A Brief Guide to Bangkok’s Lad Phrao Neighbourhood


 

Bangkok’s Lad Phrao neighborhood is on the outer reaches of what generally comprises the central Bangkok regions. Heading out of the city from the more well-known, downtown tourist areas of Sukhumvit Road, you’ll find Lad Phrao way past Victory Monument, then Ari and Sapahan Kwai, close to Chatuchak Park.

The neighbourhood itself comprises a long stretch known as Lad Phrao Road and all its various sois and sub-sois. This main road runs from Phahon Yothin Road in the West (close to Chatuchak Park and Central Plaza Shopping Mall) all the way to Bang Kapi going to the East.

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Lad Phrao is largely a residential district, although it does have a lot of business, plenty of amenities, and a couple of Bangkok’s major shopping malls. It is a place that expats and other long-stay visitors bored with the tourist areas and the prices that go with them gravitated towards, before the more recent incoming waves starting moving in on other regions like Ari.

Lad Phrao is blessed with an abundance of eating choices and a couple of decent markets. It should be noted though that this is largely a ‘local’ area and is generally not English-speaking.

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A few more upscale-type restaurants have been popping up as the area gathers economic clout with its condo projects targeted at more well-heeled residents, including several boutique eateries along the regions of Chok Chai 4.

The neighbourhood also has its fair share of nightlife by way of ample bars and a few late-night clubs, but again this is a very Thai area and may not be for everyone.

Transport options are one of the main considerations for anyone thinking of staying in the area, as the Lad Phrao region most definitely has some of the worst traffic congestion in the city. There are plenty of buses and taxis, but once you are out of range of the MRT and BTS lines you really are at the mercy of the traffic, which often comes to a standstill for several hours at a time during peak hours.

Unfortunately, although plans to expand mass transit in Bangkok have apparently been afoot for a long time, this neighbourhood is not high on the priority list of projects aside from the addition of the BTS station in 2019.

The small, bottom section of Lad Phrao next to both the BTS and MRT stations is actually a decent, concentrated pocket of the neighbourhood amenity-wise.

There are two major malls within a 5-minute walk of each other, and there is a trio of impressive parks situated not too far to the back of Central Plaza and the area’s 5-star Centara Grand. One of the parks is Chatuchak Park, which means that the Chatuchak weekend market is also just 10 minutes away.

But this area is by no means representative of the whole neighbourhood, which tends to become more and more ‘local’ (in comparison to anything that might have a more international feel) the further you travel up along the Lad Phrao Road.

So let’s have a deeper delve into our brief guide to Bangkok’s Lad Phrao neighbourhood.

Shopping in Lad Phrao

Central Plaza

Central Plaza Lad Phrao is one of Bangkok’s largest shopping malls, and something of an institution in the area. The store has undergone several re-vamps over the years, but the last one really brought it up to scratch as far as Bangkok’s impressive malls go.

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With 7 floors and over 300 shops, 100 restaurants, and an impressive food court, the mall also has a Tops Supermarket in the basement and an SFX cinema on the top floor. It is directly connected to the Centara Grand Hotel, making it a popular walk-in for the guests.

The complex contains both the Central Department Store and a host of other shops which comprise well-known local and international brands. This is true in terms of both clothing and accessories as well as food, desserts, and coffee shops.

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Central Plaza Ladprao is within a 5-minute walk of the Phahonyothin MRT Station, and has direct access from the Yaek Lad Phrao BTS station. 

Address: 1693 Phahonyothin Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm
Phone: +66 (0)2 793 6000

Union Mall

Union Mall is a quirky Bangkok shopping mall located right next to the Lad Phrao junction, just across from Cental Plaza. The bright yellow mall has 8 floors containing well over 1000 shops and booths, not to mention restaurants, a food court, coffee shops, banking services, electronics and mobile phones, and a cinema on the top floor.

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It is very easy to access from both Central Plaza, Central Plaza BTS (Ha Yaek Lad Phrao), and the Phahonyothin MRT Station is right outside the main entrance.

There is a market outside the mall directly in front of the main entrance which usually operates 2 or 3 times a week but the nights do tend to vary. It kicks off around 5 pm when it is running.

This mall is a popular hangout for young locals who probably like to look more than they buy, and it has none of the international, department store brands that Central Plaza cross the road offers. It does have an interesting range of clothing items, bags, shoes, and fashion accessories at affordable prices though, which is probably the main attraction for much of the clientele.

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In many ways it has more of an indoor market-type vibe to it, although the stalls and booths seem very spread out across the eight floors and tend to change frequently.

Address: 54 Lat Phrao, Chatuchak Bangkok, 10900
Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm

Imperial World Mall (Big C)

Imperial World Ladprao is a slightly bizarre shopping complex that is kind of somewhere between modern mall and old-world, stuck-in-a-time warp rusticity that you may be more likely to find in some parts of Thailand outside of Bangkok.

In some ways it has the feel of a 1970s or 80s mall in some areas that obviously got overlooked in any re-vamps that might have occurred since that time.

