#SundayWellSpent: Exploring the Essentials of Soi Sawatdi (Soi Sukhumvit 31)
Most of us spend our Sundays relaxing at home, taking our loved ones out for a nice meal, or simply recharging our bodies and minds for the upcoming work week. But doing the same things every week can get boring at times, so why not take the time to explore somewhere new?
There’s more to Bangkok than traffic jams, shopping malls, and an active nightlife. In this edition of the #SundayWellSpent series, we take you around to explore all the nooks and crannies of the Phrom Phong - Asoke area called Soi Sawatdi or Soi Sukhumvit 31. Some of you might know it for having a bunch of interesting restaurants and cafes, but did you also know that there’s sporting facilities, art workshops, a unisex fashion store, and a unique “craft” cocktail bar here as well?
Step down at either Asoke or Phrom Phong BTS Station and continue for only about 300 meters and you’ll approach Soi Sawatdi that’s packed with all sorts of fun and relaxing activities for you to spend your entire Sunday.
About 5 minutes from the BTS Station towards Soi Sukhumvit 31 you’ll walk up to the RSU Tower where The Lab resides on the 2nd floor. This gym and training studio is packed with all types of weight training equipments such as dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, and free weights. There are also adjustable weight benches, pull-up bars, and all the training equipments you’ll need. You can also choose the join their private or group classes designed to help you with your body goals like losing weight or building muscle starting at 450 THB for 30 minutes.
One thing that sets The Lab aside from many other fitness centers and gyms in town is their advocacy to the fitness communities to reduce plastic waste under the slogan “Train and Sustain”. For example, they aim to reduce the use of plastic water bottles by supporting the use of reusable water bottles and providing a water filling station around the facility.
Bangkok Golf Centre (BGC)
If you walk up to the 5th floor of the same RSU Tower, you’ll find a complete indoor golf academy and performance center called the Bangkok Golf Centre (BGC). Never having to worry about the weather, you can drop by anytime for a practice session on the simulator and improve your skills with the center’s swing analysis software. With a team of instructors that includes PGA Class 'A' Professionals and PGA Certified Teaching Professionals, you can expect a significant improvement in your game even if you never had any prior golfing experience. What makes BGC stand out is their advanced swing analysis technology and 3D Club Fitting service that will help you optimize your game with a club that suits your body’s kinematic sequence and movement.
The courses here are offer both privately and as a couple with the price depending on your hours and the instructor, starting at 2,800 THB/hour. If you’re just looking for a place to practice, then you can stop by for 800 THB/hour or get a membership for a discount.
Sweet Pista Bangkok
Our next destination is inside the Green Connect complex further into Soi Sawatdi. Sweet Pista is a cafe and restaurant that’s made to make you feel at home. Simply designed with bare walls and wood furniture, things get warm and cozy real quick as soon as you sit down. The owner loves to cycle, that’s why there are whole bicycles being used as decoration around the area. You find all sorts of homemade goodness on the food menu, including spaghetti, salads, snacks, and burgers.
We gave the Avocado Beef Cheeseburger (290 THB) a try and it was marvelous. The homemade buns were stuffed with a perfectly cooked ground beef patty, cheese, mushroom sauce, and avocado and served alongside an Avocado Salad with balsamic dressing. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there’s also a variety of sweets for you to choose from including cakes, waffle, and even Kakigori (Japanese shaved ice).
Just across the street from Green Connect is a small shop called Tiny Tree that is heaven for plant and garden lovers. The shop offers instant planting kits, equipment for bottle gardens and terrariums, and decorations for you to customize your personal pocket-sized garden. If you’d like to make one but never made one before, the shopkeepers are more than happy to assist you in creating your very first terrarium from start to finish.
There are also ready-made terrariums up for sale if you’re interested, but don’t have much time to spare. Tiny Tree also hosts workshops about the anatomy of a terrarium and the ecosystem within the glass containers, so you can better understand what you are handling and take better care of them. The prices for the workshops range from 1,500 - 2,300 THB.
Other than at Soi Sawatdi, you can find equipment from Tiny Tree at resellers around town like in Central World, Siam Discovery, and Emquartier. The original location in Soi Sukhumvit 31, however, has a little cafe where you can sit and relax with a cup of tea or have an unwinding Sunday brunch with your friends among all the greenery as well.
