A bustling green scene is bringing a new kind of sexy to Bangkok and helping the city shed its stereotypically seedy image. Welcome to Thailand’s, very green, future.
Gone are the wild weekends where being a tourist in Thailand landed you at a ping pong show on Khao San Road. Sustainability is seeing a new kind of sexy unfold in inner Indochina and a growing green scene means traditional Thai practices are being looked at through a new lens. A younger and more conscious generation are looking to their village ancestors who championed sustainable practices ages ago and are now incorporating those methods into modern city life. The result is an urban green scene that is bustling with refill stores, organic farm-to-table restaurants, sustainable hotels, eco-adventures and more. There is no way we can cover it all (yet) but here is a short list to get you started.
Arguably one of Bangkok’s hippest vegan hotspots
Broccoli Revolution has become a city staple not only for its fusion vegan cuisine (think broccoli quinoa charcoal burgers with sweet potato fries) but also for the industrial chic interior that’s seen it become one of Bangkok’s most desirable destinations for digital nomads, business professionals, and mummies to be. The space is self-described as a socially conscious vegan fast-casual restaurant that caters to vegan and vegetarian palates with plates from cultures like Burmese, Italian, Thai, South American and more. Its ultra-convenient location along the BTS makes it a frequent stop for most Bangkokians looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner but if you do find yourself there evening, start with a kale mojito. Unless you’re a day drinker, then we recommend it for lunch too.
Where all your raw food dreams will come true
One of Bangkok’s first and only raw food restaurants, Rasayana stands out in its class not just for it expansive menu but also for its detox program that includes things like juice cleanses, colon hydrotherapy, detox baths, infrared saunas, and aromatherapy massages. When you’re done there, you can opt for a Pilates class before finishing off with a raw pizza or pasta at their alfresco café, which makes for a stunning afternoon office if you’re looking for a quiet laptop lifestyle with (once again raw) cake and coffee.
If you’re looking to splurge, head immediately to Bo.lan
Well, maybe make a reservation first. Chef couple Duangporn Songvisava and Dylan Jones (“Bo” and “Lan”), who were recently featured in an episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table for their sustainable cooking practices (go, watch it now!), source 100% of their ingredients from within Thailand and head to local villages themselves to find and support independent farmers. Their complex and labor-intensive techniques are delivered as part of a degustation menu that has won the restaurant a Michelin star and their ability to fuse fine dining and traditional Thai culture (there is no Pad Thai here) with a zero-carbon footprint has won them nods from conscious foodies all over the world. If you think you’ve had it all when it comes to Thai cuisine, you haven’t seen anything yet.
A communal ‘Chef’s Table’ inspired concept
Founded by Chef Van, the 30-seat restaurant operates like a Chef’s Table with a menu that changes every week or two and is served at one long communal table. Walking into Warehouse 30, you’ll be greeted by rows of big and small jars brimming with brine that are fermenting the ingredients used to prepare dishes. Most, if not all, ingredients are made from scratch because Chef Van wants to tell the whole story behind the food he serves right down to the beginning, and that goes beyond the preparatory steps to its cultural significance. And the cocktails, oh the cocktails – they’re only some of the most unique Thai-fusion cocktails in town. Head to The Dag to try raw, rustic, and traditional food – but with a twist.
An eco-cultural Thai experience
Nestled along the Tachine River in Nakornpathom, which is just one hour from Bangkok, Sampran Riverside is a family run eco-cultural direction where visitors can take in authentic Thai culture. Visitors to the site can also check out Patom Organic Farm where traditional wisdom and modern methods are combined to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are supplied to restaurants in the city with produce under a farm-to-city concept. They also produce organic body care products that are sold in organic shops around Bangkok. Stay overnight in an antique Thai house and kick back at the Patom Organic Spa, take in some cultural workshops or just relax at the property and explore its four restaurants and cafés.
A green escape within the city
Bang Krachao, also known colloquially as The Green Lung and takes its name after its shape, is an area just across the Chao Phraya River from central Bangkok that somehow manages to feel like small village somewhere in the countryside – a stark contrast from the concrete jungle that surrounds it. Jump on a ferry then rent a bike and spend an afternoon meandering the parks, restaurants, and Siamese fighting fish galleries. Oh, and breathing in pockets of some of the freshest air you’ll find in Bangkok, especially with the current state of smog that’s taken up residence in the city. Bang Krachao is also home to the Bangkok Tree House, which we feature below.
