Along with Sukhumvit and Khao San, Phra Athit is one of Bangkok’s best-known roads. Phra Athit Road runs aside the east bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok’s old city, an area renowned for its distinctive architecture and leafy neighbourhoods.
Unlike Sukhumvit Road, which extends for hundreds of kilometres all the way to Cambodia, Phra Athit Road is rather short. In fact, it’s barely one kilometre in length. But what it lacks in distance it makes up for in concentration of sights, attractions and relaxing hangout spots.
Indeed, lately Phra Athit has come to rival Khao San Road as one of the old city’s top spots for international travellers. Part of the appeal is Phra Athit’s mix of major cultural/historical sites along with dining and entertainment spots. Notably among the former, near Phra Athit Pier, is serene Santi Chai Prakan Park, a popular spot for residents and tourists to take in a great riverside setting, exercise or just relax. The site’s most prominent feature is Phra Sumen Fort, a gleaming white structure built in the late 1700s to defend Siam’s newly established capital.
Dining is a delight, with plenty of informal restaurants and cafés about, in addition to street food vendors cooking up Thai favourites. You’ll likewise have no trouble getting a caffeine pick-me-up from one of the area’s many coffee shops.
While nothing like the raucous party scene of Khao San Road, Phra Athit’s pubs and cafés present live music nightly including pop, rock and jazz performances. If that’s not enough though, Khao San and its full-fledged nightclubs are a short walk away.
One way to get to Phra Athit Road from Novotel Bangkok Silom Road, and the most scenic, is to walk to Sathorn Pier and take a Chao Phraya Express Boat to Phra Athit Pier. The trip takes about 30 minutes.