, from the usual pub grub to a range of Thai and Western single dishes (B80-370).
2/F, Crystal Design Center, Praditmanutham Rd., 081-553-1718. Open daily 5pm-midnight
The huge venue, sat right across from The Crystal Park, promises a wide selection of craft beers from all over the world, including some rare beers. Resembling a small town in Belgium, it’s a beer garden with plenty of seats, as well as an old container-cum-stage to one side for daily live entertainment and huge projector screens for the weekend football matches. The decor is all about bare cement, light-colored wooden furnishings and white couches. Adding a little excitement are all the beer-related decorations, which have all the makings of a beer museum. Bavaria, Weienstephan, La Trappe, Hoegaarden, Hoegaarden Rose, Stella Artois and Boddingtons are all available on tap (B230/pint, B120-190/half pint), with over 140 choices by the bottle like Hitachino, Brewdog, St. Bernadus and Chapeau (B200-590). Food includes rolled chicken stuffed with mushroom and bacon (B295), 12-hour slow-cooked lamb shank (B490), black-ink pasta with river prawns (B345) and spicy smoked salmon salad and fruit (B185).
482 Praditmanoontham Rd., 02-515-1232-3. Open daily 4pm-midnight
Haus20 Design & Dine is owned by a member of our fave new electro-rock band, Dot, Anucha “Off“ Ochareon, and a friend, Natchaphan “Ae“ Pisarnkoskul. Set in a four-story building that features a bar, an office for indie label Rat Records, a furniture store and an empty space used to stage gigs, it’s already a rendezvous point for media industry hipsters and starry-eyed indie-loving 20-somethings. Aside from concert nights, the owners’ playlist is a pretty hip mix of new (think Daft Punk) and old (R.E.M. and The Radio Dept). Indulge in beer-friendly dishes like deep-fried chicken wings (B90), which are a bit salty but totally addictive, or the salmon canapé (B180). A basic selection of whiskey is available from Sangsom (B240 for 300ml) to Chivas Regal (B1,300 for 700ml). Or opt for Beerlao (B100-110).
62-64 Lad Phrao Soi 122 (Ramkhamhaeng Soi 65), 085-162-2111. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-1am
Since the owner grew up in Nong Khai, the menu reflects his Isaan heritage. But it’s also been combined with a taste for Vietnamese food in dishes like the recommended nam nuong (Vietnamese sausage, B150). Other highlights include the guay jub yuan (Vietnamese noodles, B70) which is a thick, gooey delight, too.
174/479 Soi Sena, Phahon Yothin Soi 32, 02-578-0532. www.nongkhaipasu.com. Open daily 9am-9pm
Tucked away in the far-flung Thanya Shopping Park, this restaurant is decorated with modern Chinese accents. With a chef flown in from Macau, expect expert Cantonese cuisine, including a variety of dim sum stuffed with lava cream and salted egg (B85), fried prawn with salted egg (B500) and more.
G/F, Thanya Shopping Park, Srinakarin Rd., 02-108-6055. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 5-9pm; Sat-Sun 11am-9pm
Despite the curios and framed illustrations, this Vietnamese restaurant décor is nothing to write home about. What is worth adding to your Instagram feed, though, is the tasty food served here. Recommend dishes include the baked beef (B180) and nam nuong (Vietnamese sausage, B190).
68 Bangna Soi 66, Near Ratwinit Bangkaew School, 02-740-2166. www.facebook.com/NamBangna. Open Mon-Fri 7am-10pm; Sat-Sun 9am-10pm
Although this place may come across as just another shabby cookshop, it is a stellar Thai seafood restaurant. Home style recipes such as stir-fried shrimp with salted egg (B180), stir-fried spotted Babylon sea snails with basil and fingerroot (B180) and stir-fried crab meat with chili (B300) just burst with flavor—and are always fresh.
19/1 Lasalle Soi 79, 02-361-6522. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-9:30pm
Sure, it’s a long drive but this restaurant, situated just minutes from the Suvanabhumi Airport, cooks up some amazing seafood. Try the spicy papaya salad with salmon (B250) and the grilled fish with special Japanese soy sauce and grilled garlic (B470). You can choose to sit on the moored boat or stick to the numerous salas if you’re a land lubber. Whether the passing jets flying over your head at five-minute intervals are an added bonus or a deal breaker, we’ll leave up to you.
88/11 King Kaew Road, District Bangplee, 02-738-4811. Open daily 4pm-midnight
Way out on the edge of Bangkok, Amatissimo is hidden behind the huge Paradise Park mall. Here, the owner brews his own coffee in an industrial-meets-vintage space. His cappuccino (B65), made from his own blend, stands up as a solid cup of Joe. But perhaps the real reason you should seek the place out is for the yummy pastries like the passion fruit tart (B75). Try it with the siphon coffee, too, if you’re feeling a bit geeky.
