Where those in the know go.
Markets are as Thai as lemongrass and a favourite excuse for a weekend excursion. Rot Fai (Train) Market at Srinakarin (behind Seacon Square mall) bustles into being each evening with vintage, antique and second-hand wares in the old brick warehouses and street food galore, from boat noodles to fried bugs.
The 58-hectare green lungs of Lumphini are hardly a secret to tourists but no-one loves these parklands more fiercely than Bangkokians. You’ll find them being all kinds of active from 4.30am, when gates open, to last laps at 9pm – running, doing aerobics and tai chi, paddling swan-shaped boats and feeding the tortoises that live in the lake. A defiantly local place of leisure.
Bang Krachao Island
On the outskirts of Bangkok, on a bend of the Chao Phraya River, Bang Krachao island is an escape from the smog and crowds of the Thai capital. Take the Skytrain to Khlong Toei then a taxi to the pier before a quick longtail-boat ride deposits you away from the concrete jungle. Rent a bike to explore the botanical garden, floating market, temples and even a Siamese fighting fish gallery.
The Commons, Thanglor
Locals are fond of saying that Thonglor is the Roppongi of Bangkok, both for its buzzing social scene and sizeable Japanese expat population. Take this neighbourhood’s pulse at The Commons, a design-forward “community mall” packed with outlets of the city’s favourite eateries and the beautiful people who frequent them.
How to not look like a tourist
Stand to attention: Royal properties and government offices must, by law, pause twice a day to honour the king. So don’t be surprised if people suddenly stop and stand still for the playing of the royal anthem. You should do the same.
Alcohol-free hours: Arcane national liquor laws forbid retailers selling alcohol between 2pm and 5pm and after midnight. Clubs in nightlife areas, such as Silom, can trade until 2am and hotels are exempt so you could go to the lobby bar.
Easy eats: Unwitting visitors tend to queue doggedly outside Bangkok’s most popular food outlets but savvy locals download the Line Man app and book an “on-demand assistant” to pick up and home-deliver their dinner.