The district of Ratchadaphisek in Bangkok is notable for the many forms of entertainment available in the area—enough to have earned it the title of being the city’s entertainment mecca. It’s a straightforward jaunt through, rather literally; it’s bisected by Ratchadaphisek Road right in the center, the MRT running directly beneath it with plenty of stops in between. Read on below for some of our favorite things to do in and around the area:
- Hit the Clubs at Royal City Avenue
Easily the highlight to any visit to Ratchada, RCA is lined with Bangkok’s biggest and best nightclubs. The crowd here is completely different from the kind you’d find at nearby Sukhumvit; while arguably more impressive, you’ll find it totally dominated by expats, whereas RCA draws an audience of locals near-exclusively. Saturdays are incredibly busy for the area, as students and young adults flood into the street after a long week to kick back and unwind. For an unforgettable evening, check out Route 66, Bangkok’s most famous club, a massive establishment split into 3 distinct zones: a hip-hop area, a room specifically for trance, house and EDM, and a live music stage. Best check into a Ratchada area hotel (โรงแรม ย่าน รัช ดา) if you plan on partying until the morning.
- Go Trampolining at Bounce Thailand
Bounce Trampoline Parks can be found all over the world, and they’ve recently expanded into Southeast Asia with branches in the Philippines, Singapore, and now Thailand. The venue—cheekily dubbed an Adrenaline Playground—covers around 3,000 square meters of trampolines, airbags, and padding, all interconnected. Guests are encouraged to run, jump, and play. It can be a physically strenuous workout just trying all the different areas, but you’d never feel like it’s a chore. Rates are typically for 3-hour chunks, but on Friday nights you can bounce until you can’t bounce no more at their Friday Night Super Sessions, starting at 7 PM all the way through closing time. On Saturday nights, Bounce hosts epic 3-hour dance and trampoline parties complete with lighting effects and great music. Check them out on the 5th floor of The Street Ratchada.
- Catch a Flick at House Rama RCA
Royal City Avenue or RCA is best known as the clubbing capital of the city, but it’s also where Bangkok’s best independent cinema is located. House Rama RCA is a boutique art house cinema where you can catch non-mainstream movies that typically don’t see wide releases in Bangkok. They have two screens showing between 5 and 6 movies every day, and the selection changes from week to week every Thursday. You’ll typically find Japanese, Korean, and other foreign films on the roster of little-known titles, subtitled in both English and Thai. If the latest blockbusters are more your style, feel free to jump over to UMG RCA Cinema, just a floor away. Both cinemas are located in the RCA Plaza.
- Go Bowling or Ice Skating at The Esplanade
The Esplanade is one of those mega-malls that combine shopping, dining and leisure under one roof to create a one-stop destination. Designed by the same firm responsible for The Emporium and the Siam Paragon shopping malls, The Esplanade covers over 100,000 square meters of retail space and is composed of 7 floors. It houses a 12-screen cineplex called the Esplanade Cineplex, a Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl bowling alley, and the Sub Zero ice-skating arena, a massive professional skating rink that features light-and-sound effects for disco skate parties. Lessons in hockey and figure skating are available on-site. Simply get off at the Thailand Cultural Centre MRT station and waltz right on in.
- Ride Go-Karts at the EasyKart RCA Plaza
EasyKart has branches in Pattaya and Koh Samui, but the one in Ratchada is considered to be the largest indoor go-kart track in the entire continent, at 7,000 square meters. It attracts over 100,000 people annually, and the place is absolutely swamped on the weekends. Choose from 3 go kart sizes and race against your friends, and then head to the air-conditioned bar/cafeteria area for drinks and grub; both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available. The Ratchada branch is also famous for having Formula 1 racer Nico Rosberg as one of its frequent customers, enough that he is said to hold a membership at the establishment. They’re open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 10 AM to midnight. Book your time slot via their website, or just walk in.
If you’re after a weekend of fun and entertainment, then you’ll be spoiled for choice by staying near Ratchada. The place is worth a visit for anyone who’s planning to spend any amount of time in Bangkok.