Bangkok is full of some of the weirdest, most wonderful people in the world. Why not make an outing of it and find the best places to sit and stare at them? The warm weather in the Thai capital makes it ideal for pulling up some outdoor stool near a busy thoroughfare at any time of year and just seeing what the heck is up over a few frosty ones.
While we’re rounding up the city’s best, why not check out our list of the best late night eats in Asia’s City of Angels, the coolest theme cafes in the Big Mango, Bangkok’s booziest ladies nights, as well as the top pizzas and biggest burgers in town.
Here are our top picks for boozy, brazen staring:
The one banging bar in the middle of Chatuchak Weekend Market is our number one pick. Check out hordes of Chinese tourists shopping, backpackers in elephant pants, sexpats with bar girls who are still out in last night’s clothes, and more. The beers are cold, they make kickass cocktails (the owner also owns upscale restaurants Viva & Avia and Viva Market Thonglor), delicious pizzas for just THB100 (US$3) and Chef Fernando, the famous paella cook that always puts on a show for the assembled hordes.
FIND IT: Chatuchak Market, Section 8
BTS Mo Chit
A haven for workers both on and job and off, this well-established Soi 11 hotspot is more about the people watching inside than outside. Check out the dating and mating rituals of the locals over a frosty pint or five.
FIND IT: Sukhumvit Soi 11
These are two distinct bars but located next door to each other and equally raucous. Top picks due to their cheap drinks, location next door to Nana Plaza, and stools that overlook the throngs of men headed to the red-light area and the thongs of skimpily-clad women, this is a great place to go if you want to really observe some of the true sex tourists of Bangkok without actually being inside a red light district, as you would have to be on Soi Cowboy. A perfect way to spend an early Saturday evening before heading somewhere hipper.
FIND IT: Sukhumvit Soi 4
This bar’s main draws are its location just beneath a main BTS/MRT train hub and its misting machines. Yup, this place, located at Asoke Intersection, offers streetside tables that mist you with fine, cool water vapor as you sit, drink and watch all of Bangkok rush by.
FIND IT: Sukhumvit Road
This Sukhumvit Road sports bar is large, but the prime real estate is the dozen stools that overlook the main road and are perched about five feet above it. If you want the best seats for happy hour though, one of our readers suggests getting there at 3 or 4pm to secure your spot. Um, sure, let us just tell the boss where we’ll be.
FIND IT: Sukhumvit Road
This upscale riverside restaurant and bar is perfect for getting drunk with friends or bringing your parents for a nice dinner or fancy brunch. As one of our readers pointed out, it is the only place on the list that allows you to people watch both on land and water. Since the bar is located in the River City complex, it’s right beside the pier where many boats and dinner cruises depart, offering you a chance to check out some seamen.
FIND IT: River City Complex
BTS — none! Closest public transport at River City Pier