Bangkok Coffee Crawl: 4 Coffee Shops Worth Including In Your Itinerary
Exploring the vibrant coffee scene in the land of smiles
by Franz Domasian
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It’s my second trip to Thailand. The first was back in 2017, when it was my last stop after a week backpacking in Vietnam and Cambodia. We celebrated my mom’s birthday with a week in Bangkok and Khao Yai.
This year, I went back with no specific plans. I’m used to traveling with a detailed plan, but now I found myself boarding a plane with no itinerary, except to explore Thailand further – its culture through coffee.
I arrived in Bangkok a few minutes past midnight. I checked in at Our Secret Base, a small, artistic hostel in Chinatown, roughly a ten-minute walk to the Bangkok Railway Station. Initially, I’d booked here because I wanted to travel via train. But I learned that the day I chose for my trip is one of, if not THE busiest, days in Thailand: Songkran, Thai New Year. Booking transportation, especially trains, is more difficult than usual.
After a restful sleep and a quick breakfast at the hostel, I looked for a bus ride to and accommodation in Sukhothai, the first capital of Thailand which was then known as Siam. This is the origin of the Thai alphabet and home of the Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO heritage site. Since trains were fully booked, I booked a bus from Bangkok (Mo Chit 2) to Sukhothai Historical Park. I chose the last trip on that day so I would have time to roam around Bangkok. Time for another round of coffee crawling in the bustling and humid city!
Invisible Coffee Room
My first stop is at Invisible Coffee Room, Sukhumvit. I rode the MRT (blue line) from Hua Lamphong Station to Sukhumvit Station. From Sukhumvit Station, it’s a good ten-minute walk to the shop.
Worth it? Yeah! It’s a small, minimalist space with muted-colored walls. They have a wide variety of coffee magazines in the center table. I enjoyed the quiet time I had with my coffee while watching people walking along the street.
I ordered a cortado which costs 65THB (106PHP). I love the richness and balance of sweetness and acidity. Also, the baristas are welcoming and service is really fast. Wi-fi is also available. Just ask nicely.
Ink & Lion Cafe
From Invisible Coffee Room, I walked back to the Sukhumvit MRT Station which is linked to the Asok BTS Station (Sukhumvit Line). From the road’s main intersection, walk towards the Terminal 21 mall to your left. Ride the BTS to Ekkamai. Walk towards Soi Sukhumvit 63, the main road nearest the station exit. Just walk straight towards the road until you see Ekkamai Beer House, around 500 away from the BTS station.
I visited an old favorite – Ink & Lion. I already had my espresso + milk at Invisible Coffee Room so I opted for a manually-brewed coffee which costs 140THB (228PHP). They had Ethiopia and Brazil, and I chose the former because I was in the mood for a lighter black coffee given the heat outside! I took out my KeepCup and I was given a THB5 discount.
One thing I look forward to at Ink & Lion is the art installations and artsy finds you can score in their corner. They have postcards, tote bags, cards, etc. Make sure to check ‘em out and get what speaks to you. Got myself a “Drink Like a Grown-Up” tote bag for 350THB (570PHP).
Ink & Lion Cafe
1 7 Soi Sukhumvit 63, Khwaeng Phra Khanong Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
Sho Specialty Coffee
Even on a scorching day, I chose to walk 1.3 kms from Ink & Lion Cafe to Sho Specialty Coffee. Just go further down the Soi Sukhumvit 63 and you will find Sho Specialty Coffee on the left, by the Mobella Showroom.
Sho Specialty Coffee is such a great place. It’s small, but I love the vibe – friendly and chic! The baristas were so welcoming, and helped me choose my drink. I wanted something different from my usual espresso-based and manual brews in my first two coffee stops. My eyes were caught by the coconut and coffee concoction they call Black Coconut which costs 120THB (195PHP). It’s basically espresso, coconut water, coconut foam made from coconut milk and desiccated coconut. LOVE! The day just got hotter so time for an iced coffee!
Same, same but different
Ekkamai has a number of specialty coffee shops aside from those I visited during this trip. I highly recommend exploring this area of Bangkok for quality coffee. I wanted to visit more shops, but I limited myself to three because I had a long bus ride later that day. Just before sunset, I retreated to Our Secret Base, to kill a few hours before the night bus to Sukhothai.
Sentimental Coffee (BONUS COFFEE FEATURE!)
Just before leaving for Manila, a week after visiting the shops above, I visited one more shop, just beside Our Secret Base. Sentimental Cafe is such a hip place with friendly baristas!
I got a cortado for my pre-flight coffee. Think orange peel for acidity, after that initial caffeine kick. Yum! They are showcasing a blend of coffee beans from Thailand and Laos.
They were about to close when I arrived, but they’re so kind to still let me have my coffee and enjoy my last few moments in Bangkok. It was a Monday and they close at 7PM. On other days, they are open until midnight.
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