In the Samphanthawong district of Bangkok lies Song Wat Road, a historic thoroughfare with a rich heritage dating back to 1892. Named "drawing by the king," Song Wat was conceived by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) after a devastating fire in the Sampheng area. The road, expanding to areas like Yaowarat, served as a crucial artery for water transport, facilitating communication between provinces and the capital.
Originally a hub for steamships and barges transporting seafood, vegetables, and herbs, Song Wat became the cornerstone of the Thai-Chinese millionaire families' business endeavours. Today, the road's charm lies in its preservation of over a century-old row-shophouses along the Chao Phraya River, maintaining the architectural legacy of early Bangkok.
Despite its historical significance, Song Wat has evolved into a contemporary hotspot, attracting a younger crowd seeking a unique blend of history and modernity. Cafes now grace the street, with some preserving the original architectural charm, making it a desired destination for today's youth.
Recently, Song Wat gained global recognition by securing the 39th spot on Time Out's list of the World's 40 Coolest Neighbourhoods for 2023. This annual ranking, curated by urbanites from around the globe, takes into consideration community initiatives, vibrant openings, green spaces, walkability, and overall liveability. Song Wat's revival as a must-visit neighbourhood offering exceptional culinary, beverage, and scenic experiences is prominently highlighted.
Commencing in 2022, a collaborative effort among emerging entrepreneurs in the Song Wat area resulted in the establishment of a network called 'Made in Song Wat.' The collective initiative culminated in a year-end festival aimed at revitalising this local street. As this historical site continues to blend the present with its rich past, Song Wat Road stands as a reflection of the coexistence of tradition and modernity in the heart of Bangkok.
Here, we've compiled a list of noteworthy places in the Song Wat area for you to explore, encompassing recently opened establishments and longstanding traditional shops.
A family-run establishment, in operation for 60 years, is renowned for its springy fish balls made solely from fresh fish. They are served alongside Chinese noodles and wontons, leaving a delightful lingering taste.
Specialising in braised goose with a sweet brown gravy unique to Song Wat, this restaurant opens its doors for just three hours each day and has been a fixture for close to 60 years.
Originally in the clothing business with 'It’s Happened to be A Closet,' the owner incorporated an Italian restaurant within the store. Upon acquiring space in Song Wat, the restaurant's focus shifted to Thai cuisine. The owner's travel memories are reflected in e-ga's diverse menu, contributing to its variety of flavours and experiences.
Located in an old building that invokes a sense of nostalgia, this beef noodle shop invites customers to reflect on the past. Their broth, simmered with Chinese herbs, complements the tender meat.
Derived from 'fruit and vegetable,' FV is a modern Thai dessert store that transforms overlooked herbs, vegetables, and fruits into teas and beverages. The café's cultural ambiance is enhanced by the presence of Thai-style wooden houses.
This coffee shop, part of Hostel Urby Bangkok, offers a laid-back atmosphere with a view of the Chao Phraya River.
Located in an old building, this small coffee roaster shop caters to coffee enthusiasts by serving specialty coffee and providing a slow bar experience.
Originally a Chinese restaurant decades ago, this hundred-year-old building was repurposed as an art gallery by the owner's son. Previously also a shoe warehouse, the ground floor now showcases various artworks.
Aoon Pottery is a handcrafted pottery studio and experience room dedicated to creating delightful handmade pottery. The owner promotes Thai ceramics sourced from local Thai soil.