Bangkok’s tropical clime can be brutal at high noon, which is why the Thai capital is at its most active and charismatic in the crepuscular hours when the sun isn’t quite so fierce.
If you do as the locals do and rise early during your business travels, you’ll find the city already bustling with activity as street vendors sell their wares.
Whether you’re craving an exceptional breakfast, a brisk morning run or simply a perfect cup of coffee — alone or with coworkers — there are plenty of reasons to shut off the snooze button and hop out of bed.
Avocado toast never looked as good as it does at this small slice of Melbourne just off of Sukhumvit Road, where the flat whites are smooth and the juices cold pressed.
The airy, light-drenched interior makes Toby’s one of the most Instagram-friendly spots in town, which may be why the staff take extra care with the plating and presentations. Heaping portions of buttery eggs Benedict make for the loveliest of Sunday mornings or a cheeky weekday treat.
The city’s most beloved park dates all the way back to 1925, when King Rama VI set aside the green oasis for the whole population to enjoy. Even as the skyscrapers of Silom and Sathorn have cropped up on all sides, the place has retained its air of serenity.
Come early in the morning to watch retirees practicing tai chi and traditional fan dancing while muay thai fighters flex their muscles and try out kicks. The extensive network of trails meanders around lakes and gardens, making this an unbeatable spot for joggers.
Keep an eye out for roving monitor lizards, the slightly smaller cousins of Komodo dragons, which prowl the foliage.
Casa Lapin x26
When architect Surapan Tanta found himself frustrated by the lack of quality coffee in town, he opened a shoebox-sized café in buzzy Thonglor selling the kind of artful pour-overs and cold-brews he had come to love abroad.
Word of mouth spread, and before long the tiny space couldn’t contain the hordes of hipsters pouring through its doors. Casa Lapin x26, one of his newest branches, boasts a handsome wood interior and ample seating, not to mention friendly baristas with a talent for whipping up frothy swans, kittens, teddy bears and other latte art.
Not long ago Western chains hawking stale, mass-roasted beans were the only option for java-loving Bangkokians. A crew of homesick Scandinavians changed all that with Rocket Coffeebar, one of the city’s first artisanal coffee shops.
Expect blonde-wood minimalism and occasional Nordic nods, such as the classic smørrebrød topped with house-cured gravlax, sprinkled throughout the menu. Drowsy office workers swing by the original branch at 7 a.m. to get their caffeine fix from the menu of single-origin brews before heading to nearby Sathorn.
Situated right behind the office buildings of Asoke, Benjakiti Park is Bangkok’s best place for cyclists. Burn off some steam before work as you peddle around a picturesque manmade lake ringed with flowers.
There’s a separate path for runners, meaning there’s little to slow you down, and the view of couples floating by in swan boats is positively dreamy.
Wanderlust Coffee & Eatery
In recent years Bangkok’s creative center has shifted from the side streets of Sukhumvit Road to the historic shophouses of Chinatown, as cool kids lured by cheaper rents rush to set up galleries, restaurants and gin bars.
The rampant development that has bulldozed much of the downtown areas has more or less spared this centuries-old neighborhood, leaving its original charm and character intact. Wanderlust Coffee & Eatery is one of the area’s best newcomers and chef Phunchita Kamonto’s love song to Australia, where she worked for more than 15 years.
Breakfast fare, like the decadent Dutch baby served in a cast-iron skillet, comes accompanied by cappuccinos made with beans roasted in Chiang Rai.