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Some of the architecture and design is actually very art-deco, and it was probably accepted as impressive when it first opened its doors. Some of it looks a bit ramshackle here in and there in part like the ceilings on higher floors which are somewhat crudely patched, along with the odd buttress and dim lighting here and there.

But it is still a mall – and the Thais love ‘em, so it still gets quite busy. In fact the place positively pulses with Thai-style commercial zeal on weekends and evenings.

Here you’ll find countless booths and stalls selling clothes, shoes, accessories, and all manner of other things at what must be considered reasonable prices in comparison to the other malls.

You’ll also find a bunch of very ‘Thai’ items and products here like herbs, balms, and amulets and other charms and decorations. There is sporting goods and luggage at much more favourable prices than in the more touristy areas of the city.

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There’s even a fake rock-climbing wall for kids or anyone else who fancies trying it, and outside the mall on the front there are vendors selling a variety of food, fruits, clothes, and a few other random items.

Address: 2539 Lat Phrao Rd, Khlong Chaokhunsing, Wang Thonglang, Bangkok 10310

Accommodation

There is a wide range of condominiums and other types of accommodation that characterise Lad Phrao, and it is one of those large Bangkok neighbourhoods that often have very different aspects right next to each other. What this means is you get a mix of decidedly-well-heeled establishments, like new condominium projects or modern-style houses and villages, right in the midst of something completely the opposite.

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As with the majority of Bangkok’s neighbourhoods, Lad Phrao has been slowly but surely becoming more and more gentrified, with more and more supposedly ‘hi-end’ lifestyle condominium projects with fancy names appearing as the BTS sky train line continually extends itself further and further through the nether regions of the city.

Lad Phrao actually got its own BTS station in 2019. It provides direct access straight into one of the area’s landmarks – Central Plaza Shopping Mall – which has also undergone serious upgrades in recent years. 

Many of the modern (and somewhat overpriced) condominium projects are located near the BTS line or somewhere close to the bottom end of Lad Phrao that also includes the MRT subway. Both the Lad Phrao and Phahon Yothin MRT stations are in this region, as are the two main malls, and the region’s 5-star hotel.

As you head up along the main Lad Phrao toward Bang Kapi, farther away from the subway, it becomes more residential and there is a wider choice of older houses and apartments, with a few guest houses and hostels.

Needless to say it gets quite a bit cheaper accommodation wise the further you go. The downside to that is though that is that as Lad Phrao literally has some of the worst traffic congestion across the whole of the city, once you have passed the second MRT station (Lad Phrao) you are moving out of range of the train lines and are basically at the mercy of the traffic whichever direction you are heading in.

Hotels

Lad Phrao is not really the kind of area that you would expect to find that much by way of hotels, aside from a couple of famous ones in the lower end.

But the main word on hotels in Lad Phrao for many begins and ends with the former Sofitel now going by the name of the Centara Grand. This hotel has long been a landmark in the Lad Phrao area and serves as an ideal spot from which to enjoy many of the best attractions and amenities that the area has.

Centara Grand

Located right next to the Central Plaza Shopping Mall & Bangkok Convention Centre, the Centara Grand features some impressive dining options by anyone’s standards. The hotel saw its last major re-vamp in 2012, and this is a modern, luxury hotel with all the amenities you could wish for.

The Centara Grand was Thailand’s first 5-star hotel to be combined with a major shopping destination (Central Plaza), and is also connected to the Bangkok Convention Centre. There are 9 dining options in all including renowned French and Italian restaurants, and there is a rooftop bar with some amazing views over an area of Bangkok that offers some slightly different scenery to that in the more built-up areas.

As well as that there is a spa, beauty salon, fitness suite, and a swimming pool. The hotel even provides a free, scheduled shuttle service to Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is literally 10 minutes away.

The rooms have some decent views of Bangkok’s skyline, and the Ha Yaek Lat Phrao BTS Skytrain Station is 500 m away. The MRT subway station is a 10-minute walk from the hotel, and if you fancy it you could even walk to the nearest of the 3 parks from the hotel (Suan Rot Fai) in 10 minutes and access the entrance behind the park

Located on the northern side of Bangkok, lose y, the hotel is one of the city’s timeless landmarks.

The Quarter Ladprao by UHG

The Quarter is a kind of modern, 4-star boutique hotel option set on the Lad Phrao intersection close to the MRT station. It is less than a mile from Central Plaza Ladprao, and less than 2 miles from Chatuchak Weekend Market.

The hotel includes modern amenities and gourmet dining options in the restaurant, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre, free Wi-Fi, a garden, and a sun terrace.

All the air-conditioned rooms at the hotel have seating areas, flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, and a private bathroom. Guests at The Quarter Ladprao are offered a free a buffet breakfast, and the nearest (domestic) airport, Don Mueang Airport is about 7 miles away.

Address: 80 Lad Phrao Road 4, Chom Phon, Chatuchak, Bangok 10900