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Latest update: 8 November 2023

When a friend asks me if I could, hypothetically, live in Bangkok for a year, I have serious doubts. However, when I end up in the Ari district, the answer is a resounding yes! Check out my tips for Ari in Bangkok.

The Ari district in Bangkok

Ari is an upcoming neighborhood in Bangkok. Most travel guides have yet to discover it. Let’s keep it like that! I start and end my yoga trip on Koh Phangan with a stay in Ari, and I could have easily spent a few more days. There’s still so much to eat here!

Ari in Bangkok is a bit of upscale, hipster Thailand. On the street, I mainly see Thai people walking around; there are dozens of food stalls, and I stumble across the hip coffee shops. Ari is not a place for the most imposing sights. I’ve found that only the dog cafes can pass for landmarks. In Ari, you come for the laidback vibe and to eat… A LOT. Whether you are looking for Thai street food, good Italian, or rather typical Mexican food, in Bangkok’s Ari, you’ve come to the right place.

Coffee cafes in Ari

Obviously, there is a Starbucks in Ari, but why go there when you have so many more options?

Bangkok Espresso Bar

Tucked away in a side street that even Google Maps struggles to find is my favorite coffee spot in Ari. Behind the rusted steel door is Bangkok Espresso Bar. It is small and industrially furnished, with some details such as books and stuffed butterflies. The coffee is fantastic. No sugar is needed! The taste is excellent.

Google Maps location

Porcupine Café

A Matcha Latte, a cheesecake, or a homemade iced tea? You’re in the right place at Porcupine. Also pretty good for breakfast and lunch. The most important, of course, is the coffee. You order at the bar and then take your time to chill out. Take a breather in the air conditioning, or map out your travel plans. To ensure this is a hipster place, they’ve put the obligatory bicycle in the cafe, and many people hide behind their MacBooks.

Google Maps location

White Rabbit Café

The White Rabbit Café can be recognized by the logo with the white rabbit; how else, right? This coffee cafe in Ari is spacious. You can get a sandwich, but the focus is mainly on coffee, other non-alcoholic drinks, and ice cream or cake. I especially recommend the White Rabbit Café for a quick pit stop.

Google Maps location

Street food and food court in Ari

There are more street food stalls on the road than you can count. You can eat 24/7, especially in the streets Soi Ari 1 and Phahon Yothin 7 Alley. Try the food court A-One Ari, also on Soi Ari 1, both during the day and in the evening. There is a coffee shop, a Mexican cafe, a burger stand… so something for everyone. Sometimes there is also live music at A-One Ari.

Google Maps location

Bangkok Ari restaurants

In the evening, even more hotspots in Ari suddenly appear. The restaurants slowly open their doors from about five o’clock.

Cantina Wine Bar & Italian Kitchen

Cantina is an excellent Italian restaurant in Bangkok, Ari. It has two floors, and reservations are a must. We don’t actually want to eat pizza, but upon arrival, it turns out that you get 2 pizzas for the price of 1 on Wednesday. OK, sold! The menu is extensive and typically Italian, and so is the decor. There are hundreds of wine bottles for decoration and plenty of wine to drink. Cantina offers regular live music. The restaurant is a good choice for lengthy dining evenings.

Google Maps location

Pizza and wine in Bangkok at Cantina

Ari Recipe

Ari Recipe is a Japanese restaurant at the JOSH hotel. When I step inside, it feels like entering a living room. A Japanese one, of course. The restaurant has a wooden floor and an open design with many Japanese elements. The service is fast, and the food ends up on the table quickly. Sushi, dumplings, and rice bowls: Japanese comfort food.

Update 2023: I’m not entirely sure if it’s still open.

Google Maps location

Bars in Ari

Ari also has plenty to offer in the later hours. There are lots of nice bars for an evening drink.

Frank Mansion

At Frank Mansion, you can enjoy live music with your drink. Via the stairs, I enter a space that I can best describe as a loft. A concrete floor, maps on the wall, and red leather: nicely done! The staff seems quite surprised that Western guests have found their way here. Unfortunately, the combination of loud music and a waitress who speaks practically no English results in getting the wrong drinks. The wait staff isn’t willing to change the drinks, so that’s a bit weird. You can also dine at Frank Mansion, by the way. Then the music is probably less loud.

