Groovy Thonglor, Bangkok

GROOVY GUIDE: Neighborhood          Created: 02/2022

Thonglor, Bangkok 

By Aaron Frankel

I spent all my childhood on Sukhumvit Road, most of it on Soi 53, part of the Thonglor Area.  Yes, I do wish my parents bought a place back then…

I’m the Founder of Groovy Map, was raised in Thailand, and after trying my hand twisting balloons as a street performer in San Francisco, returned home (Bangkok) and founded my first company, in advertising, to pay the rent.


Place Name  [bold] followed by description, and end with price expectations

$= Cheap as chips

$$ = Good value

$$$ = Dining out pricing

$$$$ = Time for the credit card and blindfold!


To do this, you simply open Google Map, find the place in search, and in the header, you will find “Share.”  Choose “copy to clipboard” and paste it in.  Done!

GROOVY DINING (alphabetical, not by preference)

The Commons (upmarket hawker stalls) The wealthy and aspiring head here to Vogue (look fabulous), hang out on the stepped terraces, and pretend to work at their startup.  Grab a green tea mocha, a Lobster sandwich, and a bench. $$$


Thong Lo 17 Alley

Da Vino Bangkok (Italian) My favorite for long lunches, owner Roberto likes to show off his “from Italy” catches, and you would be wrong not to follow his advice if you can afford it.  It’s not easy competing with hundreds of other Italian places with more flash, but none has more heart. Don’t forget lunch menus are always the best deals. $$$

Near Thong Lo 14 Alley

Little Home Bakery (mostly Thai)  My kids and I have come to this place for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it appeals on many levels, with pancakes and Thai curry, Northern Khao Soy, whitewashed decor and comfortable booth seating. Although intended as a franchise idea forty plus years ago, this is one of the few survivors. $$

Little Home Bakery Thong Lor

Between Soi 23 and 25 Thong Lo

Mother May I Kitchen (gardenside dining, Thai and Western, dessert) A charming Thai wooden house serves as the host, but the star is the luxuriant garden, with old trees and water features.  The food standard is pretty good too. $$$

Mother May I Kitchen

Ekkamai 10 Alley

Roast (All day breakkie, intl) perched above a trendy, up-market “community space,” the food is excellent quality, tasty, and hits the spot. My favorite brunch venue too. $$$


Also Emquartier location:

Took La Dee (Thai, Intl) Building its business around Foodland supermarket customers, don’t expect luxury, but a menu that doubles as a table mat, quickly served (good) food, and the best air-con prices in expensive Thonglor.

Situated in a luxury mini-mall, this is a hidden gem in a sea of overpriced pariahs. $-$$



AINU Bar (hi-so) Most nights some Ferrari, Lambo or other exotica is parked out front, so you understand what clientele frequent this joint.  If you don’t have an expense account or Trust Fund, skip it.

100m North of Thong Lo 5 Alley

I’m too old to be seen at ATMOS, but if you’re young, sexy, good looking, or just want to luxuriate in that kind of feel good, “thanks for the card Ma,” – you know where to go.

On the Southwestern corner of Thong Lo 10 Alley


GROOVY THINGS TO DO (at least 5)

Conkey’s (bakery)  With a nice little garden, and hot cappuccino in hand, you can visualize the way life was decades ago in Thai homes like this.  My mother would never rent a house without a garden and a pond when I was growing up (50 years ago).  How could you entertain in anything less!? 

Most weekends it gets busy, and the owners are happy to cut and heat up their bakery offerings, and let you sit and enjoy the garden.  $$

Ekkamai 22 Alley/Pridi Banomyong 41 Alley

Holey Mothership (bakery, cafe),  My favorite place “in the area” (but not technically Thonglor) to burn a few hours, hang at their “bakery bar” or just enjoy the cozy and cool space at this very real bakery (you can see the machines and people in action).  They also serve all day brunch and lunch items, all very good, but pricey for the food, not the bakery items. My favorite sourdough in the city.  $$$

Farther afield in Pridi Banomyong 14, but worth the wander

“Postage Stamp Park” (Vadhana Pocket Park) is a tiny place to breathe, for a Thong Lo break. Made by filling a stinking canal that is still visible across the street, somehow the city planners made this into a little day park. It’s too hot to come here except for mornings and evenings, and it resembles a postage stamp, so don’t expect to jog or even walk (just sit or take pictures).   

Vadhana Pocket Park

100m East of Thong Lo 10 and Thong Lo Road intersection

Take a Boat Ride  At the North end of Thonglor, just under the bridge is the Klong San Sap pier of the same name.  For less than $1, you can drift as far West as the Grand Palace, and Northeast to Ramkhamhaeng university and beyond.  Think of these boats as the original mass transit system, as they were before buses and the skytrain/subway came along.  Bangkok was called the “Venice of the East” a century ago for a reason, before all the canals were filled in to make roads.

Canal Walk - This ain’t Venice or Amsterdam, so don’t expect beautiful views along this fetid canal, but it still showcases some of the riverside community (to the East) that made up part of Bangkok’s past. And  it shows, that nearby million dollar condos live an entire slum community, living  of less than $15/day.   

The residents of these low-income houses are very nice, and if you are up to it, there can be had some nice Thai dishes in the back streets between the homes.


Although shophouses and cafes line Thong Lo, it is surprising bereft of shopping venues.  Eight is a nice exception with 40+ shops, including the reasonable Foodland Supermarket and Paul’s Bakery (from France). 

Eight Thong Lo

Thong Lo 8 Alley



Let’s Relax Onsen and Spa (spa) It has taken them a decade to build their reputation but deserved it is.  Leave your worries at the door and luxuriate in good hands. $$$$

Panipa (salon for everything)  If you have a few hours to be pampered, this is the place to indulge in inexpensive luxury.  Treated like a Queen you will be, with hand and food attendants eager to earn little tips of 20 Baht (bring a few green notes). Your bill will add up in this conveyor belt for the beauty queen in us all.  Men welcome too.  Prices start at only 280 Baht for a manicure. $$$


Note: Limited parking, but they have a small parking lot almost opposite the salon. 


OTHER TIPS (optional)

A note on English-language spelling.  Sadly, although all prior maps, books, and businesses have been using “Thonglor” as the English spelling translation, the authorities gave “Thong Lo” to Google, so henceforth that’s the spelling…   Same shit with “Silom” road/area which is spelled “Si Lom” now for the BTS mass transit and by the city.  There are many more, like “Don Muang” airport which was spelled like that for 70 years, until after the coup to unset the Shinawatras, the military government  changed it to “Don Mueang” as though that’s an easier spelling, and worth the cost of changing hundreds of signs at the airport and elsewhere. 

Ok, a poor complaint, but necessary to tell you so you know that Thong Lo and Thonglor is the same street. 

Parking on Thonglor is problematic and expensive, so if you can get here by BTS and/or taxi, do it. 

The nearest BTS SkyTrain station is “Thong Lo” 

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