A treasure trove of delights, Thailand rewards even its most regular visitors with thrills and surprises each visit. Here we update your mental lists, just to make sure you don’t miss out on anything during your next visit.
by Richard Mcleish.
Top Brunch Spots (Independent)
Nikki Beach Phuket
076 681 161, www.nikkibeachthailand.com/phuket
The biggest weekly party on the island happens every Sunday at Nikki Beach. Since landing in March, the famous party brand hasn’t failed to disappoint with its signature spread of culinary treats and regular champagne bottle fights.
RockPool, Koh Samui
077 234 500, www.samuirockpool.com
Nestled right on the water and conveniently close to a fish market, one of Samui’s best daytime eating options comes to life on Sundays when oysters are the play of the day.
Mantra Restaurant & Bar, Pattaya
038 429 591, www.mantra-pattaya.com
The self-dubbed “stylish” dinner destination of Pattaya, Mantra shakes off its hangover on Sundays to open for a brunch well worth getting out of bed and possibly back on the bubbly for.
Rocket Coffeebar, Bangkok
02 635 0404, www.rocketcoffeebar.com
For considered, organic ingredients and some of the best coffee in town, the stylish set head to Rocket for their brunch, available every day of the week. Don’t miss the vitamin-filled smoothies or sous vide eggs Benedict.
Quince – Eatery & Bar, Bangkok
02 662 4478, www.quincebangkok.com
Nestled cosily on Sukhumvit Soi 45 is local favorite Quince, which began throwing its doors open to weekend brunchers due to popular demand this year with a fresh menu that’s not to be missed.
Top Thai Restaurants (Mid-Range)
Raya, Phuket Old Town
076 21 8155
A famous foodie destination of the island, Raya is situated in a charming old Portuguese colonial house. Don’t miss the signature crabmeat curry and pork belly. Cooking classes are available, too.
Namsaah Bottling Trust
401 Silom Soi 7, Bangkok; 02 636 6622;
Thai cuisine? Western? Fusion? Chef Ian Kittichai is ready to have a little fun on the menu rather than conform to a cuisine canon at his recently opened restaurant. The result is a fresh take on what’s already been done well, in a great new setting.
Chao Lay, Hua Hin
03 251 3436
Situated on a rickety wooden platform in downtown Hua Hin, this regular restaurant is typically packed with locals and tourists alike. Dine on huge plates of seafood or fresh fish, cooked to your liking, amid a bustling spectacle.
02 251 1230, www.facebook.com/eatallthai
Short for “eat all Thai” this spin-off from the ever-popular Supanniga in Thong Lor easily justifies its flashy position at new food destination Groove. Half of the menu is new, and continues the style of regional dishes such as the juicy Ayutthaya river shrimp.
The 66 Cottage, Bangkok
02 744 9622, www.facebook.com/The66Cottage
Tucked on the even side of deep Sukhumvit, The 66 Cottage affords visitors who make the trek an extensive garden and tranquil surrounds. On the menu are simple homestyle Thai dishes and a tempting spread of sweets for after. They also host markets and yoga classes.
Top Cocktail Bars
Sineha Bar, Phuket
Enter the tall wooden blue doors to find an enclave of Phuket Town’s upwardly mobile. With live music most nights of the week, the place has a reputation for providing lively nights out and decent snacks, too.
Baba Nest at Sri Panwa, Phuket
076 371 000, www.sripanwa.com
At one of the most spectacular bars in the region, settle into a beanbag and take in the surreal setting at sunset over a glass of something delicious. The word is out, so reserve in advance for your perch in the sky. Also available for functions.
Escape the bustle of Walking Street and head into the ice-cold surrounds of V20 vodka bar. Fueled by Stolichnaya, you’ll have had more shots than you can remember before you realize you’ve already forgotten in this chilled-out chill out lounge.
J. Boroski Mixology, Bangkok
02 712 6025, www.josephboroski.com
Tucked behind a secret door in a neglected Thonglor soi is mixologist Boroski’s cocktail headquarters. The drinks are bespoke, the service is sincere and the mood is full of understated style. Perfect for a date.
02 714 8946, www.facebook.com/glambkk
With the name saying it all, this venue is located in the heart of the Thonglor/Ekamai party zone. While the shisha smoking laws of the city hang in the balance, there’s plenty else to keep your social self occupied here.
Top Chill-Out Coffee Spots
Ristr8o Coffee, Chiang Mai
053 215 278, www.ristr8to-coffee-chiangmai.com
An early player in the Kingdom’s coffee revolution, Ristr8o raises the practice to an art form. Serving signature ristretto doppio, the rotating menu of single origin beans depends on the season. Their latte art is already all over Instagram.
Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House, Chiang Rai
081 984 2925, www.chivitthammada.com
Situated in a colonial house that takes in sweeping views of the river, this could be the perfect perch to enjoy Thai cuisine and while away a northern afternoon in style. A Spa is attached for further indulgence.
La a natu Bread & Bakery, Prachuap Khiri Khan
081 731 8688, www.laanatu.com
Not your average seaside resort, La a natu is an eco-friendly haven just a few hours’ drive from Bangkok. The Thai–Lao architecture will soothe as you enjoy homestyle bakery items such as cakes, tarts, and the signature banoffee pie.
Rocket @ Siwilai, Bangkok
02 635 0404, www.rocketcoffeebar.com
After initially opening in Sathon, the coffee bar’s popularity prompted the appearance of this second outlet inside slick new mall Central Embassy. With fresh menu items and a vista-soaked balcony, the popularity is sure to continue.
Casa Lapin X26, Bangkok
081 261 2040, www.facebook.com/CasaLapin
Another early participant of the coffee race, Casa Lapin recently opened its fourth store in the city into a bigger space that has plenty of elbow room for a Sunday morning. It shares the building with a co-working space, a hostel, and a flower shop.
Top Daytime Parties
KC Beach Club, Samui
077 915 155, www.kcbeachclub.com
During the week the resort ticks over with a steady stream of guests ready to chill, but on weekends the pool winds up into an action-filled arena of fun. Keep an eye out for special parties, particularly during high season.
Catch Beach Club, Phuket
076 316 567, catchbeachclub.com
One of the oldest day clubs in Thailand, Catch Beach Club has been running the Surin Beach party scene for years. While it’s priced accordingly, being this cool was never cheap or easy. Entry does include the same value in F&B.
Beach Republic, Samui
077 458 100, www.beachrepublic.com
The stylish option of Samui brags two infinity pools and a steady roster of entertainment, including DJs and live acts. Mingle with the glam set of the island on Sundays when an international buffet is available.
Kolour Sundays, Bangkok
Starting as a simple sunset bash among friends, Kolour Sundays now has a great reputation for hosting regular sold-out party events in the capital. Keep an eye on their roster, which usually reaches top gear during the cooler months.
Pool Parties at DoubleTree by Hilton, Bangkok
02 649 6666, www.facebook.com/DoubletreeSukhumvit
A newcomer to the Bangkok day party scene, Pool Parties’ regular events always pull a steady crowd that wants to up keep its weekend social momentum. The handy mid-Sukhumvit location helps, too.