Google Maps location

Frank Mansion in Bangkok

The Key Room No. 72

A secret bar! That sounds good. At the reception of the JOSH hotel, I ask for the key of The Key Room No. 72. Nothing to see from the outside, and once inside, my eyes have to get used to how dark it is. I find myself in a speakeasy from the 1920s. The bartenders have greased their hair, steamed their waistcoats, and rolled up the sleeves of their white blouses to show off their tattoos. It’s cozy and classy, and the cocktails are super tasty. Since when are hotel bars so much fun?

Google Maps location

Dog cafes in Ari

Well, this is a separate category. You will find several dog cafes in Bangkok, some in Ari. But, let’s face it, you don’t go there for the good coffee or great red velvet cake: you come for the dogs.

True Love

True Love is Bangkok’s husky cafe, and you must buy a ticket. It will cost you 500 Baht, allowing you to play with the dogs for an hour (along with many other people). You also get two drinks and can order a piece of ice cream cake. Make sure to get your ticket in the morning as it is very popular, especially among Asians. The box office opens at 10.30am, and you can buy a ticket for the same day for the 12.30 or 3.30pm session. The sooner you get there, the better the table you get.

Google Maps location

Dog in Town

Dog in Town is actually a regular café, but with dogs. You have to pay an entrance fee to get inside. I got there just before closing time, so I decided to skip it. I can see from the outside mainly a large lawn and a building with a lot of light-colored wood and plants inside. If you go there, let me know how it was. I am very curious!

Google Maps location

Stay in Ari, Bangkok

Do you want to spend the night in Ari? Then I have two recommendations for you: the Yard hostel and JOSH hotel. They are both in the center of Ari, so you sleep within walking distance of all the restaurants, cafes, and bars above.

Sleeping in a hotel in Ari: JOSH hotel

The JOSH hotel has 71 private rooms. The rooms are pretty small, but they have done their best on those few square meters. The bed is good, the styling is lovely, and the shower is nice and warm. At breakfast, you get a small menu from which you can order something and a buffet to satisfy the rest of your hunger. Nothing fancy, just simple and filling.

The JOSH hotel in Bangkok earns bonus points with all the extras. For example, there is a secret bar called The Key Room No. 72 (ask for the key at the reception), a nice swimming pool with a small bar, an ice cream shop (very Instagrammable: I constantly see Asian girls posing with their ice cream), a restaurant and a cinema room.

Book at Booking.com.

Sleeping in a hostel in Ari: The Yard Hostel

The Yard Hostel in Bangkok is also an excellent option. It’s a relaxed hostel with a garden where you can get your breakfast (a bit small, but made with love), read a book, meet other travelers, and have a drink at the bar. The Yard is a succession of sea containers, which are the interior spaces. There are both dormitories and private rooms. I have a private room, and the space is used well: a second floor has been made in the container so that there is room for the bed above the shower. Everything is nice and light and modern. Fun details have been added everywhere, such as typewriters, license plates, and paintings. So yes, hipster-approved.

The Yard Hostel is very service-oriented; you can leave your luggage here for up to two months, they will wake you up in the morning if you want, use the bicycles for free, and refill your water bottle for free. Right outside, you will find small cafes where you can enjoy a burger or a drink.

Book at Booking.com.

Frankly, this list is far from complete. There is much more to eat and drink in Ari. I’ve put the tips that I’ve mentioned in Google Maps for you, plus a few extras that I still need to get around to.

More Thailand inspiration

  • Accommodation. All-time favorite: Booking.com. Would you rather stay in a hostel? Check Hostelworld.
  • Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator. Another good option is WithLocals. There are ‘free’ walking tours available at Freetour.com and GuruWalk, and for bike tours, try Baja Bikes.
  • Attractions and museums. At Tiqets, you’ll find tickets for museums and attractions – and get a 5% discount with coupon code KIMOPREIS22.
  • Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers. Compare even more prices at Discover Cars.
  • Flights. Compare all your options! Definitely check out Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
  • Money. Your debit and credit cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel. 
  • Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? For the Dutch readers, please check out these organizations: ANWB vakanties, Sawadee, Tui, Corendon, Shoestring, and Vakantie Discounter. You can also try D-reizen.
  • SIM card. Beware of unexpectedly high calling and internet costs. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive, or arrange one online via Airalo.
  • Train, bus, and boat. Reserve buses, trains, and boats via Busbud, 12Go (personal favorite in Thailand), or Omio.
  • Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
  • Travel guides. Excited about your upcoming Thailand trip? I understand! To add to your anticipation, you can order a travel guide, for example at Bol.com or Amazon.
  • Yoga retreat. Or, go on a yoga retreat in Thailand.

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First published: April 2019. Updated since.

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