If you’re all about capturing the fading charms, old architecture and slow-life vibe of Bangkok’s Old Town, then look no further than the historic neighborhoods of Tha Tien, Phahurat and Yaowarat.
Start your journey at colonial-style The Old Siam Plaza on Tri Phet Road near MRT Sam Yot, known for its great selection of traditional Thai desserts—try the kanom kuy chai (steamed dumplings) and kanom buang (crispy pancakes with sweet or salty stuffing)—Thai silk and, surprisingly, a whole floor dedicated to firearm shops.
Then, cross the road and make your way down Soi Thip Wari, which connects to Ban Mo Road—known for its shops specializing in electronic parts and audio equipment. Keep walking until you reach Charoenkrung Road. From here, continue on until you get to the tranquil and picturesque Atsadang Road, which runs alongside Rop Krung Canal. Here, you can capture the dilapidated beauty of the area’s historic King Rama V-era Sino-Portuguese architecture.
Cross the canal and about a two-minute walk away you’ll find the neoclassical Territorial Defense Command headquarters located on the corner of Sanam Chai Road. As you stroll down Soi Thai Wang, you’ll be treated to glittering views of The Grand Palace and Wat Pho, currently devoid of the usual sunburned, shouting, fleshy masses.
Once you get to Tha Tien Pier, escape the sun by cutting through Tha Tien Market and work your way towards the shophouses filled with cafes lining Maha Rat Road. Find a seat upstairs at ThaTien Cafe and cool down with a refreshing Americano Yuzu (B110) and a slice of carrot cake (B180).
If, by this time, dinner is on your mind, then hop over to Yaowarat. As you make your way there, you’ll pass through Phahurat, or Little India, home to photogenic textile, fabric and silk shops, as well as the golden-domed Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha temple.
After about a 15-minute walk, you can end your day chowing down on the famous guay jub (rice noodles in five-spice broth) at Michelin Bib Gourmand-recognized Guay Jub Uan Pochana (in front of China Town Rama Cinema)—the same tender but chewy noodles, aromatic and peppery broth, and juicy, crispy pork belly, but now with plastic dividers and a fraction of the crowds.