Siri, find me a new pal in Bangkok!
Adapted from source: @pppringleee
We’ve all done the coffee-shop walk of shame in Bangkok. You know the one – where individuals hop their way from one cafe to another, eagerly checking off names on a carefully curated list. The everlasting drudgery of Sex And The City has wired our brains into thinking that a 4G connection and a swish café are all we need to get through the day.
But our carefully selected ragbag of work-out cafés, cooking studios and arts restaurants will make you play your wildcard and exit your comfort iPhone zone. Bring out a friendly attitude, fire up your vim and vigour and get your sporty pants ready for action – whether you want to burn your calories through indoor climbing or paint your political frustrations out, Bangkok has it all!
1. Brush up your creative skills at Paintbar Bangkok
Having had one of the most politically tumultuous years in decades, it is no wonder that we all look forward to painting together a brighter future – literally this time! Paintbar is an art-ambient locale masterfully combining painting classes with the art of chugging down a cold pint of craft beer (฿240). In order to fuel your creativity and charm your taste buds, you can order a platter of finger-licking tapas, such as meatballs or liver pate for only ฿120 per portion.
The S-factor, as in sociable, is nowhere more prevalent than here – for 2.5 hours you can paint your feelings away on an easel-supported canvas with a friendly instructor on hand to guide you through the process. Whether your interests lie in being painted by an artsy Titanic-style Jack or just sharing your creative efforts with like-minded individuals, Paintbar is the place to beat for social bonanza!
Address: 6/F, Piman 49, 46/4 Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok, Thailand
BTS Station: Phrom Phong
Opening hours: Tue – Sun, from 2 pm to 10:30 pm
Afternoon Session: 2:30pm – 5:00pm
Evening Session: 7:30pm – 10:00pm
Price: ฿799 per session, all painting material included
2. Immerse yourself in art at The Jam Factory
An upscale trendsetting warehouse decked out in monochromatic nuances, The Jam Factory is a riverside lifestyle compound comprising of elegant restaurants, a funky café, an art gallery and a minimalist bare-bone bookshop, among other adjacent wings. The buzzword here is lifestyle as this meticulously designed compound is a veritable urban bolthole for sophisticated locals and out-of-towners who come here to collectively enjoy an indie vibe.
The crowds are radiantly young, sexy and ready to jam the night away – given the multitude of live concerts in the ample outdoor area. Chic young artists and designers hobnob and showcase their exhibitions in the art gallery area which is a social magnet for people with a demonstrated flair for looking voguish and confident as hell!
Address: 41/1-5 The Jam Factory, Charoennakorn Rd., Khlong San, Bangkok
Opening Hours: Daily, from 11 am to 8 pm
3. Become an indie film buff at Friese-Greene Club
To those of you who may have happened to graduate in film studies – myself included – this nostalgia-imbued private house is reminiscent of the good old university days. Opened by Paul Spurrier, a local film director, the quirky petite three-storey club caters to filmmakers and cinema aficionados who rub elbows and reels over a cheap beer or glass of wine (starting at ฿90 per drink). You can even order delivery pizza from just across the road!
The highly intimate and down-home décor, dominated by a metal spiral staircase leading up to a Netflix-worthy mezzanine, classic movie posters and vintage film cameras, makes for a wonderful early-film-era night. The classic movie period and American independent cinema rarely promoted anywhere else in Thailand barely provide hints of the offerings here in this utterly off-the-beaten-track gem.
Address: 259/6 Sukhumvit Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Tan, Khet Khlong Toei, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
BTS: Phrom Phong
Opening hours: Tue – Sat, from 6 pm to 11 pm. Reservations should be made in advance, although drop-ins are just as fine.
4. Morph into a super athlete – Rockin’ Jump
If you have ever wondered how it feels like to perform a gravity-defying double layout half à la Simone Biles or execute a perfect slam dunk à la LeBron James, now the wait is over! And when bouncing becomes too much of a fun thing, the lounge area including an elegant café and a TV is a great place for sipping on cup of coffee.
While Rockin’ Jump considerably advertises to families with kids in tow, they welcome everyone who wishes to jump on the new trendy bandwagon of working out. The capacious trampoline area is divided into four main sections that will let you choose from freestyle jumping, dodgeball games, foam-pit dives and trampoline basketball games.
Address: 428 Ratchadaphisek Rd, Khwaeng Chong Nonsi, Khet Yan Nawa, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
Mon – Fri, from 2 pm to 8 pm
Sat – Sun, from 10 am to 8 pm
Price: From ฿350 for a 60-minute jump session/person, mandatory provided socks at ฿95/person
5. Scale those heights at Rock Domain Climbing Gym
Chances are you won’t get your hands all powdered up just to enjoy an invigorating cold drink here, but their bijou café is nonetheless a welcome addition to the gym facilities. Rock Domain is Thailand’s largest and most prestigious indoor climbing gym where experienced climbers happily show the ropes to avid first-timers.
From bouldering to lead climbing, this place is so conducive to social interaction that you will almost neglect to post all the fun on Instagram. If you get hooked up on this abs-defining sport, you can take a look at their on-site shop supplying professional kits and book a flight to Asia’s number one rock climbing spot – Krabi, the real deal!
Address: 1780 Bangna-trad road, Tiew Hong Bang Na, Bangkok
Getting there: Take the BTS to Udom Suk and then a 20-minute taxi ride.
Mon – Fri, from 11 am to 10 pm
Sat, from 10 am to 10 pm
Sun, from 11 am to 9 pm
Price: A Day Pass is ฿400, rental equipment not included
6. Video game with atas burgers at Game Over Lounge
Once upon a time, when Siri was being cooked up in Apple’s labs and social media was ludicrously limited to MySpace, playing video games with your peers didn’t actually rank you up to a social guru status. How times have changed! Game Over Lounge impresses with a modern funky décor while offering console and PC games without neglecting to pander to old-timers with a modish pool table and board games.
Should you have a beef with your game partner over your competitive streaks, take a little timeout with the most famous and appetising beef burgers in Thailand signed by Daniel Thaigler. Video gaming has never looked more inviting, sexier and tastier than here – and might we add a huge dose of S-factor and beer!
Address: 1000/39 Liberty Plaza, Sukhumvit 55 (Thong Lo), N. Klongton, Wattana, Bangkok
Opening hours: Tue – Sat, from 11 am to 2 am
Price: ฿500 for a one-day video game membership, ฿200 – ฿300 for burgers and other dishes
7. Get on board at More Than A Game Café
Be a real hipster! Switch from digital to analog and swap Pokémon Go, or whatever version may come next, for a bygone era of having fun – the not-so-boring board games! An idea brought to life by American Robert Mullarky, Bangkok’s largest board game café prides itself on creating a propitious environment for socialising and enhancing cognitive abilities through performance play or merely a serious dose of fun.
While your brains are worked out on an IQ treadmill, for the most part of the games you remain quite sedentary. So make sure you won’t overindulge in their meta-humanly irresistible Chocolate Fondue (฿165) dripping with real Swiss deliciousness or the taste-buds-melting Yanangi Mushrooms Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese Sandwich (฿95). Don’t tell us you haven’t been warned when you get back on the real treadmill!
Address: Thonglor 13 Branch – Soi Sukhumvit 49/4 (Soi Akkharaphat) Khlong Tan Nuea, Bangkok
Mon – Fri, from 11 am to 9 pm
Sat – Sun, from 10 am to 9 pm
8. Cook with the stars – Issaya Cooking Studio
Thailand’s first celebrity chef, Ian Kittichai, is some sort of a Ramsey Gordon in the Land of Smiles – but with fewer high horses. Issaya’s state-of-the-art culinary education and demonstration centre offers classes on molecular cuisine and other gastronomic wonders taught by world-acclaimed chefs, including Ian. His studio is a magnet for epicureans and gourmets from all walks of life, who simply love learning and sharing their skills or otherwise shoot for the stars.
When intimate dining calls for it, the ample elegant facility converts into a chef’s table and you can enjoy together the products and delectable results of your sweat-forged learning. If you’re itching for a more traditional restaurant layout, Issaya La Patisserie located at the 5th floor of the same shopping complex serves many dishes and desserts created in the upscale culinary studio.
9. Flex your muffin top – Yogi’s Spicy
Toning your muscles and tuning your chakra before a copious meal has never been more fun than at Roots 8 Yoga Studio’s! Divided into 2 large rooms and catering to students of all backgrounds and experience levels, the studio is led by Indian yoga mentor Vivek Singh. The lack of air-con combined with the intensive teachings of two young instructors is what really makes women, and men alike, really break a sweat here.
Adjacent to the studio is a bare bones unsophisticated restaurant, Yogi’s Spicy, serving delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. For connoisseurs and yogis, some of the courses include Hatha, Ashtanga, Alignment, and Flow Vinyasa with prices starting from ฿3,900 per 12 classes. For the rest of us, a free pre-booked session on Saturdays or a ฿500 drop-in session are always a welcome alternative!
10. Heat up the dance floor at La Rueda
Everyone dreams away at some sangre caliente (passionate blood) every once in a while or when we bust our best moves in the shower! La Rueda Latin Club and Bar can take those innate dormant talents of yours and shape them up to master some of the most seductive dances on the planet – Salsa, Bachata and Argentine Tango, among other genres!
Ay-ah-yay, with custom-designed classes for groups or private sessions the laid-back yet passion-charged vibes will bring out your inner Enrique Iglesias. When this Latin-style social interaction might become a bit too daunting, your hips won’t lie when they nudge you for a well-deserved cocktail break. You can join the fun just by buying a drink but if you wish to brush up your rusty skills, a one-hour drop-in session is priced at ฿500.
Address: Soi Sukhumvit 18, Khwaeng Khlong Toei, Khet Khlong Toei, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
Opening hours: Tue, Wed, Thurs, Sat, from 8 pm to 1 am.
Price: Each evening features a different dance style and an 8-hour course starts from ฿3,200.
Best Bangkok places to pal around
Setting the ball rolling with new friends can sometimes prove to be a tad challenging! But when you have the right environment even the most unlikely friendships can be forged. Bangkok is a city that never shies away from bringing people together in bizarre yet action-packed situations.
Take full advantage of the plethora of superb social eateries in Bangkok and expand your Facebook friends’ list. You know you haven’t added new acquaintances to your list in a long time and that will make your other friends question your social reputation. Now is your time to shine bright – at least as a social media guru!