Soi Rambuttri sits in the ‘old’ Banglumphu district close to central Bangkok. Some say that Soi Rambuttri resonates with the pre-progress feel that Khao San Road once possessed. It’s a quaint little U-shaped laneway that wraps around Wat Chana Songkhram where Banyan trees provide abundant shady cover for strolling around and soaking up the laidback atmosphere. The tourists here are generally not the fly-in, fly-out party animals either. They’ve been around a bit, and they know a good place to stay when they see one.
Now that Khao San Road has grown up and become a mecca for tourists it can get a bit wild. Soi Rambuttri remains a more peaceful stretch. Because of the proliferation of new accommodation and attractions on Khao San Road, Soi Rambuttri is now seen as a more authentic, quieter and cheaper destination for those who love the shopping and the atmosphere but wish to avoid the jam-packed crowds and thumping noise. It’s only five to ten minutes’ walk from Khao San Road but is far enough away to feel more relaxed or get a good night’s sleep if you want to stay in the area.
Soi Rambuttri, while peaceful, is full of life. The street is lined with stalls selling clothes, food, knick-knacks, t-shirts, DVD’s and much more. It’s populated by guest-houses, convenience stores, restaurants, tour offices, indoor (and outdoor) massage services and there’s still suit tailors for those who’ve come looking for the cheap suits they’ve heard so much about. At night, colourful paper lanterns line the road and later, the neon-lit bars spring to life. Get a massage on the roadside and relax as you watch the world go by.
Soi Rambuttri is much more low-key than Khao San Road. There is a level of sophistication here which will appeal to tourists wearied by the frenetic pace of Bangkok. The street lights here are dimmer, there’s no techno music drowning everything out, and some of the restaurants have candle-lit, intimate, and romantic settings. That said, there are plenty of seemingly random ‘hole-in-the wall’ eateries and bars, which all have more ‘arty’ feel about them. If you’d still like some entertainment, there are some bars and restaurants that offer live music. There’s plenty of authentic Thai food options but also other cuisines to appeal to all tourists. Fish and Chips anyone? Western travellers will even find other western delights to help ground them like wholemeal bread (hard to find!) and will be able to get a decent latte.
Some of Bangkok’s best and cheapest accommodation is in this area, budget conscious travellers will love the mix of things to do that are so centrally located around reasonably priced accommodation.
For the more practical folk among us, there’s hairdressers, doctors, dentists and pharmacies. Let’s hope you don’t need them but they’re here.
As with Khao San Road, it’s easier to arrive in the area by express ferry boat on the Chao Phraya River. It’s so close to central Bangkok that there is plenty more to do and see within a short distance.
If you’re after a more relaxed and bohemian feel along a lane that feels more like the Bangkok of old, then Soi Rambuttri should be on your ‘must visit’ list when you visit Bangkok. Fans of Thai food, both restaurant and street style will love Soi Rambuttri.
Things to remember about Soi Rambuttri
- Your Thai Guide will be able to show you the sometimes-quirky ways of getting in and out of Soi Rambuttri
- If you keep an eye out, you’ll spot squirrels darting about in the trees and on the electricity wires.
- There’s no shortage of food and drink along Soi Rambuttri but it isn’t party central like Khao San Road
- On Trok Kasap, an alleyway just off Rambuttri, you can watch some real Muay Thai training at Sor Vorapin gym.
Some of the best attractions in Bangkok are found in the Banglamphu area. Some suggestions of other places you can visit nearby include: