Some people that have been visiting Bangkok have been telling me how cheap Khaosan road is and there is nothing better than that. Let me give you an alternative if you are looking for cheap, local and more chill place to visit or stay.
Soi Punnawithi aka Sukhumvit soi 101 is the road next to BTS Punnawithi. It is more residental area and it really doesn’t have any big tourist sights on it, But what it has is charming down to earth feeling like you are escaping from the big city.
If you don’t have a car or motorbike of your own, you have couple of options to move around the area. You can either take motorbike taxi, walk or take red minibus walking up and down the soi. Motorbike taxi prices are typically anything between 5-20 THB and red bus is costing 6 THB no matter how short or long distance you are taking.
Red bus starts from Hua Seng Hong restaurants parking lot and stops at 7-eleven next to start of Punnawithi soi 51. This is the route that it goes back and forth. Catch the bys anywhere on the route by hailing it down and hop off by pressing the buzzer when you have reached your destination and the driver will stop.
What has Punnawithi to offer? It has lots of options for cheap food. Anything between local Thai restaurants, street food to cafes, temple and ice cream shops. If you are hungry here, you wont have a problem for sure. Here is few gems that i have found.
Best Pad Thai of Punnawithi is opposite of Soi 20, right next to Tesco lotus express. Prices are anything between 35-50 THB. It is specialized on seafood dishes so if you dont want to eat it due allergy or preference, skip it.
The biggest and actually only temple on the Soi Punnawithi is located in soi 20. It is called Wat Dhammamongkol. The head monk is believed to be very powerful and is very respected among Buddhists. He just turned 99 years old few months ago and it was celebrated by 4 days of continuous praying and meditating at the temple.
The Pagoda of this temple has some lights on it during night time and it looks very beautiful from the distance.
If you want to meet some expats, best way to find them is in 101 Sports bar that located opposite of soi 21, behind 7-eleven. Owner Ron is and the bar manager Arno are really nice and welcoming persons.
More food options is more closer to soi 24 where the fresh market of Punnawithi is located. It is open only on afternoons, roughly from 3:30pm to 8pm. Best time to visit is around 5-6pm when all shops are open for sure and nothing is sold out yet.
There is also this Thai Steak restaurant opposite of market. It has cheap prices and food is tasty.
When you have passed soi 26, the amount of shops are starting to be low and there is pretty much just residential areas around. If you go more deeper to Soi punnawithi, you can just see mainly houses and no more apartment buildings. Few new condos is there though.
Punnawithi is relatively safe place to walk around but be aware of the street dogs especially in the night times. They are not in the main street but more inside the smaller sois. They can be really loud barking and not happy to see you.
As last tip… If you enjoy walking and want to go from Punnawithi to Bang Chak without going back to main Sukhumvit road, there are few sois where you can cross the small canal by walking. These sois are 27,31 and 53. For example in end of Soi 53 the bridge towards Bang Chak looks like this .
That’s all for today but don’t worry, i have more things to blog lined up and it will be published within coming days 🙂
All the best,