Saphan Khwai

29 01 2012

Saphan Khwai is a little-discussed neighbourhood in Bangkok, wedged between the higher-profile Ari with its glitzy “in” restaurants and the monster that is Chatuchak. But over the last week, while I have been staying here, I have quietly come to love the place. It is a very down-to-earth Thai neighbourhood. It is also super-lively. The two main drags, along Pradiphat Road and Phaloyothin are home to bustling, and exotic, street markets selling food, amulets, wooden carvings, old magazines and paper backs, cheap batik-print clothes for grandmothers from the provinces (I bought some shorts), flowers and even Arabian-style shoes –  all kinds of other wonderful things, all dirt cheap.

On weekends the stretch of road outside the local post office becomes an amulet market, dedicated to the sale of magical talismans and divine images. From here, a few blocks north brings you to a cluster of hippie-ish middleaged men with long hair and feathers in their headbands selling statues of Buddha next to Jar Jar Binks, army surplus gear, and bones and horns.


In addition, there are old-skool open-fronted Thai “mom and pop” stores, filled with unbelievable clutter – rubber crocodiles and bronze busts, statues of gods, old calendars from the 80s, Blu-ray players…

There is also a 50 baht (less than US1.50) retro cinema:


..and a pair of grand dame retro hotels, the Liberty Garden and the less flamboyant but equally old fashioned “Pradiphat Hotel”:

Plus, I was surprised to find, something of a local gay scene, with the subway and Skytrain and Chatuchak market and its adjacent park all within a fifteen minute walk. Its a great place to stay if you want to get a slightly more “local” slice of Bangkok life.



One response

28 10 2012

are you aware the cinema you mention in this artical is a suck cinema ??
i tell you that from experiance, and as you say well worth the 50 baht

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