The name says it all
Found on the 4th floor of Siam Discovery, this eco-friendly zone is setting a new standard for sustainable lifestyles in Bangkok with an overwhelmingly abundant selection of environmentally friendly products. Here you’ll find organic clothes, green-inspired gifts, planet-friendly beauty products, green gadgets, eco-deco and more by local and international brands all set amid a floor-to-ceiling eco-installation. It’s an eco-wonderland, really.
Consciously crafted clothing
The latest trend in fashion that we are so stoked about. If you’re heading to Thailand (or anywhere really because they ship worldwide), look no further than Seeker x Retriever. While the designs originate in Australia, the designers (of which one half is Thai) head to northern Thailand to better support ethical fashion and sustainable communities where every item is crafted with love by artisanal hands. From the loom to humble natural dye baths (some right in the region’s hot springs), a small weaving collective called Nammorn Design honors Thai handiwork. Even more recently, the duo have begun incorporating recycled polyester derived from used PET bottles. Designs are also gender neutral and seasonless making each item timeless and versatile.
Sleep under a ceiling of stars
Not for everyone (pass if air con and room service are your jam), the Bangkok Tree House takes sleeping under the stars to the next level with one room even dubbed ‘A View With A Room’ and is essentially a large bed out in the open under a canopy of stars and a wall made of forest. The remaining “nests” are multilevel treehouses that line the Chao Phraya River that also boast rooftop sleeping quarters (there is mosquito netting but don’t forget your bug spray because chemicals are not used here). The carbon-neutral and fully sustainable eco-masterpiece includes organic produce grown on-site, renewable energy powered by the wind and sun. Note that the hotel can also be reached by foot, bike, or boat (it’s within the grounds of the Green Lung, which we wrote about above).
Green luxury at its finest
Sleeping sustainably no longer means roughing it in the outdoors (also known as camping). Welcome to 2019, where green is the new luxury and hotels like Sivatel are a reminder that instead of compromising on comfort, sustainable is now a step up. The hotel’s concept of eco-friendly hospitality includes the use of cruelty-free and locally sourced products, paper-free toiletry packaging and recyclable laundry bags. Guests will see a colorful menu with fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers as well as herbs grown in their edible garden on the 28th floor. The hotel also takes sustainable steps through a garbage bank program in which the hotel staff can return garbage at home for cash. The Sivatel is a shining example of how to weave #LittleGreenSteps into a business and successfully run an eco-driven operation without compromising on profit. But if all you care about is an epic pool, the Sivatel has got you covered – its rooftop infinity pool gets featured in travel blogs time and time again.
A cute and conscious supermarket
Whether you’re a tourist or a visitor to Bangkok, supplies are needed and you’ll find everything you need in the conscious grocery department at Sunshine Market (who also offer online shopping). Find shelves stocked with local and international brands offering everything from fermented sauerkraut and coconut kefir (probiotics are GOOD if you’re prone to traveler’s sicknesses) to gluten-free bread and ghee (it’s still hard to get your bulletproof coffee fix in Bangkok). Or maybe you just need a slice of cake. Either way, it works.
A one-stop-shop for refills and bulk
Tucked away between an army of food vendors on an unassuming alley just five minutes from On Nut BTS station, Bangkok’s first refill station and bulk business has been making green waves for offering refills of shampoos, soaps, and detergents as well as nuts and seeds and…the list goes on. To do your part in scaling back on unnecessary waste, bring your own empty containers and you’ll pay only for products by weight. You’ll also find a spread showcasing bamboo straws and toothbrushes, wheat straw utensils and reusable pads. It’s also home to a “little green space” (or a cozy café is what most people call it), a co-working space, and a charming guest house that prides itself on being eco-friendly. Looking for a place to hold a meeting space? Or perhaps teach a class? They have that too. Obviously.
Need WiFi? Head to coworking space Ma:D
Ma:D means ‘you are with good intentions’ and is a club for a better society. The self-proclaimed social enterprise connects people who are working together for a change in society and also has plans on becoming a model of sustainable energy use whilst cultivating healthy habits to avoid office syndrome. The hub is separated into a quiet zone and an active zone and provides services like meeting rooms, private offices, event organization, and shower rooms.
Smooth(ish) sailing around BKK
Listen, we’d be lying if we said it’s easy to get around Bangkok. But we’ve seen worse. Firstly, smog is an issue but so is traffic. Whether you’re in high heels or high tops, do yourself a favor and take the BTS – it will save you time, a lot of frustration and your lungs will be forever grateful. You’re welcome.