About 300 meters into Soi Sawatdi, you’ll come across a rustic-looking Roman restaurant called Appia on your right. The inside was designed and decorated to make you feel cozy and at home with dark-toned wood elements all around the restaurant. The menu comprises of mostly dinner-centric items like Italian cold cuts, pasta, Mediterranean-style seafood, and lamb chops.
The most popular menu here, however, is the Porchetta (450/700 THB) - an Italian-style pork roast stuffed with all sorts of seasoning served with applesauce. The wine list offers selections from the Mediterranean area (Italy, Southern France, Spain, etc.) and also options like organic wine and biodynamic wine. If you’re not into wine, there’s also a number of beers and Italian-style cocktails that the bar can offer to pair with your home-style dinner.
Ruen Nuad Massage Studio
Just a 10-minute walk from BTS Phrom Phong, on the right side you’ll find an entrance into the Ruen Nuad Massage Studio. The studio is housed within a compact wooden house surrounded by a spacious garden and a pond where you can explore and take in some fresh air before heading into the house.
Ruen Nuad offers a completely relaxing experience with services like Thai massage, foot massage, aromatherapy, and full-body scrubs. The prices start at 350 THB/hour, not steep at all for the quality of service and facility. You can find Ruen Nuad in Soi Sathorn 12 as well!
At the corner of intersection 4 of Soi Sukhumvit 31 is the flagship store of Rosemanclub, a Thai designer eyewear brand. The vintage-looking store is decorated with wooden furniture, little copper decors, and a variety of plants both on the inside and outside.
Other than all the eyewear collections and designs on display, you can also shop around for fashion items, collectibles, home decors from both Thai and foreign brands. Whether you’re looking for accessories, postcards, bags, neckties, scarf, stationary, vintage cameras, and even pillows for decorating your leather sofas at home, the Rosemanclub is the place to be.
Even if you’re not looking for anything, you can spend a good amount of your Sunday afternoon inside the store just looking through all that it has to offer. You might actually find something that you like or a perfect gift for your friends and family.
Take a break from the hectic city life and enjoy a nice dinner inside a cozy, French-style countryside garden home setting at Harvest. All the elements within the entire restaurant are hand-crafted, from the interior design and decorations to cooking ingredients and utensils. The restaurant is decorated in a rustic fashion with red brick walls, wooden furniture, and fairy lamps, just as you’d find in a countryside farmhouse in Europe. The menu focuses on Rustic-European cuisine that is perfect to share among a group of friends. The owners also prefer handmade ingredients for all if their food over ready-made ones whenever possible (they even boil up salt themselves).
We tired the Conchiglioni Duck Ragu & Morel Mushrooms (480 THB), perfectly cooked Conchiglioni pasta doused in duck ragu that’s been stewed overnight with red wine, tomatoes, and onions topped with grated Parmesan and stir-fried Morel mushrooms, and Pasta ai Funghi (890 THB), a homemade sheet of pasta doused in a stir-fry of Morel, Cremini, and Champignon mushrooms, butternut squash, Parmesan, and brown butter, infused with Thyme leaves and topped with egg yolk and truffles. The Conchiglioni was slightly sweet, but overall very mellow and great tasting while the mushroom pasta was very savory, but not too overwhelming.
If you walk further into Harvest, you’ll find a rustic-looking craft spirit and cocktail bar called The Woodshed. As the name says, the bar resembles the dark and gloomily potent ambiance of an actual woodshed with heavy use of wooden elements and a barn-style window. The term “Woodshed” is a slang that means “To practice or rehearse using a musical instrument”, that is why there’s also a live Jazz band every Monday - Saturday (from 21.00 to 23.45). All the alcohol on display is sourced from many different providers all around the globe, each with its own unique story. The bottles are presented behind the bar, sectioned into categories like Rum, Japanese whiskey, and single-malts.
The reason the bar uses the word “craft” for its cocktails comes from their meticulous nature in making each creation from scratch. Each ice cube must be used differently depending on the type of glass and syrup used for the base of the craft spirit. Even the syrups are made in-house! We tried the Christmas-inspired Red (365 THB) made from red-colored Sloe Gin and redcurrants (a winter fruit) topped with sparkling wine and lime juice. The light sourness of the cocktail was easy to sip on and refreshing, to say the least.
Next, we tried The Smoke Lingers (450 THB) that was made from coal-infused whiskey, tequila, single espresso, and homemade coffee syrup topped with roasted walnut. This one has a very strong and mildly bitter flavor with an outstanding smokiness in the drink that we loved from start to finish.