Charoen Krung (ถนนเจริญกรุง, Thanon Charoen Krung)) is a major road in Bangkok that runs roughly parallel to the Chao Phraya river. Part of it is considered Chinatown along with Yaowarat Road, part of it is closest major road toPhahurat (Little India), its northern terminus is the Grand Palace, it runs through Nakhon Kasem (Thieves Market) and Khlong Thom Market (low cost electronics). Bangkok's oldest theatre, Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre, as well as Bangkok's Central Post office, and State Tower are on the road. South of Taksin Bridge is mostly residential except for the Wat Yan Nawa.
Charoenkrung celebrated its 150th anniversary last year, making it one of Bangkok’s oldest roads. Running along the Chao Phraya River and connecting the city’s major trade hubs, the area is filled with cultural attractions, from Rattanakosin Island to Chinatown, Silom and Sathorn. Thanks to a recent revival of Charoenkrung’s old shop-houses, there are now plenty of cool galleries and bars to be discovered, too
Tucked in a small shophouse not far from Chinatown, this simple but tastefully turned out bar plays host to live soul and funk bands every Tue-Sat. The venue has been renovated in a simple loft-like style with a lot of empty space, putting the focus squarely on the live bands. Drop by for the daily happy hours (6-8pm)—our pick is the Summer Beer (mint chocolate kombucha and half a pint of draft beer).
945 Charoenkrung Rd., 095-521-1541. Open Tue-Sat 6pm-midnight
The area between Soi 34-44 is rich with architectural attractions. Among them is the 1. Old Customs House (Charoenkrung Soi 36), which dates back to 1880 and was once the trading gateway between Bangkok and the rest of the world. It’s now used as the fire brigade’s headquarters.
The recently renovated 2. General Post Office building next to Charoenkrung Soi 34 is another unique part of Bangkok’s architectural heritage, and one of the few Art Deco buildings to be found in the city. Religious highlights include the Thai-Chinese 3. Wat Suan Phlu temple (Charoenkrung Soi 42/1), where you can go and pay respect to the Chinese Guan Yin, and 4. Assumption Cathedral (Charoenkrung Soi 40), a Roman Catholic church dating back to the early 1900s that serves as the place of worship for the Catholic all-boys’ school Assumption College. There’s also a strong Muslim community based around the 5. Haroon Mosque (Charoenkrung Soi 36). Once the city’s largest wooden mosque, it has since been reconstructed in concrete but remains in keeping with traditional Islamic design.
There are three worthwhile galleries in the 6. O.P. Garden compound (4,6 Charoenkrung Soi 36, 02-266-0186). The oldest among them is Serindia Gallery (02-238-6410), founded in 2009 by publisher and art enthusiastic Shane Suvikapakornkul. The gallery focuses on Asian cultural artefacts, specifically from the Himalayan region. Next door, Modern Gallery (02-238-6449) features work by revered Thai artists like Thawan Duchanee and Chalermchai Kositpipat along with the new generation like Lolay Thaweesak Sritongdee. Right opposite, French gallerist Pascal Billieres’ Artha Gallery (02-630-9489) aims to promote rising Southeast Asian artists from Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. If you’re looking for something more edgy, head down to Charoenkrung Soi 28.
7. Speedy Grandma (089-508-3859) is a big favorite of Bangkok’s alt-indie crowd thanks to its regular exhibitions, film screenings and parties.
Nearby, 8. Soy Sauce Factory (061-835-6824) is run by same group of people and focuses on photography exhibitions.
The area is well-known for antiques and gemstones, as well as shipping services to help bring your goods home. 9. River City (Charoenkrung Soi 34, 02-237-0077) is a one-stop shopping complex that offers Thai craft, antiques and artwork by local artists. For fine fashion and decorative objects, 10. O.P. Place (Charoenkrung soi 38, 02-237-4062) is filled with tailor shops, jewelry specialists and Thai handicraft souvenirs from The Chitralada Projects. It’s also worth taking a look at the historic 11. Mandarin Oriental hotel (Charoenkrung soi 38, 02-659-9000), where there are several high-end jewelry and fashion brands including Lotus Arts de Vivre (02-236-0400) and Hong Kong-based resort-wear specialist Marie France Van Damme (02-630-9400). Tucked away in a complex of WWII-era warehouses, you’ll find the by-appointment-only showroom of 12. P.Tendercool (081-813-2249), which sells striking tables made from reclaimed slabs of teak. Though purchasing a table will set you back a six-figure sum, it’s worth dropping by purely for the spectacle, as well as to peer into next door’s 13. Fifty-Five Antiques (087-363-6383), which has some of the most impressive ancient Burmese artefacts in the city.
Thanks to the many luxury hotels that line the riverbank, this is one of the best areas in Bangkok for high-end dining. The city’s oldest and, by our reckoning, most atmospheric hotel, the 11. Mandarin Oriental, is home to Le Normandie, which for years set the standard for French fine dining in Bangkok. Its combination of old-school silver service and immaculately plated classic cuisine is still hard to beat. For a refined Cantonese experience under dripping chandeliers, check out Shang Palace at the 14. Shangri-La Hotel, (Charoenkrung Soi 44, 02-236-7777) where you’ll find a la carte dim sum as well as other Chinese favorites like Peking duck and whole suckling pig.
In the same hotel, Angelini is a solid option for Italian cuisine, while 15. Sambal at the Royal Orchid Sheraton is a more laidback, stylish riverside venue that serves Southeast Asian cuisine with contemporary touches. Also see our pick of Charoenkrung’s best street food eats opposite.
CHAROENKRUNG’S TOP 5 STREET-FOOD STALLS
18. Kao Kha Mu Charoen Sang Silom
This famous (and crowded) spot serves Chinese-style stewed pork knuckle with rice. Come early before it sells out.
02-234-8036. Open daily 8:30am- 1.30pm
19. Jok Prince Bangrak
One of the best congee (rice porridge) in Bangkok—a simple but powerful blend of velvety stewed rice, minced pork and poached egg.
089-795-2629. Open daily 6am-12pm, 4pm-9pm
20. Prachak Pet Yang
Rumored to have existed for over a century, this place specializes in khao na pet (roasted duck with rice)
02-234-3755. Open daily 7am-8.30pm
21. Jao Long Luk Chin Pla & Jae
Lee Luk Chin Pla Located opposite each other, these two restaurants are renowned for
their noodles and fish balls. Both are great.
Jao Long Luk Chin Pla 02-234-7499. Open daily 6am-9pm
Jae Lee Luk Chin Pla 02-234-2791. Open daily 8am-9pm
Opened back in 1953 but given a stunning renovation at the end of last year, the Mandarin Oriental’s11. Bamboo Bar is one of the city’s oldest live jazz institutions. To this day, it maintains a moody, lounge-lizard atmosphere made even better thanks to some of the city’s best cocktails (try the barrelaged XO Sezerac). The recently opened 16. Soulbar (945 Charoenkrung Rd., 083-092-2266) offers live music of a very different sort, in a casual shophouse kitted out with industrial furnishings (for more info, see opposite).
Located right by the Chao Phraya River, 17. Viva & Aviv is an open-air cocktail bar with a subtle (and chic) pirate theme. Soak up the river view and enjoy bistrostyle food and well-made cocktails to the sounds of top local DJs.
Getting to this part of Charoenkrung is easy. Simply take the BTS (Silom line) to Saphan Taksin station. From there you can either explore Charoenkrung by foot or take one of the free hotel boats that shuttle guests from Saphan Taksin pier.
Google Street Map
Link to see on map, zoom in or use the live street view to move around