#SundayWellSpent: Exploring the Essentials of Soi Ngam Du Phli
Looking for somewhere to explore on your precious weekend? Our #SundayWellSpent series is back with a list of places in and around Bangkok’s countless Sois.
In this episode, we’re taking you to Soi Ngam Du Phli in Sathorn, only 600 meters from Lumpini MRT station. This neighborhood retains the charms of a close-knit community that blends seamlessly with the urban lifestyle.
Situated in Soi Ngam Du Phli are all sorts of interesting spots: cafe, international restaurant, art gallery, school, just name it.
The Soi also connects to Soi Suan Phlu (Soi Sathorn 3), Soi Nanglinchi, and Soi Yenakart, which means other hidden gems are within walking distance.
After some serious scouting in Soi Ngam Du Phli, we’d like to recommend these six places to spend your leisurely Sunday with friends and families. Let’s see what’s on the list this time!
Through Soi Ngam Du Phli, we can get to Soi Goethe; home to Thailand’s German cultural center, Goethe-Insitut. You might have recognized the institute from their German courses, but many don’t realize they offer much more than that.
Goethe-Insitut organizes various activities for anyone who’d like to get a taste of German culture through films, music, art, theatrical plays, and academic fairs.
Past events include cooking workshops, piano recitals, educational activities, and even photo exhibition of Thai highland indigenous people by a German photographer.
Currently on the roster is Open Air Kino 2019, an outdoor film festival that features captivating German films with Thai and English subtitles. Set right in the front yard of Goethe-Insitut, the event will take place every Tuesday until March 3.
In the future, you can expect more edutainment activities that will teach you about German culture.
The institute also offers public facilities such as swimming pool, fitness, yoga classes, and canteen, and services such as counseling for studying abroad.
The library contains literature, textbooks, magazines, children’s books. Additionally, educational media like movie CDs or DVDs, tablets, and game consoles are provided free of charge.
The activities and spacious area canopied by trees can put the cherry on top of your simple Sunday if you decide to spend it at Goethe-Institut.
Ratsstube German Restaurant Bangkok
Founded in 1985 (33 years ago), Ratsstube is a traditional German restaurant sitting inside Goethe-Insitut itself.
The decor leans towards classic Thai style with some colonial influences. The yellow-and-brown color scheme and wood accents make this place feel incredibly cozy and homey. Waitresses in Dirndls, traditional German dresses, add to the restaurant’s charm.
The menu is mostly homemade German dishes: soups, sausages, salads, spaghetti, pizzas, roast pork, etc. Of course, you can complete your meal with imported German beers.
But don’t worry if German cuisine is not exactly your favorite; Thai dishes are also available.
We enjoyed the warm (complimentary) bread and butter as we waited for the food. The main course was Veal Sausage with Onion Sauce (300 THB), which came with a side of mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.
We cut the veal sausage into bite-size pieces and dipped it in mustard sauce. The tender, aromatic sausage and the tangy mustard are a delicious combination.
Bangkok CityCity Gallery
Only 200 meters from Goethe-institut is a plain-looking building; two white boxes sit next to each other, overcast by shades from overgrown roadside trees.
This is Bangkok CityCity Gallery, a contemporary art gallery. Here, artists are welcome to have their work displayed whether it’s installation arts, illustrations, paintings, sculptures, photography, videos, or live performances.
Other than art exhibitions, the gallery also houses other exciting activities such as Bangkok Art Book Fair, or special talks on art. There are usually 4-5 rotating art events each year.
The gallery is divided into two main areas: main gallery, a multipurpose room used for the main exhibition; and front gallery, a smaller room for other activities held at the same time as the exhibition. The small garden outside can also host outdoor events.
The current highlight is a solo production by Navin Rawanchaikul; his “REVISITED < > DEPARTED” exhibition will be featured starting from February 15. (At the time of writing, the gallery is closed to prepare for this event.)
La Casa Nostra
A mere 130-meter walk from the gallery will take you to La Casa Nostra, a wine bar and Italian restaurant. The place has a homey, rustic look with a touch of vintage vibes.
