Soi Rambuttri

Step Away from Khao San onto the Sunnier Side of the Street

    Soi Rambuttri runs parallel to Khao San, but despite being located close by, these 2 streets are different worlds. Rambuttri gives you a taste of how Bangkok used to look before all the skyscrapers arrived. Leafy banyan trees shade the sidewalks and the vibe sways more towards local than backpacker, despite a number of them now choosing to stay here rather than on the famous street itself.

    Rambuttri is Khao San's more attractive, well-behaved brother. The entire horseshoe-shaped road takes around 30 minutes to walk along. This street has a great mix of guesthouses, restaurants, bars and street food stalls. Most of the shops are similar to those you find elsewhere in the area selling the usual T-shirts, books and other tourist trinkets.

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    Soi Rambuttri

    The road curves around Wat Chana Songkhram and as you walk along, the golden rooftops of the temple pop up above a hotel and you can sneak a peek at the monk's quarters down the alleyways. If you follow the road all the way around you will end up at what looks like a dead end. Never fear, you can cut through the second floor of the restaurant at the end, the waiters are happy to show you the way.

    At night, colorful paper lanterns light up Rambuttri and the bars come alive – in fact, the further you get away from Khao San, the less commercial it feels. A whole section of Rambuttri is now dedicated to street bars once night falls.

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    Bombay Blues

    This pretty Indian restaurant is tucked along Soi Rambuttri towards Chao Fah Road and is a favorite with locals and visitors. Take off your shoes and relax back in their sumptuous cushions, this place is all about deep-red velvet and silk. There's a great choice on the menu with amazing mutton curries, homemade rotis and naan bread.

    If you’re not hungry, sit outside on the terrace enjoying a jug of beer and a shisha pipe. On Saturdays, Bangkok Blues plays host to local Indians who are more than happy to teach you some Bollywood dancing steps. This is a great value place for a romantic date or a low-key supper.

    Location: Soi Rambuttri, Chao Fa Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 5pm to 2am

    Phone: +66 (0)95 520 1515

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    Madame Musur

    Great cocktails and yummy Northern Thai food are served at this jungle restaurant. Try the house cocktail named after the place: a twist on a mojito with Thai-style liquor, lie back in your wicker chair surrounded by greenery and listen to the gentle hum of the street. Northern-style sausage and deep-fried dried pork make great beer snacks and the specials board is displayed on a vintage rickshaw outside. Whether you're alone, in a pair or even part of a group, this bar and restaurant offers blissful respite from the busy streets of Bangkok.

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

    Open: Daily from 8am to midnight

    Phone: +66 (0)2 2814238

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    Street food

    All along Rambuttri there's amazing street food. As you walk along the street during the day the stallholders are preparing the dishes, chopping vegetables, barbequing chicken, and wrapping spring rolls. There is a variety of places from carts to sit-down restaurants. Use the international language of pointing and try something other than phad Thai.

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    Street bars

    Grab a beer with ice or a cocktail from one of the pop-up bars and pull up a seat with the locals. The best place to try is along the back of the temple where you can hear some great live music and a friendly and cheerful atmosphere. These places don’t tend to get busy until after 11pm though. You can also find a couple of the amazing decorated car bars on Rambuttri – a VW campervan and a songtaew.

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    Massage

    Getting tired? This wouldn't be Bangkok if there wasn't a massage parlor on every corner and here they take the experience outside. Check out one of the many cushioned-covered deck chairs and smiling masseurs and masseuses keen to help with your tired feet and sore shoulders. Not only will you feel like your troubles have melted away, but the street-side location is also perfect to watch the world go by – if you can keep your eyes open, that is. These healing hands can be found all along Rambuttri.

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    Wat Chana Songkhram

    Once you step inside this temple compound you get a taste of a genuine working place of worship. You can easily spend an hour walking around the grounds, peering into the classrooms, admiring the murals and gazing up at the monks meditating in the windows of their lodgings.

    Entry is free and the only people who seem to visit are locals, which makes a great change from a lot of the temples in the area. Remember to dress appropriately – clothes should cover your shoulders and legs above the knee.

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

    Open: Every day from 6am to 6pm

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    photo by Supanut Arunoprayote (CC BY 4.0) modified

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    The National Gallery

    Indulge your arty side on the corner of Rambuttri and Chao Fah. The permanent collection can seem a little dry and dusty but have a look at some of the works painted by the reigning monarch, especially the brilliantly colored oils he did in the 1960s. There are some great modern statues in the grounds and the temporary exhibitions (housed in a separate gallery in the garden) are usually interesting and give you more of an idea about Thai art.

    Location: 4 Chao Fa Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 9am to 4pm (closed on Monday and Tuesday)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 281 2224

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    photo by Mr.Sayompoo Setabhrahmana (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

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