Ari might not feature high on your typical Bangkok itinerary, but this side of the city has become a vibrant neighborhood with a stack of great restaurants, funky cafes and boutique stores that are well-worth exploring with the family.
Situated on Ari Soi 5, Numthong Gallery provides 130 square meters of exhibition space for some of Thailand’s top visual artists, and there’s also a small library that serves as a space for art research. Art aficionados will love getting to see the fascinating variety of contemporary work on display from both Thai and international artists. In recent years, up to eight separate annual exhibitions have been held at this intimate gallery – indicating its growing reputation among the artistic community. Admission is free.
2. Puritan Cafe
Anyone craving a quick sugar fix should make a beeline for Puritan, a stylish cafe specialising in heavenly desserts. The grand surroundings include Greek statues and elegant furnishings, giving Puritan the feeling of a lavish European house. But it’s the sweet treats that really stand out. Kids will love the tempting range of desserts on offer, and the fact that Puritan uses low-fat ingredients means that you can enjoy a moment of indulgence with a smaller portion of guilt.
3. Aree Garden
Situated on Areesampan Soi 11 opposite the Thai Ministry of Finance building, the relaxed and rustic surroundings of Aree Garden offer a popular spot for casual dining and boutique shopping. The green complex is split into a series of separate zones that feature chilled cafes, restaurants, shops and an outdoor market. There’s also a family-friendly activities space and a ‘Green Market’ that sells homemade and handmade products on the first Saturday of every month.
4. La Villa Ari
This three-storey open air community mall is located on Paholyothin Road right next to BTS Ari. With a selection of cafes, local and international restaurants and boutique stores, La Villa Ari is a great place to enjoy a spot of leisurely retail therapy or for grabbing lunch with friends or family. Parents can also keep young kids entertained by joining KiDO‘s Gym & Play weekend session, or dropping by Season Creative Art Academy, which runs a range of art classes aimed at little ones.
5. Tokyo Bike
This hip, cafe-meets-bicycle store opened its first branch in the Tokyo suburb of Yakan. Since then, additional outlets have opened in Singapore, Australia, the UK and Germany before hitting the streets of Ari in Bangkok. You can pick out a brand new bike from between four different models before chilling out at Laliart – the hip coffee shop situated inside the store. Sip espresso made with beans grown in Northern Thailand and treat the kids to one of the indulgent desserts, with homemade ice cream, brownies and frangipani berry tart among the highlights.
Photo credit: Aree Garden