There are so many treasures to discover in vibrant Bangkok, from a niche vinyl shop and analog photography service, to vintage barbers and Vespa collectors. Veer off the beaten path and check out our top picks of places to play near ASAI Bangkok Chinatown.
Meet a photographer who does more than just snap faces: he captures stories. Tawatchai “Tae” Pattanaporn, owner of Patani Studio, is a photographer and film developer. Patani Studio is located on Soi Nana, near infamously Thai drinking den ‘Tep Bar’. With its front door always shut, it has an air of mystery, but all you have to do is knock.
The studio has been in business since 2014, offering analog photography services and film developing in monochrome, colour negative and E-6. They also do analog contact printing and fine enlarging in both monochrome and colour [RA-4], roll scanning and hi-res scanning. Plus, they stock various Ilford black and white photographic papers for darkroom enlarging and there’s a darkroom for rent on the second floor.
Patani Studio is one of the few studios in southeast Asia that’s so specialised, with high quality service and attention to detail. Tae’s customers include locals, international expats and visitors from neighbouring countries who obsess about film.
His hand-printed images have rich gradients and a beautiful delicacy unique to film photography. Ask nicely and he might show off some of his photography and film from his adventures in Japan, India and Thailand. And as you fill your eyes with all the artistic beauty, cute cats Yuan and Pot slink around your ankles.
Wed to Sun, 10am to 6pm 59 Na Na, Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok Tel. +669-2926-6216
Creating a personality, boosting confidence and sometimes switching up styles, a barber is a gentleman’s best friend and Bua Thong Barber, next to Yaowarat Soi 8, has been keeping trims fresh since 1982. With its classic furniture, including an antique barber’s chair, this barber shop is professional, affordable and comfortable. To step inside is to go back to a time where elegant barbers enjoyed quieter moments with a game of chess. When we stopped in, we enjoyed a chit chat with Sanan, the legendary star barber of Bua Thong, keeping the residents of Chinatown looking fly for 50 years.
For adults, a cut is 120 baht and an extra 120 if you want a wash. Other services include kids’ cuts, beard shaving, manicures, hair dye, hair perm, and — an added extra you don’t often see in modern barbershops — ear picking and ear washing. Thinking of a new look? Try Bua Thong Barber.
Mon to Sat, 7am to 6pm 249 Yaowarat Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok Tel. +662 223 3321
Looking to jazz up your vinyl collection? Discover the curated selection of new and old Thai and international records at M Tanakorn. Just down the road from ASAI Bangkok Chinatown, this place is cosy and authentic — a gathering spot for uncles and oldies from the neighbourhood; some stopping by for the music, others for the chit chat. Run by record collector Thanakorn “M” Teechapoonpanya, the shop’s specialty is its unique selection of Thai string and central Thai orchestral pop, aka luk-krueng music, from the 70s and 80s on vinyl and cassette, plus they buy reggae copyrights and mix their own versions. The customers are Thai, Japanese and European, with a sizable international fanbase who come for the Molam (Thai country) music. Step right this way and get lost among the musical treasures.
Daily 9am to 8pm 524-526 Luang Rd., Bangkok Tel. +668-6618-6798
Calling all Vespa lovers: you’ve met your match. Panop aka “Auu Vespa” has built his life on the two-wheeled marvels.
Born in Yaowarat, Auu was around Vespas from a young age. His first was a 1964 model that the uncle around the neighbourhood used for selling fruit. Curious about the different shapes and styles, Auu started to make a study of the vehicles, and ultimately, his passion became his livelihood when he opened this spot on Songwat Road.
This is a collector’s heaven and while you can buy a whole new one, you can bring along anything that needs attention or parts. Get a rough knock, set the balance, measure the wind shield, smarten up cracks in bodywork…These guys know their stuff and they work with love and craftsmanship.
Come take a stroll through Vespas of all colours and styles, and snap up some car accessories too.
1400-4 SongwatRd., Samphantawong, Bangkok +669-8995-5559
Whatever your taste and sensibilities, you’ll find something to surprise and delight in our neighbourhood. Step outside and head off on a playful treasure hunt filled with gems to uncover and places to play. Don’t forget to tag us in your pics.