127, Seri Villa Soi 3 (Behind Paradise Park), Srinakarin Rd., 085-482-9977, 081-898-0070. Open daily 9am-8pm
Breizh Crepes is basically an outdoor food stall with seating. And yet, it is the only place in town that uses the traditional way of making savory crepes, using buckwheat flour. They also use this great fresh goat cheese that’s both tart and nutty (Corsica, B149, three-cheese, B149). As for the sweet crepes, they’re just about perfect; we recommend the one with salted butter caramel cream, almonds and whipped cream (B119)—delicious.
Room Bldg. B, 2/F, Thanya Shopping Park, 735/2 Sri Nakarin Rd., 02-108-6090. Open daily 10am-9pm
Boxy modernist architecture, bare cement, wooden crates used as stools: this bar might be far from downtown but it’s definitely following all the same trends. The drinks list included imported beers along with local ones, as well as sheesha. Soak it all up with regular or Japanese-inspired snacks like chicken wings fried in fish sauce (B110), shrimp in wasabi sauce (B150), or salmon and wasabi salad (B220). Of course, cover bands provide the soundtrack to your evening.
17 Seree Villa Soi 2, Srinakarin Rd., 081-449-9358. Open daily 5:30pm-1am
How did your fight against the system begin?
I was always a good boy in my school, Nawaminthrachinuthit Triam Udomsuksa Pattanakarn, and hardly ever got punished. But I saw a lot of my friends getting very harsh reprimands. Being publicly ridiculed in front of not only your classmates but in front of the entire school is torture for a lot of people. Getting your head shaved because your hair grew half a centimeter during the week is absurd. Our hair grows. We cannot help it. Some parents can’t take us every day to get it trimmed. Why do they want us to all look alike? We are all different and should be allowed to show our uniqueness. Appearances aside, students only learn by rote and then vomit it back out on their exam paper. They don’t actually learn anything in the process. So I took advantage of being a writer in my school’s newsletter to get my viewpoints across when I was in the 8th grade.
Did you get in trouble?
The principal at my school could not tolerate my writing, so I decided to change schools. But my marks were too low for the schools I wanted to join; and my parents could not afford to send me abroad or even to an international school. Home schooling was never an option because I wanted to be in the Thai education system and be able to rant about it and hopefully bring about change.
You have a lot of followers, but what about haters?
Believe it or not, I have never had anyone come up to me personally to abuse me regarding the student movement. Of course, on my Facebook page, I often see a lot of negative comments with people cursing my family and wanting to burn my house down; but I simply ignore most of them. I do not pay attention to them. I have more than 10,000 followers. I don’t have time for the haters.
What do you wish to achieve?
What have rules and regulations in schools brought to Thai people? Are we advancing in any way? What good has this education system done for us? I don’t see anything. I want to not only reduce the strictness level in schools but I want to elaborate on changing the way Thais think. Teachers are supposed to be the ones who help us make a brighter future for ourselves. They’re not here to order us around. Thai schools need better interaction between students and teachers.
What are your future plans?
I am still very unsure about whether I want to pursue my bachelor’s degree here or abroad. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to study here, actually. There are many things I want to be in my life but primarily I think I want to become an activist for all the right causes.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/Thailandstudentmovement or his personal page, http://ow.ly/nj5C3
Has it always been your dream to get into acting?
Growing up on sets and being surrounded by actors definitely made me want to be a part of the industry. Lights, camera and action—I know that’s where I belong. I always knew I was going to get into acting, not only because of my father and his love of cinema, but because I enjoy it personally. It’s a great, fun-filled profession.
Do you want to be the next comedy king like your father?
It’s always a great feeling when someone walks up to me and asks me if I’m Mum Jokmok’s son and takes a picture with me. I definitely want to make it bigger than my father but not in comedy. Comedies are fun to make but I guess I’m just fonder of other types of films. I am more interested in making a name for myself in action and horror films.
What are your favorite pastimes?
I like to design t-shirts as a hobby, but aside from that I’m a movie addict. I watch all sorts of films—American, French, Thai or Chinese, I watch them all. I prefer to watch movies with drama and crime-related plots. At home I am also called “Kam Phan” (Isaan name) just like in Yam Yasothorn because I keep on begging for money to splurge on movies. My all-time favorite has got to be Léon: The Professional, an English-language French action thriller.
Do you like to watch your father’s movies?
No. He is definitely my role model but I do not like to watch his movies. I prefer to see movies like Cherm (2005) and Umong Pa Mueng (2010) where he isn’t doing a comic role but instead playing a role far removed from his usual genre, such as romance or drama.
What are your future plans?
I am currently working on the release of my first hip hop mix tape. It is sort of underground because it has a lot of foul language. There will be a new rap mix every month. More than satisfying my passion for music, I want to get Thai people more acquainted with hip hop and that can only happen if Thais create good hip hop music. I really hope to be able to make this genre more popular here.
How will you manage to balance both your studies and your career?
I always make my decisions with the guidance of my family. My father helps me in doing the right thing. I have been doing private studies, thus I don’t have many friends to distract me from my goal. I’m currently completing my GED studies and will soon start my college hunt.