The bar section, dubbed the Cellar, holds an extensive collection of over 500 wine varieties, mainly from France and Italy. (There are wines from US, Japan, Argentina, South Africa, and Australia as well, if you like to spice things up.) You can even try their selection of Cuban cigars.
The restaurant section has both indoor and outdoor seatings. Outside are a small garden and a pétanque court for patrons who want to hone their sports skills as they wine and dine.
The menu covers classic Italian dishes for lunch and dinner. Taste delicious pasta, risottos, steaks, salads, soups and more, all prepared by a Sicilian chef. The restaurant also organizes culinary events from time to time like wine tastings or wine dinners.
His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary Park (Suan Phlu Public Park)
As you reach the end of Soi Ngam Du Phli, turn right. You’ll arrive at His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary Park, locally known as Suan Phlu Public Park.
This green space spans over about 27,000 square meters of land. Decorated with small sculptures, the park’s other features include a playground and fitness equipment.
A pond stretches across the park, with water plants floating on the surface and trees neatly lining its sides. During the evenings, the park is usually teeming with people from the neighborhood who walk or jog there.
Though Suan Phlu Public Park doesn’t provide as many shaded areas to lay down your picnic spread as other parks, it’s still a public green space right in downtown Bangkok. This is where you can escape the city’s hustle and bustle and have some time to yourself.
After you’ve concluded your Sunday activities or meals in Soi Suan Phlu, you can bring your friends and family here for a walk in the park. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea?
Prumplum Umeshu Bar
From Soi Suan Phlu, we weaved our way into Soi Si Bamphen to the izakaya-style bar, Prumplum Umeshu Bar.
A collage of posters on the interior walls, coupled with paper lamps and wood furniture, give the bar a more casual feel, like being in someone’s living room in a Japanese home.
Seatings are available outdoor, at the bar inside, and on the loft. What makes this bar stands out is their focus on umeshu. There are also other fruit liqueurs, whiskeys, and sakes you can try.
As for the snacks and appetizers, you can expect izakaya staples such as yakitori, karaage, salads, yakisoba, tako-wasabi, and also more filling main dishes.
With the bar’s easy-going nature, customers who like to chat or bring Japanese liquors to share can feel comfortable doing so.
We tried their recommended Umeshu Starter Set (360 THB); a set of three drinks that let you sample different types of umeshu.
First is Komasa Ume, a basic umeshu with the sweet-and-sour taste we know and love.
The second is Hi Zou. It lists brown sugar as one of the main ingredients, resulting in a caramelly finish.
Both of them are made from soju (a spirit very similar to Thai moonshine), while the last one, Ume Mansaku, is made from sake. The use of sake brings out the mellow and slightly sweet taste.
True to the bartender’s word, this set is the perfect introduction to umeshu for new drinkers.
Thai Health Center
Though the last spot on our list is not open on Sundays, we think it can prove useful to many of us. Thai Health Center by Thai Health Promotion Foundation is a learning center for health and well-being.
According to the Foundation, well-being means to be healthy in all four aspects: physical, mental, social, and intellectual.
The first and second floor of the center is open to the public. Everyone is welcome to relax, enjoy the provided activities, or learn to properly take care of their health at the library, which full of health-related books.
Visit the exhibition room for inspiration and encouragement for your journey towards well-being, or see the sculptures in the central area to get some food for thought.
Other features worth mentioning: Health Checkup room on the first floor is where you can check your BMI and seek health counsel;
Sook Shop is a “shop of happiness” that sells healthy products; and Sook Canteen is a canteen with quality vendors who genuinely care about the nutritional value of their food.
The menus focus on the ‘perfect’ proportion: two parts vegetables, one part protein, one part carb. You can choose the amount of rice and whether you want brown or white rice.
Finally, Cheunjai cafe sells regular tea and coffee, but also provides nutritional information for drinks, and offers options of soy or dairy milk.
If you’ve got the time, visit the Health Center. Maybe you’ll get something more than just happiness and relaxation.
Explore the hidden gems in Bangkok’s nooks and crannies next Sunday in your favorite neighborhood. Check out Siam2nite’s articles down below!
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